• 'Cry Wolf', 'Partisan', 'State of Happiness' and 'Atlanta' (SBS)Source: SBS
From award winners to boundary breakers, you'll find gripping stories waiting for you in these acclaimed series.
By
SBS Guide

25 Mar 2021 - 11:02 AM  UPDATED 6 Apr 2021 - 11:14 AM

Discover these five-star series, all streaming at SBS On Demand. 

Partisan

Is Jordnära a successful organic farm … or something more sinister? That’s only one of several mysteries in this new Swedish crime thriller, which was named best series at Canneseries 2020 and nabbed strong ratings in Europe. Swedish-Lebanese actor Fares Fares (Zero Dark Thirty, Rogue One, Chernobyl) headlines this five-part series as Johnny, who enters the secluded community as the farm’s new truck driver. As Johnny gets to know Nicole and Maria, who are spending their summer in the gated community as foster kids, his concern for the girls grows. But does he have his own secrets? Fares is not just the star of the series, but also developed the show alongside director Amir Chamdin (who also composed the original score for the series). Together the pair have created a gripping character-driven mystery. The combination of crime thriller, dark humour, the visual lightness of the Swedish countryside in summer and the on-screen impact of Fares is powerful. “You sense that anything can go wrong, and it gets scarier and scarier,” Chamdin has said of the series. But as he also points out, “It’s not just dark, there is also a love story!”

All five episodes of Partisan are now streaming at SBS On Demand:

 

Atlanta

This acclaimed, multiple Golden Globe Award-winning comedy drama created, co-written, produced by and starring musician and actor Donald Glover follows the lives of Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks (Glover), a young Princeton dropout with a two-year-old daughter, and his rapper cousin Alfred 'Paper Boi' Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), who break into Atlanta's music industry scene and try to get their lives off the ground. Their opposing views on art, commerce, success and race make their quest anything but smooth-sailing. Glover is brilliant and the show is, as rottentomatoes says, “as excellent as it is eccentric”. (In case you were wondering, the ratings website gives the show’s two seasons 97% and 98% on the Tomatometer; they're right - season 2 holds up the promise of the show’s debut, and then some.)

The unnerving delights of 'Atlanta Robbin’ Season'
Believe the hype.

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

 

State of Happiness

The birth of Norway's oil industry may not, at first glance, seem a likely setting for an award-winning series, but in fact it's a perfect moment in time to set a character-driven vintage drama, as a town is caught up in a whirlwind of choice and opportunity. The show kicks off in 1969 in the small coastal town of Stavanger. International oil companies have been test drilling for years, but nothing has been found and they are in the process of leaving. Stavanger lives off fish, and the North Sea is emptying out. Something has to happen. The town is in crisis. The night before Christmas 1969, the gas flare at the Ocean Viking is lit. Phillips Petroleum has found the largest sub sea oil basin in history, and everything is about to change. The creative team apparently took some slight artistic licence with the timing, but the story of the transformation of Norway is very real. Critics and viewers loved everything from the period costumes and strong talent line up to "the sense of grace that runs throughout the series", and the series won local and international awards. 

 An SBS On Demand exclusive, all 8 episodes of State of Happiness are now streaming. 

 

The Investigation

How does a show about a real-life crime that's already been solved become gripping TV? By doing what it does outstandingly well. When Variety reviewed the series earlier this year, it called The Investigation "2021's first great TV drama", praising the cast and the sensitive handling of a tragedy. The Investigation follows the long, determined and complex hunt for the killer of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, murdered while on assignment to interview a Danish entrepreneur. It is the investigation itself, not the murderer (his name is never mentioned), that's the focus here. 

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.

The Investigation is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Gomorrah

Based on the book by Roberto Saviano (whose later book ZeroZeroZero has also been adapted into a series, now streaming at SBS On Demand), this is a chilling inside look at the people and destinies behind the Neapolitan Camorra, the Italian crime organisation every bit as fierce and powerful – even more powerful, many contend – as the Mafia, its better known brother. The critics gave a thumbs up to its dark and deadly drama and the show has won multiple awards, including several for Marco D'Amore for his role as Ciro 'l'Immortale' (The Immortal) Di Marzio, but at the heart of this dark drama is chosen son Gennaro 'Genny' Savastano (Salvatore Esposito, who also plays Gaetano Fadda in the fourth season of Fargo). With power struggles, lies and shifting alliances, the Naples underworld is not an easy place to be. 

The new season of 'Gomorrah' is everything we love about mafia stories
Season four of 'Gomorrah' sees Genny putting his new family first. But when it comes to organised crime, family is always a very mixed blessing.
'Gomorrah' is a Mafia epic to end all others
The author of 'ZeroZeroZero'’s epic look at organised crime in Italy has come to SBS On Demand, and you’ll never look at the Mafia the same way.

Seasons 1-4 of Gomorrah are streaming now at SBS On Demand

 

Midnight Sun

After the worldwide success of The Bridge, a watermark in Nordic Noir (all four seasons are streaming at SBS on Demand), what would that creative team – Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein – do in their new collaboration? Shake things up, it turned out. While Midnight Sun has plenty in common with its genre predecessors, including that feeling of unease, and a multi-national pair of investigators, there is also the relentless sunshine putting a new look to things. In this award-winning eight-part drama, French policewoman Kahina Zadi (Leïla Bekhti) is paired with a local Swedish cop, Anders Harnesk (Gustaf Hammarsten), from the Indigenous Sami community, to investigage a murder in a small Swedish community in the Arctic Circle where the sun never sets. 

Why the world is talking about new Nordic Noir smash hit Midnight Sun
From the creators of The Bridge, the international Scandi noir sensation Midnight Sun promises a dark murder mystery that is bathed in 24-hour daylight.

Midnight Sun is streaming now at SBS On Demand.

 

Shadowplay

The latest project from Mårlind and Stein, this gritty thriller – the Sydney Morning Herald called it “darkly evocative and instantly captivating” – is set in post-war Berlin. American cop Max McLaughlin (Taylor Kitsch, Waco, Friday Night Lights), arrives to help create a police force, but he's also there to hunt for his missing brother. Dexter star Michael C. Hall is Tom Franklin, the American Vice Consul in the torn-apart city, while German actress Nina Hoss plays Elsie Garten, a woman fighting to build a new life. Berlin in the summer of ’46 is a jungle, where no one can be trusted.

Who’s who in powerful new character-driven drama, ‘Shadowplay’
Berlin. Summer of 1946. The city’s feverish and unpredictable, hot and sweaty and dusty. Here’s who you will meet along the way.

See Shadowplay  9:30pm Thursdays on SBS. New episodes will be available at SBS On Demand each week on the same day as broadcast. Shadowplay will also be subtitled in Simplified Chinese and Arabic, available to stream for free at SBS On Demand. Start with episode 1:

 

Wellington Paranormal 

If you're looking for a change of pace, and you haven't discovered Wellington Paranormal, now is the time. With their signature relaxed responses to bizarre supernatural scenarios, join Officers Minogue and O’Leary and Sergeant Maaka on the beat in this unique mockumentary that only could have been made in the Land of the Long White Cloud. It’s a spinoff by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement of their vampire comedy film, What We Do In The Shadows, and it’s blooming excellent. The Sydney Morning Herald review summed it up as "brilliant, and above all else, unmistakably Kiwi gem", pointing to both the writing and the acting as key to how this unlikely idea has been turned into highly entertaining TV, and it deservingly scooped up a Best Comedy award at the 2020 NZ Television Awards. 

Everything you need to know before you binge ‘Wellington Paranormal’
Party ghosts, blood bank robberies and demonic teenagers are just an average night out for the cops behind ‘Wellington Paranormal’.

Wellington Paranormal season 3 airs on SBS VICELAND Wednesday nights at 8:30pm until 31 March. Seasons 1–2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand with season 3 episodes streaming after they go to air. Start with Season 1 episode 1 below or head to SBS On Demand to jump into Season 3.

 

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. Cry Wolf has won a brace of awards, including Best TV Series, and best actress, actor, supporting actress and supporting actor in a TV series, at the 2021 Robert Awards (Denmark's national film and TV awards), after also being named Best Series at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival. 

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

 

The Bureau

Right from the start, viewers could not get enough of this award-winning French series. Intricately plotted and based firmly on real-life events, The Bureau is one of the most realistic and addictive spy drama series ever. The series is based on real accounts from French spies, and reveals what life is like for the deep cover agents that put their lives on the line in the so-called 'Bureau of Legends' (a clandestine branch of the French secret service). It features an all-star cast that's a who's who of French cinema including lead Mathieu Kassovitz (Amelie), Louis Garrel (Little Women), Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Florence Loiret Caille (Spiral), and two episodes in season 5 are directed by Palme d'Or winning director Jacques Audiard (Dheepan). This spy thriller will hook you in with its tense storylines and world-class cinematic quality. 

