Australian tv dramas

by dfle3 | created - 16 Jan 2014 | updated - 01 May 2015 | Public

Originally intended to be the basis of a "Greatest?" poll, I dropped that once it became clear that only polls which had "The dark knight" as a voting option got approved to go live on this site. So, I've now surpassed the limit of 35 titles for polls to be more exhaustive.

Titles in alphabetical order.

I'm not including series which had a short story arc, like "Janus" and "Phoenix", which appear in my List for Australian mini-series and short run series. Series which may have only run for one or two years and were axed will be included here too.

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1. Adventures of the Seaspray (1965– )

30 min | Adventure, Family

The story centred on widowed journalist Dan Wells, who is sailing the Pacific with on his 25-metre schooner "Seaspray", with his three children Mike, Noah and Sue, assisted by their Fijian crewman.

Stars: Susanne Haworth, Gary Gray, Leoni Lesinawi, Walter Brown

Votes: 55

2. A Place to Call Home (2013– )

60 min | Drama

A mysterious woman is perched between the harsh legacy of World War II and the hope of a new life in Australia.

Stars: Marta Dusseldorp, Noni Hazlehurst, Brett Climo, Craig Hall

Votes: 2,487

Wikipedia states that a 3rd series of this show had been commissioned by the Seven Network (according to TV Week magazine) but that they changed their mind and are now axing the show (either that or the TV Week story that the series had been commissioned for a 3rd series was false. TV Week ran both stories!).

3. Autumn Affair (1958–1959)

15 min | Drama

A soap opera about a middle-aged woman in a love-triangle with two men.

Stars: Queenie Ashton, Leonard Bullen, Janette Craig, John Juson

According to Wikipedia, a soap opera having a 156 episode run, which ended in 1959 (!). The National Film and Sound Archive has many episodes of this series.

5. Blue Heelers (1994–2006)

60 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The series primarily focuses on the daily lives of Victorian police officers working at a police station in the fictional small town of Mount Thomas.

Stars: John Wood, Julie Nihill, Martin Sacks, Lisa McCune

Votes: 658

6. Bluey (1976–1977)

90 min | Drama

Bluey was set at Melbourne's Russell Street Police Headquarters (Victoria, Australia), with "Bluey" Hills heading his own squad ("Department B"), due to his inability to work within the existing police squads.

Stars: Lucky Grills, Gerda Nicolson, John Diedrich, Ken Goodlet

Votes: 38

7. Boney (1972–1973)

60 min | Crime

A Police Officer, who is also Aboriginal, arrives in outback central Australia from a big city. He begins to solve local major crimes. Not only through his intelligence, as he is highly ... See full summary »

Stars: James Laurenson, Kate Fitzpatrick, David Gulpilil, Ken Goodlet

Votes: 143

The concept was revived with "Bony", starring...a white Australian! Cameron Daddo, from memory. However, even this original series (based on the novels, presumably, of Arthur in, I'm not sure how closely this series followed the books, if at all, not having read the books) had some controversy...the titular character, an Aboriginal tracker, was played by a New Zealand Maori.

Finding this title at this site I see that it was also a 1990 movie...which Wikipedia states was a "pilot movie".

Starred Cameron Daddo as "Bony". In the novels by Arthur Upfield, Bony is meant to be an Aboriginal. Wikipedia states for this reboot that Bony is a descendent of the original Bony, from the novels.

Even the original series of "Boney" seems to have been somewhat controversial...with the titular character being played by I New Zealand Maori, I believe.

9. Carson's Law (1983–1984)

50 min | Crime, Drama

Set in the 1920s. A female lawyer faces prejudice when she marries into a influentual family law firm. On top of this she has to bring up three children when her husband is killed in a plane crash.

Stars: Rowena Mohr, Peter Aanensen, Gerard Kennedy, Kevin Miles

Votes: 50

11. Cop Shop (1977–1983)

50 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Life in a suburban police station.

