• L–R: ‘Cry Wolf’, ‘World On Fire’, ‘Miss S’ and ‘Vikings’. (SBS)Source: SBS
2021 brings binge-worthy new shows from around the world, an Australian Made collection, and a celebration of 30 years of Flickerfest short films. January can't get here quick enough.
By
SBS Guide

22 Dec 2020 - 10:41 AM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2021 - 4:29 PM

Vienna Blood

New Year’s Day kicks off with three new shows arriving at SBS On Demand. First up, glossy period crime drama Vienna Blood.

We’re in 1900s Vienna, then a hot-bed of philosophy, science and art, when cultures and ideas collided in the grand cafés and opera houses. Our dynamic duo are brilliant young English doctor and student of one Sigmund Freud, Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard, The Imitation Game) and detective inspector Oskar Rheinhardt (Jürgen Maurer, Anatomy of Evil). Combining Max’s extraordinary skills of perception and psychology and Oskar’s forceful tenacity, the pair join forces to investigate and solve some of Vienna’s most mysterious murder cases.

Based on Frank Tallis’ novels, and from the writer of Sherlock, this ‘enjoyably absurd’ series also stars Australia’s Jessica De Gouw (The Hunting). 

Season 1 of Vienna Blood  is streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Atlanta

Actor and Grammy-nominated artist Donald Glover (Community) is the executive producer and star of coming-of-age comedy/drama, Atlanta. Glover plays Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks, a loner who drops out of Princeton. When he returns home, he discovers his cousin Alfred ‘Paper Boi’ Miles (Brian Tyree Henry) has become Atlanta’s hottest new rap act. This authentic, subversive and sometimes surreal series follows the cousins on their way up through Atlanta’s rap scene. Their opposing views on art, commerce, success and race make their quest anything but smooth-sailing. It’s hard to take your eyes off Glover; no wonder he’s a star.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Atlanta are now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Versailles

Vikings’ George Blagden (with not a little magnetism; those eyes!) plays Louis XIV in the three-season box set of Versailles, the third of our shows landing at SBS On Demand on 1 January.

When we first meet him, Louis is 28 and commissioning the construction of Versailles, his ploy to keep the nobles out of Paris and permanently impose his absolute power. Haunted by a traumatic childhood, he’s nevertheless an outstanding political strategist, manipulator and Machiavellian. We watch his transformation into the Sun King and meet a range of figures from history along the way, from the most well-known courtier to the most humble villager, all guiding us through this world of betrayal and intimate secrets, political manoeuvres and declarations of war, revealing Versailles in all its glory and brutality.

Seasons 1–3 of Versailles are now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Untold Australia

Season 5 of this popular documentary series brings three new standalone programs:

Stutter School uncovers the hidden challenges of having a stutter. We follow four people’s journeys through a course to help them find their voice as they’re supported by family.

Birdsville or Bust tells the colourful story of the famous outback Queensland town. With a usual population of around 100 people, the Birdsville Races attract over 10,000 partygoers each year. With four of its main businesses for sale and temperatures climbing to a staggering 49.5 degrees Celsius in summer, this episode captures a tumultuous year in the life of this unique town.

Bowled Over centres on Taboo, a group of drag performers who’ve found an unlikely following in their hometown of Ipswich, Queensland. They’ve helped keep the local lawn bowls club afloat, with their live shows there packing out for nine years running. But with one member of the group set to retire, the future of the club again looks uncertain.

New episodes of Untold Australia air weekly on SBS, on Tuesdays 5, 12 and 19 January at 8.30pm. Episodes also stream at SBS On Demand from the same day they go to air. Season 1, 3 and 4 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Start watching the new season with Stutter School

 

Vikings – final season

Vikings fans, the wait is finally over! The conclusion to the epic Vikings saga premieres with a double episode on SBS and SBS On Demand at 8.30pm, Wednesday 6 January. The final instalment begins as Ubbe learns the truth about Kjetill. Meanwhile, back in Norway, the battle against the Rus has had grave consequences. Reinforcements are on the horizon and Bjorn has an idea that may yet turn the tide.

With each episode only available to stream at SBS On Demand for 35 days after it goes to air, switch on all your alerts and alarms, and tell your friends to remind you too! You will not want to miss this.

How to watch the final season of 'Vikings'
The final season of 'Vikings' is coming to SBS and SBS On Demand in January, which means it's time to say goodbye to our favourite Norsemen and women. Valhalla awaits.

Season 6B, the final season of Vikings, airs exclusively on SBS and SBS On Demand from Wednesday 6 January. Each episode leaves SBS On Demand 35 days after it goes to air. 

