Australia’s Logie Awards are a strange beast. Sponsored by TV Week magazine, the Australian television industry’s awards combine People’s Choice awards in the “Best” categories, and industry voted awards in the “Most Outstanding” categories. The first awards, which were then known as the TV Week awards were held in 1959, after the magazine attached voting coupons to its editions in late 1958. Australians can nominate their favourite shows and television personalities by snail mail, as well as via text message and online. The eligibility of a show is fairly simple: it must be produced in Australia and have a predominantly Australian cast. It’s fairly straightforward, at least until you get into categories.
It’s December, and the thing the internet loves the most at this time of year is the end-of-year Best Of list, so they can disagree with them. This is my first time writing such a list, and it’s difficult. I thought about writing a separate list for Australian shows, but I don’t want to ghettoise them, so they’re in here too. There are things that aren’t on here because I don’t watch them (The Walking Dead, Hannibal) or haven’t had time to catch up (Transparent, The Leftovers, Parks and Recreation), so just know I haven’t forgotten them. I didn’t forget anything, there’s a reason I left it off. Fargo isn’t on here because while I thought it was very good, I didn’t love it – although Kirsten Dunst did give one of the best performances of the year. My favourite show of the year has the top spot, everything else is in alphabetical order. Hopefully the shows I’ve collected here are a good range of the different things I’m enjoying right now. Writing a Top 10 list is hard, and while I’m only super passionate about half to two-thirds of the shows on this list, they’re all here for a reason. I’ve written about all of these shows previously, so there’s just going to be a paragraph about why each one is there, with some links to some things I’ve written. My only warning is that if you watch the “Best episodes” of the show, you will be spoiled for some plot developments.
Taking care of everyone is exhausting, even though you love them. Especially if you love them, because you want to do it. This year we’ve seen Josh be the support for the majority of people who sat down to eat Christmas dinner with him, and all they do is poke fun at him. It makes perfect sense that he snaps. It’s not like the first season finale, when he attended Aunt Peg’s funeral on his 21st birthday, this is different. Being the perfect anything is its own burden. Combined with everything that’s going on with Arnold and his anxiety about Ben, it’s all just become too much, and Josh takes John with him to the park and eats trifle, which is a perfectly healthy way to respond to such a situation. Especially since it’s December and Christmas and probably absolutely boiling (I’m projecting Melbourne’s weather onto this show, but it is set in Melbourne, so I’m allowed. Also this is my blog).
The Observation Wheel is the perfect location to set a bottle episode. The Observation Wheel is Melbourne’s attempt at The London Eye, which was part of a larger urban planning scheme for redevelopment in the area now known as the Docklands. The State government knew that Melbourne’s population was growing, so it sold land to developers, who built high-rise apartments. They were super expensive, and also there was nothing in the Docklands other than housing. The Observation Wheel was designed for tourists (it used to be called the Melbourne Star) to see the city, and then not long after it opened, it was taken down and rebuilt more than once due to structural failures. “Champagne” is a vast improvement on last week’s “Amoxycillin” for a number of reasons, but I really wanted to highlight the Observation Wheel. Please Like Me is a very Melbourne show, and I love seeing the places around my city. Now onto, “Champagne,” which was a return to form for Please Like Me, after last week felt particularly sitcom-y.
After a few weeks of sad stories, Please Like Me decides to have fun in the eighth episode of the season. I thoroughly enjoyed “Amoxicillin”, but this show is at its best when it mixes the comedy and the drama. Another thing: I don’t think that this show is at its best when it focuses on Tom. I still haven’t seen the second season of the show (thank you iview for “Binge on the Best” this summer), so I don’t really know what was going on with Tom, but there has apparently been an effort to rehabilitate his character this season. In “Amoxicillin,” Tom realises he has chlamydia, and this is something that’s happened before. Instead of going ahead and telling his girlfriend, he gets Josh involved and there’s a ridiculous scheme.
On nearly any other show, Josh having casual sex with a man who has a cerebral aneurysm would end in disaster. Arnold would come home early from Maths Camp and discover the two of them in bed together and get mad, or we’d have a Turkish Ambassador on Downton Abbey situation. However, Josh and Arnold had an agreement about their open relationship, and Please Like Me isn’t the kind of show to have an almost stranger die in the protagonist’s bed. This is Josh’s life, and in the style of Please Like Me, “Puff Pastry Pizza” is a window into a moment of that life.
It’s upfronts season on Australian television, and this week we heard from both the ABC and Channel Nine. Of the various upfronts (ABC, SBS, Foxtel, Nine, Seven and Ten), the most exciting are from ABC and SBS. They invest in new talent, a diversity of voices, and they also let their creators take a year off if they want to work on something else. Rake is only filmed when everyone involved is available, and it’s coming back in 2016 along with Upper Middle Bogan, which also took a break this year. Meanwhile, there wasn’t anything in the presentation about Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries or Utopia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything with the ABC. Just as we didn’t have Rake or Upper Middle Bogan last year, these shows might just be taking a year off. And that’s okay! I’d prefer to have quality programming than something that feels rushed and suffers for it. I also didn’t see anything about Please Like Me, which has been wonderful this year, but that’s a co-production with Pivot in the United States.