Netflix Is Turning 'The Survivors' by 'The Dry' Author Jane Harper Into a Crime-Thriller Streaming Series

The streaming platform has announced four new Australian projects, including an outback succession tale called 'Desert King'.
Sarah Ward
August 21, 2023

2023 marks a mere five years since Netflix released its first-ever Australian original series, with Tidelands hitting the streaming service three years after it officially launched Down Under. That supernatural drama didn't usher in a non-stop influx of new Aussie content. While older local titles sit among the platform's catalogue, freshly commissioned fare such as Heartbreak High and Wellmania is still fairly rare. But Netflix's small pool of homegrown Australian projects has locked in a few more additions, with four just-announced newcomers on their way.

The novel-to-screen adaptation of Boy Swallows Universe is also in the works, but that was initially revealed almost 18 months back. Following it to your queue will be another book-to-TV effort, an outback family-feud tale and two movies — one starring Delta Goodrem and the other a documentary about ONEFOUR.

First, your future binges: The Survivors and Desert King (although they're just working titles, so those monikers might change). The first is heading to Netflix from the pages of Jane Harper's text of the same name, while the second sounds like it wants to give Succession-meets-Yellowstone a Top End spin. Neither have casts as yet, or release dates.

Force of Nature, Narelle Portanier

Yes, Australia's screen industry currently loves bringing Harper's works to the screen. The Dry proved a massive smash, after all, and that flick's sequel Force of Nature will hit cinemas when Hollywood's actors' strike is over. The Survivors isn't linked to either movie by anything but author, so there's no Aaron Falk this time. Instead, the Tasmanian-set story follows families still coping with the loss caused by a massive storm in their seaside town 15 years earlier, then faced with a new murder.

As for Desert King, it will be set on the world's largest cattle station, which the Lawson family runs. When the property is left without a firm successor, the fights start — and everyone from billionaire miners and desert gangsters to Indigenous elders and other cattle barons get involved. Netflix will get bonus points from audiences if they manage to get Sarah Snook to star.

Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

With the streamer's upcoming Aussie movies, Goodrem has been born to give her acting chops another try, this time in a romance called Love Is in the Air. There's no word on whether the film will feature Delta singing John Paul Young's Aussie song of the same name, which first released in the 70s and became a hit again in the 90s thanks to Strictly Ballroom. What is known, however, is that the flick is about a seaplane pilot who falls for the man who's meant to be tanking her business — and that it'll be filmed in the Whitsundays.

ONEFOUR: Against All Odds will tell its namesake's story, including the drill rap group's huge popularity and the police taskforce attempting to stop them performing.

"The story of ONEFOUR is one of the most significant cultural moments in recent Australian history. It's about the changing face of this country and who gets to have a voice in it," said writer/director Gabriel Gasparinatos.

"Australia markets this sunkissed image of itself and it's so important to show it's not all like that, and that there is another side to this country the world is only just starting to see. I'm so grateful to ONEFOUR for trusting us with their story and to Netflix for bringing it to the global audience it deserves."

Announced previously, Netflix is also making a second season of its Heartbreak High revival, as well as Surviving Summer. The former is due in 2024 and the latter this September.

And, for kids, Eddie's Lil Homies is on its way, based on childrens' books by former AFL superstar Eddie Betts, and following an eight-year-old Eddie and his friends.

Netflix's just-announced new Australian projects don't yet have release dates — we'll update you when more information is announced.

Top image: The Dry.

Published on August 21, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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