 

World On Fire

World On Fire unusually tells the story of the outbreak of WWII from the perspective of everyday people from all sides of the conflict – Britain, Poland, France, Germany and the USA. Multi-award-winning writer Peter Bowker (The A Word) traces the intertwining fates of his relatable and vividly drawn characters in this heart-stopping drama that explores the human stories hidden within some of the most seismic moments in our recent history. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Helen Hunt, Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Harlots), Jonah Hauer-King (Howards End), Julia Brown (MI High), Zofia Wichłacz (Warsaw ’44, Spoor) and Tomasz Kot (Cold War).

World On Fire begins with a double episode on SBS Thursday 7 January at 8:30pm. Single episodes then air weekly at 9:30pm on Thursdays. Episodes are streaming at SBS On Demand. Start here with episode 1:

 

Medici

In the third and final season of Medici, we re-enter Florence after the Pazzi Conspiracy has wrought havoc with the Medicis. Giuliano has been brutally murdered and Lorenzo is out for revenge. The citizens’ discontent is mounting, as they look to religious leader Girolamo Savonarola, a real figure from history who took power in 1494, for inspiration. Savonarola proclaims a ‘popular’ republic in opposition to the tyrannies of the rich. It’s a wild ride to the finish.  

Season 3 of Medici premieres exclusively at SBS On Demand from Thursday 7 January. Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming for catch-up or start season 3 here: 

 

Cry Wolf

When 14-year-old Holly (Flora Ofelia Hofman Lindahl) submits an essay at school detailing domestic violence, her family is torn apart. Social worker Lars (Bjarne Henriksen) is assigned to the case, and is convinced Holly’s story depicts her real life, promptly placing Holly and her younger brother Theo in foster care. Holly’s stepfather insists it’s an act of teenage rebellion, not what’s actually happening in the home. They quickly turn on Lars, who faces a barrage of negative publicity himself when a video of his past heavy-handedness is leaked to social media. Holly’s parents also go after Holly herself. This compelling drama from Denmark will have you glued to the screen. Brilliant performances abound, from children and adults alike.

Season 1 of Cry Wolf  is now streaming exclusively at SBS On Demand

 

We Got This

In this adept mix of comedy and drama, We Got This follows George English (Schiaffino Musarra), an American living in Sweden who, in an attempt to turn around his financial woes, sets about to solve the (real-life) case of murdered former Prime Minister, Olof Palme 30 years ago, and thereby collect the cool 50-million Swedish Crown reward. George’s team comprises his best mate, a journalist who wants nothing to do with the case, a conspiracy theorist and a former police officer. With his wife and daughter left in the dark about his pursuit, George goes from being a laughing stock to being closely watched by a variety of stakeholders, stretching far beyond the nation’s borders, most of whom would prefer the case to remain unsolved.

Not only did this murder really happen, Sweden also did offer a reward for its being solved.

Season 1 of We Got This is now streaming at SBS On Demand

 

La Unidad

An exciting espionage thriller from Spain, we move to Madrid for La Unidad. Based on the real experiences of counterterrorism professionals, Commissioner Carla Torres (Nathalie Poza) leads the Spanish unit in an international anti-jihadist strike. But when the most wanted terrorist leader is captured in Spain, the country becomes a target for looming retaliation. As well as preventing further attacks, Torres has conflict in her personal life to tend to, namely, in her relationship with first officer, Marcos, and the everyday needs of their 8-year-old daughter, Lua.

Season 1 of La Unidad is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

For Life

From Norway, procedural crime drama For Life focuses on hardened National Crime Service investigator, Victoria Woll (Tone Mostraum). We follow Victoria across two different timelines: in the present, where she’s busy solving cases and putting away criminals, and 20 years into the future, where she herself is imprisoned. Each episode presents a present-day standalone case and intermittently reveals pieces of the puzzle to make sense of her future.

Less dark than most Nordic Noir, this script from Emmy Award-winning writer Gjermund S. Eriken (Mammon) sparkles with wit and quick retorts.

Season 1 of For Life is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

State of Happiness

Staying in Norway, we have relationship drama, State of Happiness that follows four young people forging their futures amid the transformation of Norway from being a small fishing outpost to a leading oil nation when in 1969, the largest subsea oil basin in history is discovered.

Season 1 of State of Happiness is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

White Wall

A suspenseful mystery drama, White Wall from Sweden is about a wall found deep underground at the site of the world’s largest nuclear waste depository. Project director Lars Rapp (Aksel Hennie) wants the wall to be kept secret, but rumours run rife through the small mining town. Rapp’s life’s work is to complete this facility, yet nuclear waste is piling up and the project is years behind schedule. Even so, he has no intention of postponing the upcoming opening ceremony, but a spanner is thrown into the works when it’s discovered the wall is made of a material unknown to humankind. Should they leave it alone, or dig deeper to see what lies behind it? Sci-fi fans will also enjoy this unusual, thrilling tale.  

Season 1 of White Wall is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

No Man’s Land

Also from France comes this fast-paced thriller about ordinary people going to extraordinary lengths to save their loved ones. Antoine (Félix Moati) abandons his life to track down his sister Anna (Mélanie Thierry), long presumed dead, and ends up in Syria at the height of the tensions. When she is unexpectedly found, the siblings get caught up in a political plot, their lives forever changed.