Stars: Peter Adams, Paula Duncan, Gregory Ross, Joanna Lockwood

Votes: 55

12. A Country Practice (1981–1993)

60 min | Drama, Romance

Follow the highs and lows of the townsfolk of Wandin Valley. This drama TV series revolves around the daily happenings of a 'small town' rural Australian hospital, its doctors, nurses, ... See full summary »

Stars: Shane Porteous, Brian Wenzel, Lorrae Desmond, Joyce Jacobs

Votes: 334

13. Division 4 (1969–1976)

50 min | Crime, Drama

This series was about the wide variety of cases dealt with by the Criminal Investigation and Uniform branches at Melbourne's fictional Yarra Central police station.

Stars: Gerard Kennedy, Chuck Faulkner, Frank Taylor, Terence Donovan

Votes: 55

14. East West 101 (2007–2011)

60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Major Crime is a metaphor for East and West, for the conscious and unconscious, for reconciliation and difference, for hope versus despair, as Malik struggles toward the sunlight while ... See full summary »

Stars: Don Hany, Susie Porter, Aaron Fa'aoso, Daniela Farinacci

Votes: 291

15. Emergency (1959– )

30 min | Drama

One of the earliest ever medical series, this Australian drama takes place in the Emergency Ward of a hospital, and was an early protype for series such as Emergency Ward 10 and Casualty.

Stars: Brian James, Syd Conabere, Judith Godden, Natalie Raine

Votes: 8

GTV 9. 16 episodes (discontinued due to sponsorship withdrawal, according to Wikipedia).

16. Glenview High (1977–1979)

50 min | Drama

Set in a Sydney secondary school located in a tough, under-privileged suburb; Greg Walker, the new English teacher has just transferred in from a country school.

Stars: Grigor Taylor, Rebecca Gilling, Elaine Lee, Ken James

Votes: 12

17. G.P. (1989–1996)


Set around a fictional Ross St Surgery medical practice in inner Sydney explored both the personal and professional lives of the general practitioners working together, and the other doctors and staff who worked in the clinic.

Stars: Denise Roberts, Michael Craig, Michael O'Neill, Brian Rooney

Votes: 93

18. Home and Away (1988– )

22 min | Drama, Romance

"Home and Away" chronicles the lives, loves, happiness and heart-breaks of the residents of Summer Bay, a small coastal town in New South Wales, Australia.

Stars: Ray Meagher, Lynne McGranger, Emily Symons, Ada Nicodemou

Votes: 4,874

19. Homicide (1964–1977)

50 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The show was about crimes and cases actioned by the Victorian (Australia) homicide squad, with many cases based of real cases.

Stars: Leonard Teale, George Mallaby, John Fegan, Alwyn Kurts

Votes: 69

20. House Husbands (2012– )

45 min | Drama

The lives of four Australian men who are raising their children.

Stars: Firass Dirani, Rhys Muldoon, Gary Sweet, Julia Morris

Votes: 673

A comedy drama. Since it poses a problem as to whether put this in my drama list or my comedy series list I'll just introduce this new categorisation rule: comedy dramas which take up an hour long slot on commercial tv go to the drama list and those which take up a 30 minute slot on commercial tv will go onto my comedy list.

21. Love Child (2014–2017)

45 min | Drama

The lives of staff and residents at the fictional Kings Cross Hospital and Stanton House in Sydney in 1969.

Stars: Jessica Marais, Mandy McElhinney, Miranda Tapsell, Sophie Hensser

Votes: 875

22. Love My Way (2004–2007)

50 min | Drama, Romance

A story about a group of thirty-somethings dealing with the ups and downs of life.

Stars: Claudia Karvan, Asher Keddie, Brendan Cowell, Dan Wyllie

Votes: 684

23. Matlock Police (1971–1976)

50 min | Crime, Drama

Policing in a small rural town ...early 70's popular in its day

Stars: Vic Gordon, Paul Cronin, Michael Pate, Tom Richards

Votes: 50

24. MDA (2002–2005)

50 min | Drama

Medical Defence Australia, a team of lawyers and doctors who defend doctors charged with malpractice, ranging from Botox injections gone wrong to spinal cord injuries.

Stars: Shane Bourne, Angus Grant, Petra Yared, Jason Donovan

Votes: 51

25. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (2012– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A female sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of Melbourne in the late 1920s, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger-sharp wit.

Stars: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Ashleigh Cummings

Votes: 9,692

26. Mr & Mrs Murder (2013)

44 min | Comedy, Mystery

The series follows the adventures of married couple Nicola and Charlie Buchanan, who run an industrial cleaning business while solving the most baffling murder mysteries.

