• Moritz Bleibtreu and Iris Berben star in ‘The Typist’. (SBS)
Sometimes the best viewing on TV can be hiding right under your nose.
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14 Jun 2019 - 10:54 AM  UPDATED 14 Jun 2019 - 10:54 AM

These days it’s easy to think you’ve seen it all. With so much choice on offer, why risk your time starting something that’s merely good when greatness could be just around the corner? Fortunately, we’ve found the solution. We’ve taken a look through the SBS On Demand back catalogue and found a range of first-rate series that may have escaped your notice.

There’s no need to worry about committing yourself to a series that fails to stick the landing here – they’re all good to the last drop.

54 Hours

The year is 1988, and a pair of incompetent German criminals (Sascha Alexander Gersak and Alexander Scheer) are trying to escape from their bungled bank robbery by taking the staff and customers hostage. A string of mistakes by local police allowed the criminals and their hostages to go on a road trip, followed by media happy to interview them and film their every move. It all seemed like a bit of a joke – until things turned serious. Fact really is stranger than fiction.

Raven

Adam Kruk (Michal Zurawski) is a drug-addicted cop who returns to the town he grew up in hoping to track down the pedophile who molested his childhood friend. Officially he’s been sent there to use his local knowledge to help find a kidnapped boy, a case he soon comes to see as his chance to redeem himself for his past failures. But as he investigates the current case, it becomes clear that his past still has a part to play.

Chefs

Each year one of Paris’ greatest chefs (Clovis Cornillac) saves one spot in his kitchen for a convicted criminal looking to redeem themselves. This year it’s Romain (Hugo Becker), and if this young man thought choosing cooking over prison was the easy option he’s soon going to discover that occupying the bottom rung in a high-class kitchen is tougher than he could imagine. Not that he’ll be staying on the bottom for long…

Professor T.

Professor of Criminology at Antwerp University, Jasper Teerlinck (Koen De Bouw) has a brilliant criminal mind. He’s also a bundle of quirks and tics that make him more than a handful outside the lecture theatre. Outside is where the crimes are happening though, so despite his arrogance, germ-phobia and occasional hallucinations, the police keep calling on him for help… even though it becomes increasingly clear that leaving his safe little bubble is starting to cause him real problems.

Nox

Under the streets and homes of Paris lie hundreds of kilometres of tunnels and sewers dating back centuries. It’s a nifty way for a team of criminals to escape after their robberies, but when one of the cops in pursuit vanishes down there, it’s up to her ex-cop mother (Nathalie Baye) and former partner (Malik Zidi) to head into the underground maze to find the crooks who may be holding her hostage.

 

The Typist

Freya Becker (Iris Berben) is a mild-mannered typist for the Berlin homicide department, someone the officers around her hardly even notice. Eleven years ago, her daughter disappeared, and when she finds herself typing up a very similar case – one in which the culprit goes free after he takes back the confession she typed up – it quickly becomes clear there’s something dark and sinister lurking beneath her bland exterior.

Harem

Tel Aviv faith healer Shabtai Zadik (Alon Aboutboul) has 20 wives and over 40 children. He calls it a family; outsiders call it a cult. Suddenly one of his wives reaches out to her family for help. Her parents hope this means she’ll finally return to them – only to discover she’s trying to lure her younger sister into Zadik’s arms. Is there anything the family can do to stop Zadik, or will they be forced to take the law into their own hands?

 

Butterfly

Eleven-year-old Max (Callum Booth-Ford) identifies as a girl, Maxine. Her mother is largely supportive, if confused; her father thinks it’s a phase she’ll grow out of. For now, she’s only allowed to dress as a girl inside the house, but she wants to socially transition and start secondary school as Maxine. Navigating the conflicting and at times hostile reactions to Maxine from her family and the community around her, this three-part UK drama has been widely praised for its sensitive handling of a complex issue.

7 Faces

Seven different yet intertwined characters live in the same apartment block in Istanbul. Each is forced to deal with a challenge that strikes at the very heart of who they are. For one, it might be a simple party game that turns dark when the guests start to confess their sins; for another, an encounter with a hypnotist might unleash their hidden potential. Aging, relationships, the urge to have children, even a sex tape; they’re all issues the residents have to face in this thought-provoking series.

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