With a diverse range of characters, from female Kurdish fighters and Mossad agents to international idealists and adrenaline junkies, this emotional story of the bond of family also delivers intriguing alliances, conflicts and romance. (It is French, after all.) No Man’s Land is a compelling watch that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.

Season 1 of No Man’s Land is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Inner Circle

Sweden delivers this brilliant thriller, adapted from well-known political strategist Per Schlingmann’s novel. For a few days in summer, the country’s political elite has gathered at a forum. Rumours are running wild about the Prime Minister standing down and who will succeed her. Minister for Enterprise David Ehrling fancies himself a shoo-in, but Lena, his spin doctor, has her work cut out for her, keeping a lid on his past scandals. How can she ensure people working against him don’t stand in his way? Fans of political documentaries will also love this compelling series.

Season 1 of Inner Circle is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Miss S

Miss S is the exciting new adaptation of Australia’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Miss Su Wen Li returns to Shanghai to honour an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her boss. However, when the boss’s husband goes missing and winds up dead, Miss S launches her investigation. Just like our homegrown series, this Mandarin-language version is full of jaunty fun and fabulous fashions. 

Season 1 of Miss S is now streaming at SBS On Demand. The show will air on SBS later in the year.

 

Australian Made Collection, 6–21 January

Curated by Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch, the Australian Made collection comprises 10 TV titles that explore Australian culture. From Benjamin Law’s The Family Law to landmark series First Contact, the Australian Made collection also includes a diverse range of documentaries, children’s programs, comedies and game show series.

Perfect for the school holidays, the Australian Made collection streams at SBS On Demand from 6–­21 January. 

 

30 Years of Flickerfest collection, from 1 January

January 2021 marks 30 years of Flickerfest, Australia’s leading Academy® Qualifying Short Film festival. In partnership with Flickerfest, SBS On Demand will stream 49 short films that represent the very best of the ’fest: 42 much-loved Australian and international films as well as 7 shorts that celebrate the LGBTQI+ experience.

Films to stream include Academy Award nominees Butter Lamp and The Eleven O’Clock starring Josh Lawson, and Ralph, written and directed by Deborah Mailman. The 30 Years of Flickerfest collection streams at SBS On Demand from 1 January. If you’re in Bondi, Sydney, catch 2021’s Flickerfest in real life from 22­–31 January.

 

More from The Guide
Justice for a senseless killing drives ‘The Investigation’
Turning a shocking crime into a tribute to the men and women that solved it, ‘The Investigation’ isn’t your typical true crime drama.
'Shortland Street' finds a home at SBS VICELAND in 2021
The iconic Kiwi soap is just one of the big shows coming to SBS VICELAND in 2021.
‘Couples Therapy: The COVID Special’ gets real about the stress of love in lockdown
‘There’s all of this anxiety that’s stirred up and we’re stuck at home.’ In a very relatable one-hour special, Dr Orla Guralnik checks in with how our couples are faring with being confined and together 24/7.
Blessed be ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – a fifth season is on the way
Ahead of the season 4 premiere of 'The Handmaid’s Tale' – delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but coming to SBS on 29 April – it's been confirmed that a fifth season will be made.
Stories From The Furnace
The official podcast companion to the Australian feature film, The Furnace. Join host Osamah Sami (who appears in the film), as he explores the incredible true history of Australia’s so-called ‘Ghan’ cameleers: mostly Muslim and Sikh men from India, Afghanistan, and Persia – who covered the length and breadth of Australia’s vast desert interior, and formed unique bonds with local Aboriginal people. Osamah speaks to historians and descendants of these extraordinary men, and also meets the cast and crew of The Furnace, to learn the ways the film tracks with history, and revives the ‘sleeping’ language of Western Australia’s Badimaya people. Stories From The Furnace is an SBS production in association with Umbrella Entertainment.
Who’s who on the ground and in the air in ‘Departure’
When British passenger flight 716 from New York to London crashes into the ocean, the ripple effects shake the airline industry – and a crack team of investigators – to their core.
How to watch the final season of 'Vikings'
The final season of 'Vikings' is coming to SBS and SBS On Demand in January, which means it's time to say goodbye to our favourite Norsemen and women. Valhalla awaits.
It’s not just criminals who hunt in packs in ‘La Jauría’
When the teenage leader of a protest against a sexist teacher is kidnapped, three female cops are caught in a race against time to find the online mastermind behind the crime.
In its final season, 'Spiral' has saved the best for last
Fifteen years and seven seasons have all been leading up to this.
The most underrated TV series at SBS On Demand for 2020
We know there are A LOT of TV series out there, and some shows get missed. So here are our picks of the 10 most underrated hidden gems at SBS On Demand for 2020.