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Drama

SBS is proud to tell stories otherwise untold and give voice to diverse communities otherwise unheard. In 2018-19, SBS dramas explored complex topics affecting Australians and championed underrepresented people and cultures through compelling storytelling.

A photo of actor Rachel Griffiths, as police officer Grace Gibbs, in SBS drama Dead Lucky.
Dead Lucky

Dead Lucky

A gripping crime thriller told from multiple perspectives, Dead Lucky starred Rachel Griffiths as a police detective obsessed with catching the armed robber who killed her junior officer.

The series secured 1.7 million views on SBS On Demand and a combined average audience of 484,000 on SBS (33 per cent above the yearly timeslot average).

  • The drama was supported by a significant SBS Outreach campaign via SBS Learn, with international student resources created and translated in seven languages: English, simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Nepali, Hindi, Malay and Vietnamese. These provided information and support services related to housing, employment, legal support, health and wellbeing. The campaign also featured interviews with current tertiary students from Ukraine, Pakistan, Philippines, Nepal, China and Bangladesh sharing advice to new international students.
  • Ian Meadows was nominated for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor at the 2019 TV Week Logie Awards.

On The Ropes

On The Ropes is a story of empowerment, love, the resilience of families and, above all, fighting for what you believe in. A compelling drama set in Western Sydney, this series featured a diverse cast, exploring complex issues through the lens of family.

The series reached more than 500,000 viewers, and received three nominations for the 2019 TV Week Logie Awards: Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie, Outstanding Actress (Nicole Chamoun) and Outstanding Supporting Actress (Keisha Castle-Hughes).

On The Ropes screened at the premiere international TV festival Series Mania in France, was nominated for Best Direction in the Australian Directors Guild awards and was a finalist in the 2019 Equity Ensemble Awards for Outstanding Performances by an Ensemble Cast.

SBS Outreach supported the series, hosting an advance screening and female-led panel discussion at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in south western Sydney.

Through SBS’s Diversity Talent Escalator initiative (detailed on page 46), SBS offered a placement to May Yousif who worked as a Cultural liaison and Assistant Director. May provided a connection to the local Middle Eastern boxing community throughout the production, as a conduit to authentic extras casting.

“Created and produced by a largely female creative team of culturally and linguistically diverse filmmakers, On The Ropes is a story of female rebelliousness that, in its robust and entertaining way, confronts gender discrimination and the challenges faced by displaced immigrant families, especially with their children fast assimilating to Australian life. It joins a distinguished group of commissions from SBS that includes the high-quality series Safe Harbour, Sunshine, The Principal and Deep Water.” – Graeme Blundell, The Australian, 23 November 2018

The Family Law – Season 3

Based on the critically-acclaimed memoir of the same name, season 3 of The Family Law explored new realities about growing up in its unique comedic way. As one of the first Australian series to feature an entirely Asian main cast, it has been highly regarded due to the cultural significance of exploring LGBTIQ+ identities in an Asian-Australian family, given the topic is often taboo in Chinese culture. The series was critically lauded for deconstructing Asian stereotypes and creating authentic and complex characters, all achieved through the powerful lens of comedy.

The Family Law appeared in SBS’s top 10 comedy programs for 2018-19. It was ranked fourth behind some of the network’s strongest-performing international comedy titles, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Orville.

Robbie Hood

Following the success of Homecoming Queens, SBS On Demand’s first drama commission, Robbie Hood is a mischievous and heart-warming digital comedy that brings life in the Northern Territory to the small screen. Launched in July 2019, the six-part series from director Dylan River is a modern retelling of a classic tale, as Robbie and his friends attempt to right the wrongs they see in their hometown of Alice Springs.

Dramas from around the world

SBS is known for bringing the best international dramas to Australian audiences and continues to offer an increasing breadth and depth of premium drama series that viewers won’t find anywhere else, attracting new audiences who come to SBS for a different perspective.

Diverse series including Borgen, Counterpart, The Bridge, Trapped, The Teach and I Know Who You Are performed strongly on the SBS On Demand platform and raised awareness of SBS’s unique content offering. English titles including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Good Fight and Brooklyn Nine-Nine featured diverse casts and explored themes aligned to the SBS Charter.

As media consumption behaviours continue to evolve, SBS is committed to ensuring these global dramas are available for Australians to enjoy at their convenience. In 2018-19 SBS On Demand premiered an extensive catalogue of LOTE dramas, with more than 1,080 hours of online exclusives and premiere titles in a language other than English.