Watching genre TV in Australia has been a painful process over the last few years. If you want to stay above the line of the law, it’s involved a patchwork quilt of cable subscription, VPN streaming, US iTunes and recently launched streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Presto.
The 2015/2016 season brings with it some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that it will still involve shopping around a little bit. The good news (actually, the great news) is that almost all of them will be hitting our shores day and date with the US, meaning there’s very little reason to resort to that ‘other’ method of acquiring content.
The Walking Dead – Season 6
Unsurprisingly, the AMC show will once again make its way to Foxtel’s FX channel in October. They have been there from the beginning, including the spin-off series Fear The Walking Dead, and the relationship appears to be a fruitful one for all parties involved. If you can’t wait until October 12, GRAPHIC festival in Sydney is showing the pilot a day earlier at the Sydney Opera House. We really got lucky this year. You can also get it in Australian iTunes the day after it first broadcasts, with a “Season Pass” in HD for $49.95.
The Flash – Season 2
WHEN: 7 October 2015 (Wed) WHERE: Fox8 (Foxtel)
The success of last year’s incredible season made this one a no-brainer, and Fox isn’t going to leave us on a Multiversal cliffhanger. On Fox8 in standard and HD versions, with plenty of replay access possible through delayed channels, IQ recording and the FoxtelGO app. Richard plans to watch THE FLASH on his treadmill for the irony.
Arrow – Season 4
WHEN: 8 October 2015 (Thu) WHERE: Fox8 (Foxtel)
The season that Arrow becomes Green Arrow! And Constantine comes back! For the first time in Australia, we are getting the show that started DC’s modern television franchise day-and-date with the country of origin. Just like the CW in the US, it will be on the night after. Foxtel is currently caning its way through Season 3 to catch everybody us, but if you have Netflix then all three previous seasons are now available to binge. Squee! (You may have figured out that we’re big Green Arrow fans around these parts).
Supergirl – Season 1
WHEN: 6 December 2015 WHERE: Fox8 (Foxtel)
Foxtel have the exclusive Australian rights to this, but the release date is a little confusing. The official website says 6 December, which is well after the 26 October debut in the US. However, the promo (below) says we can “watch it with the world.” So maybe there will be an initial delay, like the first few episodes of THE FLASH last year, before season and mid-year breaks catch us up.
Legends of Tomorrow – Season 1
WHEN: TBA January 2016 WHERE: Fox8 (Foxtel)
This new series, featuring characters from ARROW and THE FLASH, has yet to received a release date. However, it is debuting in the US in January 2016, so just adjust your time zones accordingly to calculate our release date when it is announced. It’s on, you guessed it, Fox8 again. All of the DC shows that aren’t GOTHAM will make their way there. In fact, there’s an incredibly stylish promo advertising all four of them being fast-tracked just above this, although see SUPERGIRL as to why this may not be the case.
iZOMBIE – Season 2
WHEN: 7 October 2015 (Wed) WHERE: Stan (Streaming)
The most delightful debut of 2014 comes back as an exclusive to streaming service Stan. The first season is now streaming on Stan, with the second season promised to be released day-and-date with the US as it becomes available. This is excellent news for fans of this quirky comic book adaptation with a difference. Just like us.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 3
WHEN: 14 October 2015 (Wed) WHERE: Fox8 (Foxtel)
Another shows moves from free-to-air to pay TV, which is just as well given how irregularly Channel 7 played it last year. Per TVTonight: “Season Three will premiere at 8.30pm Wednesday October 14 on FOX8, two weeks after its US debut.” However, Fox8 did the same with THE FLASH, and it caught up to be day-and-date within three or four episodes due to breaks in the US.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Season 1
WHEN: 20 November WHERE: Netflix (Streaming)
Netflix will release the next series, based on the comic book Alias, as a complete set for binging on 20 November for everyone that has access to Netflix. Like you, because the first month is free so there’s no excuse to not watch this. We can’t wait.
Gotham – Season 2
WHEN: TBA WHERE: TBA
Channel 9 treated this one abysmally last year, even though US ratings were high. The lack of an Australian release date is perhaps indicative of its standing.
If you want the most bang for your buck, Foxtel still seems like the way to go. THE WALKING DEAD, ARROW, THE FLASH, and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW at about the same time as the US, with MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. undoubtedly going to even out and do the same as US season breaks catch us up. SUPERGIRL is currently a bit of a wait, but hopefully that will be remedied shortly. Fox8 is part of the most basic Foxtel packages as well, so it’s probably the most economical way to get six of the big superhero shows in one fell swoop. FX is not part of the basic package, so weigh up which services are most important to you.
Yes, it does mean that there are fewer shows on free-to-air, and for the budget conscious viewer this isn’t all great news. It also means having to pony up for some subscription services, but we’re just grateful that the majority of these shows will be screening on Australia television in HD at the same time as the US. Support them, and it might just happen every year!