What do the ABC, SBS and Foxtel have up their sleeve for the year?
ABC kicks local production up a gear in 2010 and a new Chris Lilley offering has to be sitting at the top of the list. The series will explore "what it means to be a 21st century boy by putting the male of the species under the microscope". Filmed, in Australia, the US and the UK, think mockumentary, biting social commentary and 12 episodes of hilarity.
Adam Zwar turns his days as a Showbiz journalist for a tabloid Sunday newspaper into a comedy starring Kim Gyngell, Julia Zemiro and narration from Geoffrey Rush. Zwar loosely draws upon outrageous incidents including when he spent a week holed up in a Stuttgart Hotel with AC/DC, was threatened by Sting and had his tape recorder thrown out a hotel room window by Billy Idol.
X-Ray / The Slap
Two volatile incidents depicted in drama. X-Ray is a telemovie about Terry Hicks' fight for justice for his son David, locked in Guntanamo Bay. The Slap is based on a best-selling book about an incident at a family BBQ. When a stranger slaps a child, all the guests have their own reactions. From the team behind Saved, My Place and Home Song Stories.
Outland / Like a Virgin
Just the idea of a gay science fiction club is enough to raise our interest. Outland is a six-part Aussie comedy from Princess Pictures that will look at being gay, being a geek and finding a place to belong. Meanwhile, Marieke Hardy's new six-part black comedy, Like a Virgin, also grabs our attention. 29yo market researcher Roo McVie turns crime-buster when all her ex-boyfriends start mysteriously dying.
Get ready for a darkly twisted new comedy from the people behind The League of Gentleman in which very bent characters all receive a mysterious letter that says "I know what you did". With a cast including Dawn French, the characters feature a serial killer who still lives with his mother, a one-handed children's entertainer, a blind millionaire and a panto dwarf who believes he is telekinetic. Totally off the dial!
ABC3 premieres Australia's own version of Fame -- sort of. This 26-part series set in the National Academy of Dance promises a mix of dynamic dance, including ballet, tap, funk, hip hop and dramatic story lines. With a cast including Jordan Rodrigues and Tara Morice, it is bound to set the screen alight.
Swift & Shift Couriers
Lookout, Paul Fenech is back with another series of his outrageous, knockabout series with Mario and his mad couriers. This time around, Amanda sets up a rival courier company that books jobs through India and imports their cheap labour -- on tuk tuks -- to run the jobs in Australia! Nobody makes slapstick comedy so proudly as Fenech and he has a loyal following.
Yes, SBS' anarchic dog is back for a second series, and this time he is getting out and about a lot more. Expect to see him in sunny Queensland, the Victorian snow and in "Bite Club" -- a caged dog version of Fight Club. Irreverent, offensive fun with Jason Gann and Adam Zwar.
James May'sBig Ideas
Top Gear may be gone from SBS but the faces haven't. James May travels the world to find the newest forms of transport, robot technology and energy sources. It will be followed by James May's Toy Stories and later in the year series two of Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections.
East West 101
Series 3 of this award-winning crime series will bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the streets of Sydney. What happened during the war in the opium fields of the Chora Valley in Afghanistan, and the collateral damage to civilians in Tikrit in northern Iraq, comes home to the main streets and malls of Lakemba.
Claudia Karvan stars and produces this eight-episode series playing a woman who walks away from a loveless marriage only to find herself living with the ghost of a dead English rock star. Described as "a blackly funny exploration of love, death and life" it also features Rodger Corser and British actor/comedian Matt King.
Grand Designs Australia
If you love the British series, get set for bold, Australian homes selected for their unique looks, ambitions, challenges and landscapes. Australian architect Peter Maddison will host this series for the LifeStyle Channel. Produced by FremantleMedia Australia it is taking months to film as the homes are constructed. Should be worth it.
Don't miss 2010: The big guns, part I