Bite Club (from August 15 on Nine)
Let’s start with Nine’s brand-new series, Bite Club, which has quite the terrifying premise. Two lovers facing horrific trauma from a shark attack – who then have to navigate not only the aftermath, but their broken relationship, and the emergence of an apparent serial killer!
This is kind of a spiritual sequel to Return to Eden, using Australia's obsession with animal attacks as a gimmick to anchor a fairly standard crime show, mixed in with a tawdry torn romance soap between leads Zoe (Ash Ricardo) and Dan (Todd Lasance).
What is Dominic Monaghan doing in this? We have a feeling there’s a big payoff to come from his character.
But there are some clunky moments to get through first; like the bit where a computer-generated shark jumps out of the water to take bites out of our leads.
Then Zoe is shown enjoying an interlude in the shower with her new love as he caresses her shark attack scar – and that’s probably everything you need to know about this.
Don't take it too seriously and you should enjoy the ride.
A Place to Call Home S6 (from August 19 on Foxtel)
This show has been an Aussie favourite for a while now, but season 6 will be its last.
This genteel period soap has an awful lot of clanking tea cups and stiff upper lips – but there is some really big stuff coming up this season, so maybe some of that china is going to end up being thrown against the wall.
Expect hours of emotional repression and Australian actors doing their best posh accents, and then, if you’re lucky, you might get an eruption of dialogue like, 'You brought me here with the promise of forever, and then found your Riviera root!'
It's lavishly and lovingly produced, and moves at a snail’s pace, barely causing a ripple – to the delight of its devoted fanbase. This show is all emotional constipation, middle class angst and trembling stiff upper lips, with expensively realised details of the 1950s.
The producers need to look at the best of Downton Abbey to see how to make a period-obsessed drama with a bit of bite and signs of a pulse every now and then.
There's quite a sad death and a gay love triangle, but don't expect to be jolted out of your chair by anything here.
Doctor Doctor S3 (from August 6 on Nine)
Nine’s Doctor Doctor is back on screens – continuing that strong tradition of city-slicker-exiled-to-the-bush dramas that Aussie networks seem to love.
Yes, this is one of those gentle shows about a handsome city boy forced to move to a country town, where he interacts with a bunch of quirky down-home characters and ultimately finds himself, realising this is the place he's meant to be... Despite two prior seasons of fish-out-of-water wackiness and wanting out.
This could easily be on the ABC, watched by a lot of 60-pluses.
But it's mildly edgy enough to be interesting, with a death by heart attack after sex in a ute, and an obnoxious teen who tips buckets of water on pashing couples at a wake. We also have dialogue like 'Your stent is amazing'.
There's some nice attention to mood and place. The flashback structure is clever and effective.
It's not for everyone – it’s way too gentle and cozy - but this is well made and well performed, and if you like this genre of quirky rural drama, there's good reason to think you'll probably love this.
For more on all of the above shows, plus discussions of the latest seasons of Rake and The Letdown on the ABC, and the return of 800 Words on Seven, check out the new episode of Binge List out now on iTunes - or see the player below!