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The best Australian TV shows and movies on Netflix in 2020

If you're looking for some local entertainment on Netflix, this is the place to start.

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Tidelands on Netflix

Let me do the most Australian thing ever by calling it how it is. Down Under folk are very small fish when it comes to producing tons of entertainment to compete with the likes of Hollywood or even Netflix. That said, what our little island nation lacks in production quantity, we make up for in the quality stakes by punching well above our weight.

Collected below are some unmissable Aussie TV shows and feature films. These are frequently modest-budget productions that still boldly strode out onto the international stage and made many an overseas critic turn their head and say: “Does Austria have a film industry... and vast deserts?”

Best Aussie TV shows

Glitch


  • Year: 2015
  • Cast: Patrick Brammall, Genevieve O'Reilly, Emma Booth and Emily Barclay

Typically, a small-town Aussie cop is beset by very low-level problems. P-platers doing burnouts, kids stealing durries (cigarettes) from the servo (gas station), mind-numbing boredom – that sort of thing. James Hayes has larger issues. He's a cop who's called to the local cemetery in the middle of the night after six deceased people have inexplicably risen from the dead in perfect health but with no memory. Thus begins a quest for two things: answers and to keep the rest of the world in the dark during a somewhat futile investigation into the impossible.

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Tidelands


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Charlotte Best, Elsa Pataky, Aaron Jakubenko and Marco Pigossi

A Netflix original production, Tidelands revolves around a former criminal who returns to her fishing village. But when a body washes ashore, she starts to uncover the town’s secrets. This also involves investigating its inhabitants, a group of half-sirens, half-humans. Weird, sexy and supernatural, this show is not to miss – especially if you’re craving for a highly addictive watch.

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Rake


  • Year: 2010
  • Cast: Richard Roxburgh, Russell Dykstra, Danielle Cormack and Matt Day

Say hello to Cleaver Greene, a talented yet self-destructive Sydney barrister who's known to his enemies, and the national press, as “a dishonest lowlife who spends his days defending society's scum and his nights carousing with them”. Cleaver's average working week is a series of disgraceful and tawdry tales of dishonour and deceit – it's also damn good television. Each episode sees a new ratbag client benefiting from Cleaver's inimitable courtroom shtick (think: unorthodox arguments and barely restrained profanity).

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Jack Irish


  • Year: 2012
  • Cast: Guy Pearce, Marta Dusseldorp, Aaron Pedersen and Roy Billing

Former criminal lawyer Jack Irish (Emmy Award-winner Guy Pearce) isn't a man you want to mess with. Part-time debt collector with a tragic past and a penchant for sticking his nose too far into things, this Melbourne crusader is on a one-man mission to solve any cold case that stinks to high heaven. Yep, Jack is more or less a modern, Aussie incarnation of Humphrey Bogart. Netflix is serving you up a delicious helping of noir with a side order of chicken schnitzel and a XXXX beer.

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Sisters


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Maria Angelico, Lucy Durack, Antonia Prebble and Barry Otto

The premise of this show is... a tad yucky. If you get over it, though, you get an emotional and witty series with a tremendous cast. Sisters centres on Julia, whose life takes a weird turn when her father, an in vitro fertilisation pioneer, admits that he used his own sperm during his career and could have fathered hundreds of children. Julia sets out to discover just how large her newfound family is. But while she realises she has plenty of brothers, she only finds two sisters – Roxy and Edie. Will these three manage to get over the awkwardness of the situation and become a part of each other’s life? Tune in to find out.

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Wanted


  • Year: 2016
  • Cast: Rebecca Gibney, Geraldine Hakewill, Stephen Peacocke and Ryan Corr

This thrilling show centres on two women, Lola and Chelsea. When they find themselves caught up in a huge criminal conspiracy, they go on the run across Australia in a car filled with stolen money. If you’re one for suspense and binge-watching, you’ll find yourself addicted to this one in no time. Cliffhangers abound. Also, the chemistry between the two leads? It’s the stuff of dreams.

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The Letdown


  • Year: 2016
  • Cast: Alison Bell, Duncan Fellows, Noni Hazlehurst and Sacha Horler

Looking for a hilarious sitcom? Look no more. The Letdown revolves around new mom Audrey, who joins a support group for parents. This leads her to make some quirky new friends, besides dealing with the exciting (and sometimes horrendous) challenges parenthood brings. This show will make you laugh, in a heartwarming way. In other words, it doesn't disappoint – whatever the name might suggest.

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Please Like Me


  • Year: 2013
  • Cast: Josh Thomas, Debra Lawrance, David Roberts and Judi Farr

Created by and starring Josh Thomas, Please Like Me follows a young man who goes through a number of challenges as he begins to navigate adulthood. A moving dramedy, the show has a great sense of humour and plenty of heart, managing to perfectly balance silliness with more serious issues. If you’re into charming and quirky series, this one should be right up your alley.

