• (L - R) 'The Salisbury Poisonings', 'Stanley', 'Sunshine' and 'Butterfly' (SBS)Source: SBS
So much good TV, so little time. Here is a collection of 12 short (and mini) series now streaming at SBS On Demand that you can easily marathon over a weekend and check off your ever growing watchlist.
SBS Guide

1 Oct 2020 - 4:58 PM  UPDATED 26 Mar 2021 - 11:03 AM


Total episodes: 4 x 50min

This Dutch series is based on events that took place in the 1990s where the titular Stanley is Stanley Hillis, one of the country’s most infamous criminals. Over three decades, Stanley evolved from ‘gentleman’ bank robber to ruthless kingpin. In the early ’90s, thousands of kilograms of drugs (as well as weapons and explosives) were allowed to enter the country in an effort to catch the leader of the Dutch drug empire.

The four-part Stanley presents the cat-and-mouse game between the Justice Department and the criminal underworld, introducing us to remarkable characters on both sides. With Stanley’s group marred by mistrust, money problems and betrayal, heads surely roll. A fascinating look at this recent criminal history, Jeroen Spitzenberger stars in the lead role.

He’s the real-life bank robber who became Europe’s biggest drug kingpin: meet 'Stanley'
Stanley Hillis went from genial bank robber to the Netherland’s ruthless crime kingpin - all with the help of the law.

Stanley is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


The Sister

Total episodes: 4 x 45min

Starring Russell Tovey (Years and Years), Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) and Nina Toussaint-White (Bodyguard), this British psychological thriller is from Luther creator Neil Cross. Praised by The Guardian as a “nail-biting whodunnit that is truly haunting,” it centres on Nathan who, almost a decade into his devoted married life, is rocked to the core when an unwelcome face from the past turns up on his doorstep with shocking news, triggering a series of catastrophic decisions. Suitably creepy and nail-biting this series is filled with dark forests, haunting spirits and an unrecognisable Bertie Carvel (Doctor Foster) as the sinister, here to haunt your dreams character of Bob.

The dark secrets behind assembling ‘The Sister’s diabolically good cast
Essentially a four-hander, getting the fraught relationships right between each character was a major feat by ‘Luther’ creator Neil Cross in his latest thriller.
‘Years and Years’ star Russell Tovey on sinking in the mud of murder mystery ‘The Sister’
It’s his most full-on role since appearing on stage in ‘Angels in America’ and mischievously subverts his nice-guy image.
The haunting at the heart of new crime thriller ‘The Sister’ from ‘Luther’ creator Neil Cross
From serial killers to who’s the killer, there’s an intriguing puzzle box to unlock in this gripping four-part drama.

The Sister is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


The Salisbury Poisonings

Total episodes: 4 x 45min

This incredible four-part series is based on the real-life 2018 assassination attempt on double agent and spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK. Soon after the attack, it was discovered that a lethal nerve agent called Novichok was used, just half a teaspoon of which could kill 20,000 people, sending the local community into turmoil. Local policeman Nick Bailey (played by Rafe Spall) and Head of Public Health Tracy Daszkiewicz (played by Anne-Marie Duff) worked exclusively with producers to capture the fear, uncertainty and immense heroism of the community who ultimately rose to the challenge of overcoming a lethal contagion. Very inspiring stuff, and maybe a little timely too.

The Salisbury Poisonings is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

When you're done: Listen to The Salisbury Poisonings creators/writers  Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson talk us through the delicate process of adapting true stories for the screen 



Total episodes: 6 x 45min

Something strange is happening in Norway: Powerful flashes of light occur in the ocean, and people from three time periods – the Stone age, the Viking age and the late 1800s – suddenly appear in the present. No one understands how this is possible, and the people from the past, dubbed 'beforeigners', have no memory of what's transpired. Some years later, many of these time "migrants" are struggling to integrate into modern society and more arrive every day. Detective Lars Haaland (Nicolai Cleve Broch) is teamed up with Alfhildr Enginnsdottir (Krista Kosonen), the first police officer with Viking origin, to solve a mysterious murder of a woman with Stone-Age tattoos. Part Nordic Noir crime show, part supernatural drama, part buddy comedy, this HBO Nordic original and intriguing series has already been renewed for a second season.