Stars: Shaun Micallef, Kat Stewart, Jonny Pasvolsky, Lucy Honigman

Votes: 665

See "House husbands" for why this comedy drama makes this list instead of "comedy". The fact that I don't know whether this show got renewed also complicates in perhaps it should go into my "mini-series/short series" list? If the show got axed, it goes here, but if it was designed as a short run series then perhaps I should put it in my other list (i.e. "short series").

27. Neighbours (1985– )

TV-G | 22 min | Drama, Romance

Australian soap opera exploring the lives and relationships of the residents of Ramsay Street in Erinsborough.

Stars: Stefan Dennis, Alan Fletcher, Tom Oliver, Jackie Woodburne

Votes: 4,166

28. Number 96 (1972–1977)

25 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Drama examining the lives of residents of a Sydney apartment block. Initial storylines focused on adultery, drug use, frigidity, rape, gossip, homosexuality, marriage problems, racism. The ... See full summary »

Stars: Elaine Lee, Pat McDonald, Joe Hasham, Ron Shand

Votes: 64

29. Offspring (2010– )

60 min | Comedy, Drama

The story of the impossible loves of 30-something obstetrician Nina Proudman and her fabulously messy family.

Stars: Asher Keddie, Kat Stewart, Richard Davies, Linda Cropper

Votes: 2,504

30. Packed to the Rafters (2008–2013)

60 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Centres around Dave and Julie Rafter and their three children Rachel, Ben and Nathan. On the eve of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary the couple thinks that they are finally about to ... See full summary »

Stars: Rebecca Gibney, Erik Thomson, Michael Caton, George Houvardas

Votes: 1,483

31. Prisoner (1979–1986)

50 min | Crime, Drama

The lives of women behind bars in a female prison.

Stars: Elspeth Ballantyne, Betty Bobbitt, Sheila Florance, Maggie Kirkpatrick

Votes: 1,439

a.k.a. "Prisoner Cell Block H" in overseas markets...oh, "Caged women" too! Saucy Canadians!

N.B. this series has been 'rebooted' in recent years as "Wentworth" and that is near the end of my list here, due to alphabeticising this list.

32. Puberty Blues (2012–2014)

45 min | Drama

In the late 1970s, Debbie and Sue are inseparable teenage girls.

Stars: Brenna Harding, Ashleigh Cummings, Sean Keenan, Charlotte Best

Votes: 1,427

Not to be confused with the earlier movie of the same name.

33. Rake (2010– )

Not Rated | 60 min | Comedy, Drama

Criminal lawyer Cleaver Greene defends the indefensible - from bigamists to cannibals and everything in between. He is champion of the lost cause, both in the court room and in the bedroom.

Stars: Richard Roxburgh, Matt Day, Russell Dykstra, Kate Box

Votes: 3,867

34. Redfern Now (2012–2013)


The troubled lives of struggling indigenous Australians in the tough, rundown neighborhood of the inner suburb of Redfern in Sydney.

Stars: Wayne Blair, Leon Stripp, Richard Green, Jenny Munro

Votes: 362

35. Return to Eden (1986– )

45 min | Drama

Glossy Australian soap opera, where the beautiful, dynamic Stephanie Harper battles her enemies to gain sole control of the family company, Harper Mining Limited.

Stars: Rebecca Gilling, James Smillie, Peta Toppano, Daniel Abineri

Votes: 355

Not to be confused with the successful mini-series which prompted its serialisation.

36. Riptide (1969– )

60 min | Adventure

A charter boat operator who happens to be an American is also a bit of a Private Investigator!

Stars: Ty Hardin, Sue Costin, Jonathan Sweet, Slim DeGrey

Votes: 38

I searched Wikipedia for Jackie Weaver's work and this came up. Unfortunately it had no information on this show...the link to it was for the wrong show (linked to a decades later US show of this name).

Wikipedia states:

"The show featured foreign actors and a foreign producer, similar in approach to The Outsiders"

as well as the reception for the series being lukewarm, meaning it wasn't renewed.

37. Rush (1974–1976)

50 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Stories of the lives of people living in and around the goldfields in the Australian bush during the 1850's.

