Ten top Australian shows streaming right now

From The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart to Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café, Australian streaming shows are punching nicely for their weight.

It’s tempting to describe the current era as a golden age for Australian stories on the small screen, as these ten homegrown streaming hits show.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. Image: Prime Video.

Genre: Drama.

About: A nine-year-old girl loses both her parents in a mysterious fire and is sent to live with her grandmother on a flower farm. There she learns dark secrets about herself and her family. The narrative uses native wildflowers and plants to depict the inexpressible. It spans decades as Alice grows from a child into a woman.

Stars: Frankie Adams, Leah Purcell, Asher Keddie and Sigourney Weaver.

Find out more: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – cheat sheet

Critical reception: The series currently has an 81% critics rating and 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Robert LLoyd in the Los Angeles Times writes:

The series, which is sensitively written, expertly performed by actors young and old, and beautifully shot, is in no rush to give up its mysteries, and by drawing out the drama, what’s obvious in the story comes off as proportionally more subtle.

‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ review: In this moving drama, mysteries abound

Streaming on: Prime Video.

The Twelve

The Twelve. Image: Binge.

Genre: Drama.

About: Twelve ordinary Australians, with struggles of their own, are selected for jury duty in a murder trial in which a woman stands accused of killing a child.

Stars: Sam Neill, Marta Dusseldorp, Kate Mulvany.

ScreenHub rating: 4 stars.

Based on the 2019 Belgian show De Twaalf, this ten-part series revolves around the trial of provocative artist Kate Lawson. She stands accused of murdering her niece Claire, only … there’s no body. Instead there is some disturbing smartphone-shot footage of Claire gasping for breath in an auto-erotic strangling video that prosecutor Lucy Bloom claims is evidence that she was groomed in the name of art, before her body was disposed of in Sydney Harbour when a photo shoot went horribly wrong.

Streaming on: Binge.


Wellmania. Image: Netflix.

Genre: Comedy.

About: When a health crisis forces a successful food writer to rethink her hard-partying ways, she jumps into a journey to get well — even if it kills her.

Stars: Celeste Barber, JJ Fong, Lachlan Buchanan.

Find out more: Will people like Wellmania? Brigid Delaney isn’t worried

ScreenHub rating: 4 stars.

Celeste Barber is perfectly cast as Liv, because her comedy is based on being an Australian everywoman who takes the piss out of polished public self-presentation. She came to fame by parodying fashionistas’ and celebrities’ ridiculous Instagram poses. As well as being physically exuberant, game for the most unflattering pratfall, she also has a wonderfully expressive face. What makes her both funny and adorable is the way she can telegraph her reactions and emotions.

Wellmania on Netflix review: a comedy with drama at its heart

Streaming on: Netflix.


Deadloch. Image: Prime Video.

Genre: Comedy.

About: The Tasmanian town of Deadloch is left reeling when a local man turns up dead on the eve of the crowd-pulling Winter Feastival. When two very different female detectives are thrown together to solve the case, along with an overeager junior constable, the trio have to work together to find the killer.

Stars: Kate Box, Madeleine Sami, Nina Oyama.

ScreenHub rating: 3 stars.

[Series creators] Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan are comic geniuses with a gift for satirical absurdity. Adroitly frothing over the inequitable ugliness lurking just below the sparkling whiteness of Australia’s morning TV scene in Get Krack!n and skewering insufferable foodie cult tendencies in spoof cooking spot The Katering Show, their observations are capital F funny with a stinging barb.

Deadloch review: McCartney and McLennan look to kill it in Prime crime comedy

Streaming on: Prime Video.

Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café

Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café. Image: ABC.

Genre: Comedy.

About: Starring Aunty Donna’s Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane, this unpredictable comedy follows the story of three best friends running a trendy cafe down one of Melbourne’s less-than-iconic laneways.

Stars: Zachary Ruane, Broden Kelly, Mark Bonanno.

Find out more: Aunty Donna: ‘Improv is a bit like tomato sorbet and anchovy toast’

ScreenHub rating: 5 stars.

Being their first ABC-commissioned narrative series, Aunty Donna bring the laughs out at a rapid pace, many of which come at the expense of ABC properties like the aforementioned Gardening Australia, as well as Rake and 4 Corners – and even the ABC iView app itself (which ‘definitely works!’). I bust a gut many, many times during my binge watch of the (criminally short) six episodes.

Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café review: locally sourced sketches with robust comical flavour

Streaming on: ABC iview.

The Inspired Unemployed: (Impractical) Jokers

The Inspired Unemployed: (Impractical) Jokers. Image: Paramount+.

Genre: Comedy.