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Pine Gap


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Parker Sawyers, Tess Haubrich, Jacqueline McKenzie and Steve Toussaint

A fast binge at only six episodes, Pine Gap is about a team of Australian and American analysts who work together to keep one of the world's most important joint intelligence facilities secure. A spy thriller with pretty low stakes, the show is unlikely to change your life, but it makes for a worthy companion as you struggle to fall asleep. The characters have the tendency to grow on you.

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Secret City


  • Year: 2016
  • Cast: Anna Torv, Jacki Weaver, Marcus Graham and Sacha Horler

Secret City is a delight for fans of intelligent and well-crafted political thrillers. The show follows Canberra press gallery journalist Harriet Dunkley, who sets on a path to uncover a secret city of interlocked conspiracies that will threaten not only her life, but the freedom of every Australian. The fact that Harriet is a compelling and flawed character is a major plus.

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Janet King


  • Year: 2014
  • Cast: Marta Dusseldorp, Vince Colosimo, Damian Walshe-Howling and John Howard

A Crownies spin-off, this acclaimed Aussie legal drama never misses a beat thanks to clever scripts and spellbinding performances. The show revolves around the titular character, a senior prosecutor, who returns from maternity leave to face a high profile murder case. Spoiler alert: things only get better from there.

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Best Aussie movies

OtherLife


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Jessica De Gouw, T.J. Power, Thomas Cocquerel and Liam Graham

A polished sci-fi thriller, OtherLife follows Ren, the co-founder of a company that developed a form of biological virtual reality. Or, to put it simply, she invented a drug that can make one spend what feels like years in a virtual scenario while only a day passes in real life. But when her partner insists they license the drug for unethical use, things take a turn for the worse, and Ren has to face new challenges she never anticipated. Mind-bending stuff.

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Cargo


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes and Susie Porter

Post-apocalyptic dramas will never go out of style. Case in point: Cargo, which takes place in a world overtaken by zombies. The action centres on a father, Andy, who is desperate to find a safe home for his infant child. Meanwhile, he also needs to protect the little one from his own changing nature. True, there is no shortage of zombie flicks to choose from, but Cargo stands out thanks to a character-driven story and a terrific performance from Freeman. Approach with caution – this one is more emotional than you might expect.

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I Am Mother


  • Year: 2019
  • Cast: Clara Rugaard, Luke Hawke, Rose Byrne and Hilary Swank

Another excellent sci-fi flick, I Am Mother tells the story of a teenage girl who is raised by a robot designed to repopulate Earth. But when a stranger arrives with worrisome news, the bond between girl and robot is tested. If the premise doesn’t sound intriguing enough, you’ll be happy to know that the movie offers plenty of exciting reveals. By the end, you’ll long for someone to discuss it with.

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Occupation


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Rhiannon Fish, Stephanie Jacobsen

Sometimes you just need a comfortable and entertaining action movie. If that’s the case, Occupation delivers a bloody good time. The story follows a group of civilians who band together after their town is annihilated by an extraterrestrial force. With the fate of humanity in the balance, it doesn’t get more high-stakes than this.

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Happy Feet


  • Year: 2006
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy and Hugh Jackman

If you're looking for a movie to enjoy with the entire family, you can't go wrong with this animated hit. Happy Feet revolves around penguin Mumble, a gifted tap dancer. Too bad penguins take pride in their singing abilities, so Mumble will have to forge his own path with help from a few friends. Visually dazzling and featuring catching musical numbers, the movie is an absolute delight.

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Paper Planes


  • Year: 2015
  • Cast: Sam Worthington, Ed Oxenbould and Deborah Mailman

Speaking of family movies, Paper Planes is another title you should add to your watchlist immediately. After he wins his school's paper plane making contest, 11-year-old Dylan and his father bond as Dylan prepares for the World Paper Plane Championships in Tokyo. Touching and well-acted, the movie will warm any adult's heart while also stimulating the imagination of the little ones.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RickDecember 9, 2018

    Does Netflix have car customizing &/or cooking shows.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnDecember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, Car customizing shows and cooking shows are available on Netflix. You may check the complete list of TV shows that are available on Netflix by clicking this link. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    LauraMarch 8, 2018

    Do you have an exact number or percentage of Australian produced tv shows and movies that are on Netflix Australia?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchMarch 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we cannot say the exact number of percentage of Australian TV shows and movies on Netflix. Netflix content changes and has new releases every now and then. It will also depend on your location or the location settings of your Netflix account/app. For Netflix AU, it has more Australian content. You may check this directly by visiting Netflix official site.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  3. Default Gravatar
    patJune 12, 2016

    Do you stream f1 races

    • Default Gravatar
      BrodieJune 20, 2016

      Hi Pat,

      Unfortunately, Netflix Australia does not stream the F1 races. Your best bet for catching the races on-demand is Foxtel Play.

      Thanks,
      Brodie

  4. Default Gravatar
    MaxineJuly 31, 2015

    Do you stream live AFL games?

    • Default Gravatar
      BrodieAugust 3, 2015

      Hi Maxine,

      Unfortunately, Netflix does not stream live AFL games. The only service that currently offers live AFL is Foxtel.

      Thanks,

      Brodie

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