While streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ have all swept in over the past few years to take up Aussies’ collective eyeballs, it’s taken a bit longer for all the streamers to invest in our local content. Disney changed that this morning with its announcement that nine new original series are being made right here in Australia for Disney+.
From sports documentaries to a new drama series about Australia’s most famous cult, let’s break down all the exciting new Aussie titles coming to Disney+ soon.
What new Australian titles are coming to Disney+?
Australian Original Documentary series on Disney+
Matildas: The World At Our Feet
Australia’s favourite soccer team, the Matildas, are in the spotlight for this new Disney+ docuseries.
Following the team on the road to the World Cup in 2023, the series will feature the Matildas players, including Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter and Mary Fowler, in star roles and give a behind-the-scenes look at their journeys.
Some of the topics that will be addressed include equal pay, sisterhood, the weight of expectation and the never say die spirit of these footballers.
Here’s the synopsis from Disney:
Matildas: The World at Our Feet is a docu-series going behind the scenes of the popular Australian national sporting team, the Matildas, and tracks the rise of women’s sport through incredible and immersive storytelling. Cameras have been following the Matildas as they prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on home soil alongside co-host New Zealand, with the story starting in the lead up to the first match of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The six-part docu-series chronicles the highs and lows as well as the extraordinary teamwork, trust and spirit required — as the squad looks to create history and leave an unrivalled legacy for the sport in Australia and abroad.
Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW
The Matildas aren’t the only female sports teams Australia has to be proud of and Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW is going to highlight more of them — this time in the world of women’s AFL.
Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW is a world-first look at the AFL Women’s Competition (AFLW) and the powerhouse movement it has become for women in sport. The six-part series spotlights four clubs: Adelaide Crows, Collingwood, GWS GIANTS, and Western Bulldogs. This inspiring series is about more than football. With the AFLW at the forefront of celebrating diversity and inclusion and redefining gender norms, the series will explore the journey, sacrifice and history in the making, as the trailblazing women of the AFLW pave the way in professional sport and help change the sporting and cultural psyche of Australia.
Shipwreck Hunters Australia
Shipwreck Hunters speaks for itself really. The six-episode docuseries is centred around a skilled team of divers and filmmakers who delve into some of the most spectacular and remote places on the ocean floor.
This Disney+ series takes place on Australia’s Treasure Coast and features some world-first discoveries. Here’s what else to expect from Shipwreck Hunters:
Shipwreck Hunters Australia is a six-episode docu-series centred around a group of highly-skilled divers and underwater filmmakers — Captain Ash Sutton, Andre Rerekura, Nush Freedman, Johnny Debnam and Ryan Chatfield — along with expert maritime archaeologists from the Western Australian Museum, Dr Ross Anderson and Dr Deb Shefi.
In each episode the team embark on an expedition to a remote location off the vast coast of Western Australia to uncover long-lost shipwreck secrets and make some world-first discoveries! Combining new evidence, archival research and all-out adventure Shipwreck Hunters Australia is a vibrant journey into the mysterious past led by modern-day ocean explorers.
It’s no secret we love surfing in Australia and Chasing Waves is bringing our passionate love of the sport to Disney+.
Chasing Waves is an eight-episode docu-series exploring the unique and wonderful surf culture in Japan, highlighting the dramatic push and pull between convention and innovation. By chronicling the lives of both the trendsetters and the traditionalists, the series paints a captivating holistic picture of the global surf industry — from Australian-Japanese surfer, Connor O’Leary to freestyle surfers, Olympic hopefuls and business people trying to make their mark.
Australian Original Scripted Drama Series on Disney+
Pushing into the drama side of things, Disney+ has some truly exciting originals coming for Australia. One of which is about Australia’s infamous cult, the Family.
Starring Teresa Palmer as a cult survivor and Miranda Otto as notorious leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne, the series will explore one of the rare female cult leaders in history. Guy Pearce, Hazem Shammas, Mark Coles-Smith, Tom Budge, Erroll Shand and Lily La Torre also star.