About: Four lifelong mates competing to embarrass each other. They must do and say what they’re told, if they refuse, they lose and face a humiliating punishment. This show revels in The Impractical Jokers’ social awkwardness, as they are instructed to do and say the outrageous to unsuspecting people. Hidden cameras capture the chaos. The Inspired Unemployed run amok in supermarket checkouts, office receptions and dentists.

Stars: Jack Steele, Liam Moore, Dom Littrich and Matt ‘Falcon’ Ford. 

Find out more: The Inspired Unemployed (Impractical) Jokers on Paramount+ – cheat sheet

ScreenHub rating: 4 stars.

There’s a lot of similarity here with Ten’s other Wednesday night comedy big gun, the revived Thank God You’re Here. Both shows have figured out a way to make a comedy staple – theatre sports-style improv in TGYH’s case, pranks for (Impractical) Jokers – more of a sure thing by removing a lot of the risk. Both shows have formats that have largely eliminated random factors; they’re always going to be funny, but they’re never going to deliver something that goes completely off the rails.

The Inspired Unemployed: (Impractical) Jokers review

Streaming on: Paramount+.

Last King of The Cross

Last King of The Cross. Image: Paramount+.

Genre: Drama.

About: Raised in the blood of the Lebanese Civil War, brothers John and Sam Ibrahim enter the underworld of Sydney’s Kings Cross and quickly make a name for themselves. Inspired by John Ibrahim’s best-selling autobiography.

Stars: Tim Roth, Lincoln Younes, Claude Jabbour.

ScreenHub rating: 4 stars.

It’s a cliché to say ‘the setting is the main character’, but this does take its time explaining how the criminal ecosystem of The Cross works, complete with networks of favours, wads of old paper currency and crims with names like Skinny Steve and Ashtray Frank. It’s a better series for it; it’s the kind of solid world-building that gives the drama a firm foundation, and provides real stakes when it all starts to come apart.

Last King of the Cross review: solid world building with overplayed violence

More info: Last King of The Cross secures second season

Streaming on: Paramount+.


Upright. Image: Binge.

Genre: Comedy.

About: Two misfits, thrown together by chance in the middle of the Australian desert, forge bonds in a quest to transport a precious piano from one side of the country to the other.

Stars: Tim Minchin, Milly Alcock.

Critical reception: The series currently has an 80% critics rating and 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. John Doyle in the Globe and Mail writes:

A strange, brittle series, with manic comic energy at times, it is deeply rewarding in the end – stick with it beyond the first episodes – and manages to be eloquent without being sentimental.

Three great series from the fringes of streaming and cable

ScreenHub on Minchin: Tim Minchin is BACK in a big way

Streaming on: Binge.

The Betoota Advocate Presents

The Betoota Advocate Presents. Image: Paramount+.

Genre: Satire.

About: In the words of The Betoota Advocate’s Editor at large Errol Parker, on 10 Play:

‘As Australia’s oldest and favourite newspaper, The Betoota Advocate has knocked back countless offers to make all manner of TV shows over the years.

Finally, Paramount+ and Warner Bros. Australia have agreed to let us make the TV show WE wanted to make, and one that everyone else was too afraid to go near – as well as lining our pockets in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.’

Paramount+ Announces Australian Original Series, The Betoota Advocate Presents

Stars: Archer Hamilton, Charles Single.

ScreenHub rating: 4 stars.

Australian satirical sites have a bit of a tradition of moving into serious news commentary. The Chaser’s commentary site, The Shot, made a name for itself during the dregs of the Morrison government for repeatedly pointing out that the Morrison government was often a bit rubbish. This isn’t that, because there’s nothing particularly controversial being said here. It’s more of an extension of the brand, a way to present Betoota as the face of a certain kind of blunt, cut-through-the-crap, tell-it-like-it-is Aussie story-telling.

The Betoota Advocate Presents review: irreverent explainers surprise and delight

Streaming on: Paramount+.


Fisk. Image: ABC.

Genre: Comedy.

About: Probate lawyer Helen Tudor-Fisk has secured her position at Gruber and Associates and now faces fresh new challenges from the volatile world of wills and estates.

Stars: Kitty FlanaganJulia ZemiroAaron Chen.

Director: Kitty Flanagan & Tom Peterson.

ScreenHub rating: 4.5 stars.

We’re often told that drama is supposedly somehow superior to comedy, and yet the character work in Fisk puts most recent Australian dramas to shame. The subtle way everyone – except for Fisk herself – in Fisk doesn’t quite get along but stays in their own bubbles just enough to make society work is the kind of characterisation that would win awards if it was happening in a scenic country town with a dark past.

Also, it’s very funny.

Fisk Season 2 review: Australia’s funniest sitcom in years

Streaming on: ABC iview.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites