When we asked you to be your guest here to be guest curator, how did you make your choices?
When I was asked to be guest curator of SBS On Demand, I was like, Let me at it! I watch SBS On Demand more than any other streaming service by an absolute mile. And every time I look at the there, I cannot believe this is free because it's just the most amazing line up of film and TV and everything from, well, movies, as we all know, from SBS through to local productions that are really extraordinary quality. It's just a great service, and there's so many hidden gems in there that if you spend the time to actually go through and find they they, they pay off tenfold.
I kind of just went through the list of what I've been watching recently, and then I saw that a few films that I'd seen in the past had come back on to the service. I rewatched a couple of others and there's just, I guess I have pretty eclectic tastes and that's that's why I like SBS On Demand. Because there's always something to satisfy any particular itch you might be looking to scratch.
The Longest Day in Chang'an
The Longest Day in Chang'an is basically 24, but set in ancient China. It's a lot of fun. It's an action series. The episodes are kind of short, but also they can be long; one thing I really like about it is that the episodes aren't all the same length. If there's enough story to tell, they keep telling it. There's a lot of restrictions in Chinese domestic content around what you can and can't show on television, and so that's why you see so many period pieces come out of China.
24 was a very technology-driven thing, where there was always kind of a surveillance way to check that or you can locate somebody's phone. And the fun thing about Longest Day in Chang'an is that they still have all those technological elements, but almost in like a slightly steampunk way, where they use flag systems to communicate instead of mobile phones and have people looking out over the city, attracting people as they would, you know, if they had geolocation. So it's a really fun, political intrigue/adventure story. It's very, very cool.
Stream the 2-season box set at SBS On Demand
Going Places With Ernie Dingo
Going Places With Ernie Dingo is such a great series, and it just keeps getting better and better. I think in a time during COVID and now later-stage COVID, where we have not been able to go overseas, watching Ernie, such a fabulous presenter, take you around Australia and into places you might not have been before and explore our own country in a way that most of us haven't seen before, is just a lovely series to experience.
Seasons 1 - 4 of Going Places With Ernie Dingo are now streaming at SBS On Demand, including versions with subtitles for Arabic, Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Hindi speakers.
New Gold Mountain
As a Chinese Australian, I always love to see Chinese-Australian stories told and New Gold Mountain is such a great example of that. You know, it's the story about the gold rush looked at from a different perspective. I've been working on a documentary on Chinese-Australian history recently, and the importance of telling history, even in a fictional context from different perspectives, is so, so important because there's never one account of one thing that happened. Aside from that, it's just a really great story. It's really well-made, really well told. I watched it as it was released in real time, so I didn't get a chance to binge the whole thing at once. But it’s very rare that in this age of streaming, to sit there looking forward to a series coming out. And just that's the feeling that I had with New Gold Mountain, and it's not something that I've had in a long time. So it's just a great story really well told, and it was something that I looked forward to, week after week.
All episodes of New Gold Mountain are available to stream, including versions with subtitles for Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese speakers.
Zero Zero Zero
Can you call it underrated? I think it was very, very popular, but it's not the kind of series that you hear a lot of people talking about around the water cooler at the office, for example. But it has an all-star cast, it’s an extremely, extremely high quality international story of intrigue and drama and action. I'm just surprised that we don't hear more about it. Maybe we do. Maybe I'm moving in the wrong circles, but certainly that's up there with one of my all time series.
All episodes of ZeroZeroZero are streaming at SBS On Demand
I think when you watch something like The Bureau, you get through a season and you feel like you can speak French, even though you can't. And then you turn the subtitles off and you go: ‘Actually, I cannot speak French’. It's a spy action thriller, but also a really strong human drama, I would say. But you've probably heard of The Bureau before. It's a global blockbuster. I think if you need an excuse to watch it, finally, after you've heard from everybody that you should be watching it. This is just my cue to you to say, get off the fence and get into it because it is really a fabulous series.
Every episode ever of The Bureau is streaming as a bingeable 5-season box set
An Old Lady
I don't know what it is about Korean drama and cinema. You know, I lived in Japan for a very long time and Korean dramas are enormous across all of Asia. There is something about what Korean cinema and drama - we saw it with Parasite as well - can do in terms of telling a complicated and often very difficult story that addresses complicated and often difficult subject matter. But telling it really sympathetically and artistically and not exploitatively. And An Old Lady is, I guess, it's a very difficult story. It's a very sad story of sexual assault and elder abuse, and it may not be the kind of film that you go, ‘This is for me, this is what I want to sit down in front of it with a glass of wine and a bit of cheese and watch’. But I love the way that Korean cinema can approach topics like this and really do them justice. So yeah, it's not exactly a laugh a minute, but give it a look: An Old Lady.
An Old Lady is now streaming
The Young Master
One of my favourite things to watch, particularly with my kids, are a lot of the shows that I watched when I was young and I grew up exclusively on Cantonese Kung Fu movies, of which The Young Master was one of my favourites. So this is kind of an all encompassing choice this one. This is Jackie Chan at his youngest and best, you know? But also, it could easily apply to any of the other Jackie Chan films that are there, or even the more recent films if you're looking for something a little bit more modern than something that was made in 1980. But I love the old Kung Fu movies, and my kids now love them too, because I forced them to watch them.
The Young Master is now streaming
If Beale Street Could Talk
I think it captures a mood extremely well. It's a love story, but also set against \ a structural injustice that a lot of people experience. Maybe not as acutely as it is in the movie, but generally in life, through history and obviously even through today as well. I love the soundscape of it. I loved the way it looks. I love the way it feels. It's a really immersive film. I think it's one if you want to again, not particularly feel good, but it's just a lovely, immersive experience. I love this movie.
If Beale Street Could Talk is now streaming
New episodes of The Cook Up with Adam Liaw premiere weeknights on SBS Food and On Demand from 7.00pm. Catch all past episodes in an evolving box set at SBS On Demand and find accompanying recipes and program guides at SBS Food.