The Clearing is an Event Series adapted for screen, based on J.P. Pomare’s novel In the Clearing and inspired by the real-life Australian cult The Family and its founder Anne Hamilton-Byrne, one of the rare female cult leaders in history. In this eight-part psychological thriller, a woman is forced to confront the nightmares of her past to stop a secret cult intent on gathering children to fulfil its master plan.
The Clearing is created and written by Matt Cameron and Elise McCredie and directed by Jeffrey Walker and Gracie Otto.
The Artful Dodger
A sequel to Oliver Twist? It’s true! The Artful Dodger is a high-octane heist series featuring Charles Dickens’ famous prince of thieves 10 years after the events of Oliver Twist.
The Artful Dodger is an international premium character drama set in 1850s Australia. It is a well-known and much-loved story, with a twist. Across eight episodes, the scripted series explores the adult double life of Charles Dickens’ famous prince of thieves — Dodger — now a surgeon, but who can’t shake his predilection for crime.
The inspiration for two of his most famous characters, Fagin and Jack Dawkins aka The Artful Dodger, were transported to Australia for their crimes. The series takes place 15 years on from the events of Oliver Twist and is set in the frontier colonies of 1850s Australia. From high-octane heists to life-and-death surgeries, glittering parties to colourful streets, this series is a rock’n’roll tale about the double life of Dickens’ most famous prince of thieves with an Aussie connection.
The Artful Dodger is created and produced by David Maher, David Taylor and James McNamara with Jeffrey Walker directing.
Last Days of the Space Age
It’s easy to forget that Australia was a big part of the Space Race back in the day, but we were. Last Days of the Space Age will explore the late 1970s when Perth was the centre of attention as the host of the Miss Universe pageant and became home to a crashed US space station.
Jesse Spencer, Radha Mitchell, Deborah Mailman and Linh-Dan Pham star.
Last Days of the Space Age is an eight-part dramedy series set in 1979 Western Australia, when Perth was at the centre of the world’s headlines. A power strike threatens to plunge the region into darkness, while the city hosts the iconic Miss Universe pageant and the US space station, Skylab, crashes just beyond the city’s suburbs. Against this backdrop of international cultural and political shifts, three families in a tight-knit coastal community find their marriages, friendships, and futures put to the test.
The series is created and written by David Chidlow and directed by Bharat Nalluri.
Australian Original Lifestyle and Factual Titles on Disney+
Donna Hay Christmas
The legend of cookbooks in Aussie kitchens everywhere, Donna Hay is coming to Disney+ with a Christmas (!) special.
Donna Hay Christmas is a four-episode series produced and hosted by Australia’s food and lifestyle icon, Donna Hay. Bringing to life stunning but simple recipes for the perfect entertaining and feasting, plus special styling moments for a truly magical Australian Christmas. With Benjamin Jones directing, the best-selling author, homewares entrepreneur and food stylist serves up a mouth-watering, quintessential Australian Christmas menu. The series will showcase Donna’s Christmas with the breathtaking Australian backdrop of beautiful Avalon Beach and its picturesque surrounds on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
What’s Your Toy Story?
Rove McManus has been an icon of television in Australia for years and now he’s taking his talents to Disney+ in a new lifestyle series titled What’s Your Toy Story?.
The eight-episode series will pit teams of kids and adults against each other in a competition to bring their most creative toy stories to life. The series will play out on an epic Pixar-inspired set that embraces everything we love about Toy Story. Where do I sign up?
What’s Your Toy Story? is an eight-episode factual series being developed with Australia’s own Rove McManus. The new original competition format series will see teams of kids and grown-ups show off their skills at creativity, innovation and storytelling as they bring their own toy stories to life. It will boast an epic, Pixar-inspired set and embrace everything the world loves about this iconic franchise.
The first of these originals will arrive later in 2022 with the rest expected to hit screens in 2023. Disney said there’s a lot more on the way in terms of Australian original content, so watch this space!