Stars: John Waters, Max Meldrum, Alain Doutey, Vincent Ball

Votes: 45

Set during the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s.

38. Rush (2008–2011)

Crime, Drama, Mystery

Rush follows the lives of members of the prestigious Tactical Response team (TR), which is based on the real life Victoria Police Critical Incident Response Team, a highly mobile unit that ... See full summary »

Stars: Rodger Corser, Callan Mulvey, Nicole da Silva, Ashley Zukerman

Votes: 1,256

Modern police drama.

39. SeaChange (1998–2000)

60 min | Comedy, Drama

When a corporate lawyer's professional and personal lives crumble she leaves the city with her children to live in a small seaside town and becomes a local judge.

Stars: Jill Forster, John Howard, Kevin Harrington, Cassandra Magrath

Votes: 494

40. Skippy (1967– )

25 min | Adventure, Family

Sonny and his kangaroo Skippy live in Waratah National Park in New South Wales. Matt Hammond, Sonny's father is the park ranger. Skippy saves the day in many adventures.

Stars: Ed Devereaux, Tony Bonner, Ken James, Garry Pankhurst

Votes: 773

Not much information via Wikipedia but there is an extensive entry on

42. Skirts (1990– )

50 min | Action, Drama

A short lived Australian drama series centered around a community policing squad. Due to the high volume of female officers the squad is nicknamed "Skirts".

Stars: Nicholas Politis, Tim Clarke, Justin Connor, Adele Daniele

Votes: 6

Wikipedia statest that this series about female police officers (the "skirts") was not renewed after its first series.

43. Skyways (1979–1981)

50 min | Drama

Pacific International Airport has five million passengers a year , and 800 people who work there; with Paul MacFarlane who is in charge.

Stars: Kylie Minogue, Tina Bursill, Ken James, Brian James

Votes: 32

44. Spyforce (1971–1972)

50 min

Australian Intelligence Officers during World War 2.

Stars: Jack Thompson, Peter Sumner, Redmond Phillips, Katy Wild

Votes: 63

Perhaps this series should be in my mini-series List. Wikipedia lists this as being Jack Thompson's first lead role and also had a seven year old Russell Crowe make a brief appearance in one episode. Fact based series.

45. Sweet and Sour (1984)

Drama, Music

A young band, The Takeaways, try to succeed in the music business.

Stars: Tracy Mann, David Reyne, Ric Herbert, Sandie Lillingston

Votes: 45

20 x 30m episodes on ABC TV. An account of the fictional music band "The takeaways" which features music by the likes of Deborah Conway and Sharon O'Neill, according to Wikipedia. Actors pretended to sing some of those songs though. The album of the series went platinum in Australia (70,000 sales).

46. The Box (1974–1977)

50 min | Comedy, Drama

Examines the day-to-day running of Melbourne television station UCV-12, the professional and personal lives of its staff, both in front of, and behind, the camera.

Stars: Fred Betts, Ken James, Barrie Barkla, Judy Nunn

Votes: 26

47. The Fast Lane (1985–1987)

Comedy, Crime

Two private investigators, Bryce and Ken operate a business known as The Excelsior Research Foundation.

Stars: Terry Bader, Richard Healy, Debra Lawrance, Peter Hosking

Votes: 23

Comedy drama by the successful writers John Clarke (of "Clarke & Dawe) fame as well as Andrew Knight. Hard to get info on this short run series (19 episodes) site mentions one episode being just over 51 minutes in length, making it a candidate for this list over my Australian sit-com list.

Was unaware of this programme. Only IMDB has information on it:

It's listed as an Australia/UK production and 39 episodes (30 minutes each).

Unfortunately no details on what channel it screened on here, if it did at all.

49. The Flying Doctors (1986–1992)

50 min | Drama

This series chronicles the events surrounding the activities of the Royal Flying Doctors Service, which operates its own aircraft -in this case from the base at Coopers Crossing, an ... See full summary »

Stars: Lenore Smith, Robert Grubb, Maurie Fields, Val Jellay

Votes: 576

Finding this entry I see that it was also a mini-series...which I'll have to add to that list of mine as well!

51. The Secret Life of Us (2001–2006)

60 min | Drama