Immigrants from the past face a culture clash in Nordic police drama ‘Beforeigners’
Waves of shocked people suddenly transported from the past is not the biggest mystery in this intriguing crime drama.
Who’s who (and from when) in Nordic time travel drama ‘Beforeigners’
Crime show meets time travel as people from the past start appearing all over the world.

Beforeigners is now streaming at SBS On Demand.



Total episodes: 3 x 45min

International Emmy Award-winning Anna Friel stars in a heartfelt story from BAFTA award-winning writer Tony Marchant. The story centres on 11-year-old Max, who identifies as a girl and wants to live her life as Maxine. What follows is the greatest test of family love and understanding imaginable. The visibility and acknowledgement that Butterfly brings for trans children and their families makes it ground-breaking television and a potential lifeline for many people, it is a heartfelt and sensitive family story. British charity Mermaids, a support organisation for young trans people and their families, provided advice and guidance for the Butterfly production and are featured within the series.

The Playlist 78 - Eighth Grade + The Favourite + Butterfly + Bird Box + The Kominsky Method

On this week's podcast:
00:41 Nick and Fiona loved Eighth Grade and The Favourite…
12:27 They discuss the new SBS drama Butterfly, about a family in crisis
15:46 Fiona and Nick watched a lot on their holidays, and share the edited high/lowlights, including Bird Box and The Kominsky Method.

‘Butterfly’ is a portrait of a trans child's courage – and a landmark television event
The compelling British info-drama tells the story of 11-year-old Max who wants to live as Maxine.

Butterfly is now streaming at SBS On Demand.



Total episodes: 4 x 50min

Sunshine is a high-stakes crime drama set in Melbourne's outer-west suburb of Sunshine. It is in this humble suburb that our South Sudanese protagonist Jacob Garang, a young, aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player, dreams of playing in the American NBA. But his plans hang in the balance when he's drawn into a criminal investigation. Police are hunting down the perpetrator of a violent assault, which has left a teenage girl from from the affluent suburb of Templestowe in a coma fighting for her life, and a group of young men fighting for their innocence. Sunshine is a vibrant, kinetic and compelling hybrid drama that explores a world of contrasts – truth and reconstruction, past and present, hope and heartbreak – felt by those forging a new life in a foreign land.

Sunshine is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Vienna Blood

Total episodes: 6 x 45min

Step into 1900s Vienna, a hot bed of philosophy, science and art, where a clash of cultures and ideas collide in the city’s grand cafes and opera houses. Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard) is a brilliant young English student of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. When Max comes into contact with Oskar Rheinhardt, a Detective Inspector struggling with a strange case, he agrees to help him investigate a series of unusual and disturbing murders. Max’s extraordinary skills of perception and forensics, and his deep understanding of human behaviour and deviance, lead them to solving some of Vienna’s most mysterious and deadly case

There’s murderous twists at the turn of the century in 'Vienna Blood'
Murder mysteries and mysteries of the mind combine to make Vienna Blood a thrilling mix of the psychological and the psychopathic.

Vienna Blood is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Back to Life

Total episodes: 6 x 25min

Back To Life is a dark British comedy drama created by Laura Solon and Daisy Haggard who also stars as the lead Miri Matteson. Miri has just returned to her home town after 18 years in prison. Trying to nudge her way back into society, Miri is the ultimate Adult Beginner: a funny, endearing, awkward woman, determined to move on from her violent past. But life post-prison makes even the simplest tasks challenging, like getting a licence, a job and trying to make sure the terrible truth doesn't resurface. But in a small town, nothing is going to be easy.