Who’s who in 'The Bureau'
Spies are trained to blend in, and the spies of France’s 'The Bureau' are the best of the best. These are the ones to keep an eye on.

Watch The Bureau seasons 1–5 at SBS On Demand.

 

Cardinal

Winner of 20 Canadian Screen Awards over its four seasons, Cardinal has become one of the top watched and most loved series at SBS On Demand. If you love Nordic noir then this Canadian crime thriller series is for you. Adapted from the crime novels by Giles Blunt, the series follows Algonquin Bay city detectives John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and his partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse). In season 1 John Cardinal is on a chilling hunt for a brutal killer, in season 2 Cardinal and Delorme's investigation exposes the seedy underbelly of picturesque Algonquin Bay, in season 3 it's autumn but the glorious colours can’t hide the town’s most gruesome double murder as they investigate a doomsday cult with nothing to lose. And in the fourth and final season there are murders to be solved and they are challenged in fresh, frigid and frightening ways in the icy winter.

Everything you need to know before the chilling final season of 'Cardinal'
Our favourite Canadian detectives are back, and they've got a very cold case on their hands.

Cardinal seasons 1-4 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Start at the beginning.

 

We Are Who We Are

From award-winning director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), this story about two teenagers who explore their true identities while living on a US military base in Italy, made it onto Vulture’s list of The Best TV of 2020 and into Shadowplay and The Bridge creator Måns Mårlind’s curated collection at SBS On Demand. This coming-of-age story is about acceptance, first love, friendship and identity – and characters and experiences that, says Guadagnino, don’t get as much air-time in the mainstream: “If the series is political, it’s because it somehow opens our gaze on the other and gives a voice, with less sugar-coating than in the mainstream, to a multitude of characters who are quite invisible or underrepresented on the screen.” At the heart of the series are Jack Dylan Grazer, as shy fourteen-year-old Fraser, who moves to a military base with his mothers, Sarah (Chloë Sevigny) and Maggie (Alice Braga), who are both in the US Army; and Jordan Kristine Seamón as the seemingly confident Caitlin, who has lived at the base for several years.

All 8 episodes of We Are Who We Are are streaming now at SBS On Demand.

 

Unit One

Based on the work of a real life elite Danish police unit, this Emmy-award winning series follows the members of a mobile task force as they respond to requests for help from local police in solving series crimes. The strong cast includes Charlotte Fich as DCI Ingrid Dahl, commander of the unit, and Mads Mikkelsen, who won Best Actor at the Danish Television Awards for his role as impulsive and frustrated detective Allan Fischer. If you haven't discovered Unit One already, this one will hook you in and give you plenty to enjoy: all 32 episodes are available to watch now. 

Unit One is streaming at SBS On Demand

 

Years And Years

“For a series that compresses 15 years into six hours, it seems to pass in the blink of an eye thanks to Russell T. Davies’s trademark humour, compassion and the kinetic energy with which he infuses every project,” says The Guardian of this timely reminder of how quickly life can change. Years and Years stars Emma Thompson as an ambitious politician but the heart of the story is what happens to one close-knit family as dramatic changes in the political landscape sees their daily lives changed in ways no one could expect. Created, written and executive produced by Davies (A Very English Scandal, Doctor Who, Queer as Folk) along with Nicola Shindler (Come Home, Queer as Folk, Butterfly) as executive producer and directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Boardwalk Empire, Jessica Jones), Years and Years lived up to its promise, drawing wide acclaim across Britain, America and Australia.

Years and Years (also available with Arabic and Simplified Chinese subtitles) is streaming now at SBS On Demand:

 

The Hunting

Starring Asher Keddie and Richard Roxburgh, The Hunting follows the lives of four teenagers, their teachers and families in the aftermath of a nude teen photo scandal. Tackling themes of misogyny, online exploitation, sexuality and sexualisation, the series offers a vital portrait of modern, multicultural Australia. Richard Roxburgh won the AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama for his role in The Hunting, and writers Niki Aken and Matthew Cormack picked up the AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television, for episode 3 titled #shittyboys. 

The Hunting box set is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

The Salisbury Poisonings

A drama that seemed eerily well timed for a world dealing with an unprecedented health crisis, The Salisbury Poisonings made it onto the Guardian's 50 best TV shows of 2020 list. The four-part series is based on the incredible true story of an assassination attempt on double agent and spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which sent shockwaves through a small community and set off a national emergency. 

The Salisbury Poisonings is streaming now at SBS On Demand

 

 

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