Australian TV might conjur up images of Steve Irwin and Skippy to overseas viewers but down under we know we there's a lot more to Australian TV than that. We have the absolute best dramas, satires and comedies. Some of our prized Hollywood actors cut their teeth on Australia TV screens. Remember when Hugh was not Wolverined?
I'm not a big TV fan but I have many fond memories of family TV sessions. In those days they were black and white. This is a bit of an indulgent stroll back through memory lanes. Historically, though, this list reflects and illustrates how life and TV continues to change.
I have listed the TV shows that have engrossed me overtime and made me full of anticipation for the next episode. In chronological order, these are my top ten faves.
This had nothing on CSI graphics and horrific story lines but was a hot favourite in our family. In those days murder was pretty much unheard of, or at least I was unaware of such tragedy. The music was dramatic and the acting exaggerated but I didn't notice that back then.
60 Minutes (started in 1968 -) This is a different style to my others favourites but it has to rate a mention because unlike many of the other shows that had a short innings, I still watch 60 Minutes now. This current affairs style of international and local news has at times shocked me into thinking about the way others live when I might never have otherwise done so. This is a show that has lasted through time. I have no doubt I will still be watching it in decades to come.
Young Talent Time (1971-88) When this show started I was about as young as the young stars on the show. It inspired much singing and dancing in the school year. Young Talent Time also produced many Australian stars.
I still sometimes sing the final song to my kids at night. 'Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you, remember….'
Countdown (1974-1987) Hosted by Molly Meldrum, this was a hugely popular music show for teenagers, including me. At the time I don't think I noticed the meandering interviews and lack of what we might now consider to be a polished professional approach, but hey, that was the seventies. Many famous Australian artists were discovered on Countdown.
Number 96 (1970s)
This was always meant to shock and enthrall. It broke the waters for many raunchy and controversial shows to follow. I was a teenager who was mesmerized by the show and looking back I can hardly believe my parents allowed me to watch it. They always seemed to be flashing the boobies around. I can't remember seeing the famous full frontal but it no doubt created quite a stir back then. The inclusion of a gay role no doubt case quite a stir in the seventies.
Kath and Kim (2002-7) How cool and clever are these two Australian chicks? Jane Turner and Gina Riley are hornbags and rightly so. I wish I could remember some of their creative adaptations of the Australian language. They never failed to cause a good belly laugh. They led the way for other Australian comedies.
The Block (from 2003-) Gold Logie winner Scott Cam has bought the renovator's delight to life. Jamie Durie would be kicking himself now because of the phenomenal success it has achieved. Who would have thought that this show could keep attracting viewers and that the renovators themselves have achieved first name star status?
I was never, ever going to watch Underbelly. It was so not to my taste. I hate violence and drugs and thought it distasteful to glorify those thugs. I couldn't have been the slightest bit interested in Melbourne's underworld… until I was! After watching the first episode I borrowed a friend's copy and for the only time in my life sat on the couch all weekend and watched the whole series. The following series have never had the same appeal to me but they must be popular because they continue to make them.
My Kitchen Rules (2010-)
I have to say I thought ho hum, yet another cooking reality show, this would fail to take off. I've been wrong before. Never underestimate the power of drama, baddies, gatecrashers and mouth watering food. Go Sophia Pou!
Angry Boys (2011)
I don't know why I found this so funny but I still want to laugh out loud when I think of Chris Lilley. As a parent, the response by the Chris' mother and step father to his antics always used to put a smile on my face. The badly behaved Jonah in Summer Heights High also had a similar effect. If I wasn't a teacher maybe I'd have found it even more hilarious.
I'm sure I have made a cardinal sin and left out some hot favourites… sorry I just didn't even consider Neighbours. Please comment on your pick of the besties.