Love 'Fleabag'? Here's why you need to watch 'Back To Life'
Check out this binge-worthy comedic drama from the producers of ‘Fleabag’.
If you’re still crying over the end of ‘Fleabag’, ‘Back To Life’ is the binge-watch to heal your heartbreak
This comedic drama from the producers of ‘Fleabag’ hits your screen right when you feared you’d never find a replacement for it. Rest assured ‘Back To Life’ is a worthy contender for cult favourite.

Back to Life is now streaming at SBS On Demand.



Total episodes: 6 x 60min

Marcus and Jas are a quiet left-leaning couple in early ’70s London – until the death of one of their friends at the hands of the police radicalises them, and suddenly they’re fighting the system by any means necessary. Inspired by the real-life activism of the British Black Panthers, and with producer Idris Elba in a supporting role (plus a deeply scary Rory Kinnear as the racist policeman determined to restore order to London’s streets), Guerrilla is a gripping mix of knife-edge thriller and insightful character drama that never loses sight of the personal cost of violence.

Guerrilla is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Face to Face

Total episodes: 8 x 30min

A 30-minute episode drama? You don’t see that too often. Sign me up! This compelling crime thriller from Denmark follows police officer Bjørn Rasmussen as he is sent to a forensic pathology unit to pick up the case of a young woman who has died from apparent suicide. When he arrives, he is horrified to find out that the victim is in fact his own daughter. Refusing to accept her death as suicide, a furious and grief-stricken Bjørn sets off on a whirlwind journey to discover the truth. You won’t want to miss this Nordic Noir thriller.

Face to Face is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


54 Hours

Total episodes: 4 x 60min

Based on a true story that shocked Germany at the time for its ensuing police incompetence and scandalous meddling by media, this drama recreates a 1988 armed bank robbery that veered well off course. The two gangsters take a busload of passengers hostage, sparking a manhunt in which live television played a disastrous role, including putting to air interviews with the criminals and hostages. The heat of summer adds its own layer of oppression to the mess that unfolds.

54 Hours is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Hungry Ghosts

Total episodes: 4 x 60min

An original SBS series, Hungry Ghosts is a four-part supernatural-drama-horror with touches of humour in the storytelling. When a tomb in Vietnam is accidentally opened on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a vengeful spirit is unleashed, bringing the dead with him. As these spirits wreak havoc across Melbourne’s Vietnamese-Australian community, reclaiming lost loves and exacting revenge, young woman May Le must rediscover her true heritage and accept her destiny to help bring balance to a community still traumatised by war.

Exploring notions of superstition and how displacement and division impact our identity long after the events themselves, this series asks whether we can ever leave the trauma of the past behind or abandon our culture, or whether these form a fundamental part of who we are. 

Hungry Ghosts is now streaming at SBS On Demand. The series is also available with Simplified ChineseArabic and Vietnamese subtitles at SBS On Demand. Watch episode 1 now:


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'Laetitia' is a true life crime that'll break your heart
Based on the true story that shocked a nation, 'Laetitia' is a missing person thriller that reaches all the way to the President of France.
'Possessions' is a psychological thriller that will grab you
When a woman seems to murder her husband at their wedding reception, only one man believes she’s innocent. Will his quest to set her free make him her next victim?
10 TV thrillers with a supernatural twist at SBS On Demand
Ghostly apparitions, mysterious objects, mermaids and Vikings in modern day Norway. Nothing is as it seems in these supernatural thriller series now streaming at SBS On Demand.
Taylor Kitsch on why the ‘relationships are everything’ in ‘Shadowplay’
‘Waco’ star Taylor Kitsch shares his love of the ‘relatability’ and ‘timelessness’ of the well-drawn characters in ‘Shadowplay’.
'Shadowplay' creator Måns Mårlind selects his favourite shows at SBS On Demand
Seven series that deliver on how he judges a show: truth, challenge and "that unexplainable quality".
Season 4 of 'The Handmaid's Tale' is on the way
June brings the fight in the new trailer of season 4 of 'The Handmaid's Tale'.