Commandos – The Netherlands/Belgium/South Africa
Three years ago, a Dutch Special Forces team led by Commander John de Koning (Werner Kolf) was secretly sent to Northern Nigeria to rescue an important hostage kidnapped by Boko Haram. This covert mission turned into a nightmare. In addition to the terrorists, many civilians – including a group of young girls – were killed, and the liberated man turned out to be a monster.
Now, John is charged with protecting a Nigerian Minister visiting the Netherlands as a guest of honour. This minister turns out to be none other than the man John’s team rescued three years ago in Nigeria, where he’s now an important politician. He wants assurances that his reputation will not be tainted by what happened back then. He knows somebody has been talking… When his best friend and colleague is shot dead, John realises that he and the former members of his platoon are all in great danger. Commandos is an original, complex action thriller combining the suspense and action of a whodunnit with existential character drama.
Commandos will be streaming at SBS On Demand from 19 November.
Agent – South Africa/Mauritius
Agent is a cutting-edge drama series from the point of view of a young, smart and charismatic former professional footballer turned agent. Hot-shot soccer agent Slindile ‘Blaze’ Magoba (Khumbulani Kay Sibiya) has 18 hours before the transfer window shuts to save his football agency from the axe and his clients from being poached by a ruthless rival agent, while trying to make sense of a drunken and passionate one-night stand with a detective that could threaten a secret he buried with his star client six years ago.
Set in the concrete jungle of modern-day Johannesburg and powered by an iconic soundscape that includes vintage ’70s funk, psychedelic alternative ballads and contemporary African and South African hip-hop, it is an entirely authentic, blazingly original, action-packed and often darkly audacious look at the political manoeuvring that is rife in the modern game, where time means everything, and getting double-crossed and outmanoeuvred is par for the course.
Agent will be streaming at SBS On Demand from 26 November.
When the Dust Settles – Denmark
When the Dust Settles consists of a handful of seemingly detached stories with different main characters in very different life situations. Eight stories, each with its own character gallery and plot, are slowly merged and universes crossed throughout the 10 episodes. The story culminates in the context of a violent event that affects all the main characters and changes their lives forever. Unlike much Scandi drama this is not a whodunnit series. It does not focus on finding the perpetrators, but instead on what happens in individual lives and in society when our safety is threatened. It is a series about the cohesion that connects us, and how the choices we make affect not only our own, but also the lives of others.
When the Dust Settles will be streaming at SBS On Demand from 19 November.
Joint Venture – Brazil
In a fictitious future in São Paulo, Brazil, marijuana has just been legalised. Now, small-time dealer Biriba (Luís Navarro) must decide whether to make his business official in a quickly saturated market, or stay on the wrong side of the law dealing harder more dangerous drugs for much bigger pay. Changing from one world to another is more difficult than he imagined, and to make matters worse, certain people from his past aren’t too happy with his decision.
Joint Venture is now streaming at SBS On Demand.
Gomorrah – Italy
If you like Breaking Bad, The Wire and Zero Zero Zero then this Italian crime drama is for you. Based on Roberto Saviano’s bestselling tell-all book, this TV series is the inside story of the fierce and brutal Neapolitan crime syndicate, the Camorra, built on a fortune of cocaine, corruption and chemical waste, and dealing in power, blood and money. For those who try to fight their way out of the system, they are quickly reminded who’s boss. Saviano has been living under protection since he courageously exposed the Camorra’s activities.
Gomorrah seasons 1-4 are now streaming at SBS On Demand.
Spiral – France
Starting in 2005 Spiral is the award-winning series that follows a team of flawed but driven police officers and prosecutors as they contend with the most heinous crimes in modern-day France. Spiral covers both the investigative and legal elements of any given case, moving from catching the culprits to bringing them to justice in the courtroom. Think Law & Order, but darker, grittier and in Paris. The show has also been compared to The Wire, as it delves into the impact the work has on our heroes’ personal lives and the systematic corruption they have to face. Spiral is one of the best cop shows around and with season 8 coming in December, there is no better time to start watching than now.
Spiral seasons 1-7 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Look out for season 8, coming in December.
Hungry Ghosts – Australia
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.
Trickster – Canada
Trickster from Canada is based on bestselling novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. Newcomer Joel Oulette stars as Jared, an Indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family afloat via an after-school job and drug-dealing. There’s his mum Maggie, who parties and self-medicates to placate an undiagnosed mental illness, and his unemployable dad Phil and his new girlfriend. When Jared starts seeing talking ravens, doppelgängers and skin monsters, among other strange things, his already chaotic young life tumbles anew.
With roots in Indigenous gothic mythology, this show is unlike anything you’ve seen before and is created by award-winning indigenous filmmaker Michelle Latimer (RISE) and Tony Elliott (Orphan Black).
Trickster is now streaming at SBS On Demand with new episodes landing weekly on Tuesdays.
The Longest Day in Chang’an – China
The Longest Day in Chang’an is essential viewing for action-epic enthusiasts. It’s 744AD and a former detective turned convicted criminal becomes China’s last hope to thwart mysterious invaders who threaten the empire’s capital city on the day before the Lantern Festival. Fans of 24 will be familiar with the structure of this Chinese period drama, which follows one very stressful day in the cosmopolitan heart of the Tang dynasty, Chang’an. The series takes place over 48 episodes, each accounting for 30 minutes of the day. Based on Ma Boyong’s novel of the same name, the series is visually stunning with high production values, and with the clothing, make-up and architecture authentic to the time period.
The Longest Day in Chang’an is now streaming at SBS On Demand.
Invisible Heroes – Chile/Finland
Based on a true story, Invisible Heroes takes us to Santiago, Chile in 1973. Augusto Pinochet has just overthrown the president in a bloody military coup, throwing the populace into fear and turmoil. At the time, Tapani Brotherus was working as a Finnish diplomat and enjoying the expat lifestyle with his wife Lysa. But when people literally start climbing the walls into their compound, desperate for help, he ignores all diplomatic protocol and instructions from above, helping ensure safe passage to Europe for over 2,000 Chilean citizens.
This multilingual political thriller from Finland in collaboration with Chile is utterly captivating, highlighting what can happen when individuals choose to act from a moral rather than policy standpoint. Pelle Heikkilä (Midnight Sun) stars as Tapani, and real-life wife Sophia Heikkilä plays Lysa. Also look out for Mikael Persbrandt (Beck, Sex Education, Agent Hamilton) as Swedish ambassador Harald Edelstam.
Invisible Heroes is now streaming at SBS On Demand.
The Pier – Spain
Alejandra is a high-profile architect who is shattered by her husband’s suicide. After discovering that he led a double life with another woman for years, Alejandra tries to appease the pain by approaching her under another identity to discover why her husband lived a lie – and what really happened on the night he died. Starring Álvaro Morte (a.k.a The Professor from the hit series Money Heist) and created by Álex Pina (who created Money Heist) you won’t want to miss this addictive Spanish thriller.
The Pier seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand.