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Nine Brand New Local Shows Are Coming To Disney+ Including One About An Infamous Aussie Cult

Start doing your glute stretches now ‘cos a load of new Aussie content is coming to Disney+. Whether you’re interested in AFLW, shipwrecks or actual cults, there’s a lil slice of content for everyone.

Disney’s announced nine new Aussie shows, ranging from docos to comedies to dramas.

One of the most interesting titles on there is The Clearing. For true crime nerds, it’ll be based on an infamous Australian cult called The Family which operated in country Victoria from the 1960s to the 80s.

It was founded by Anne Hamilton-Byrne, who died in 2019. She was a yoga teacher who made members of the cult worship her as a reincarnation of Jesus.

The antics of the cult were fucking wild. Reports include it stealing babies and beating, starving, drugging with LSD and dyeing the hair of children in the cult, per The Guardian. Absolutely heinous stuff.

The series will be adapted from a novel called In The Clearing by J.P. Pomare.

According to Disney the show will be an eight-part fictionalised psychological thriller where “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”.

It’ll star Aussie actress Teresa Palmer in the lead role of a former cult member while Miranda Otto will play Hamilton-Byrne, per The Sydney Morning Herald. The cast also includes Guy Pearce in a leading role.

Producer Jude Troy told the SMH that it was “such a dark backstory”.

“I’ve always been intrigued about how a commune becomes a cult, how that power, that narcissism, corrupts,” he said.

“But there is a story of redemption, of hope, that we wanted to tell as well.”

Colour me intrigued.

Other biggies in the Disney+ line-up include docu-series on both the AFLW and the Matildas, which we love to fkn see.

Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW will focus on four clubs: Adelaide Crows, Collingwood, GWS Giants, and Western Bulldogs.

According to Disney, the series is about “more than football”. Oooh.

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“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,” it said.

It’ll follow AFLW players as they “help change the sporting and cultural psyche of Australia”.

In Matildas: The World at Our Feet Disney+ will track the Matildas’ prep for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

“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,” the company said.

Also in the doco selection is Shipwreck Hunters Australia and immediately yes. Right up my fkn alley.

In each ep, a group of divers and underwater filmmakers will join Western Australian Museum maritime archaeologists. They’ll explore remote locations off WA’s coast and TBH I’m hopeful they’ll find our very own Atlantis.

Other highlights include Chasing Waves, a doco about Japan’s surfing culture (very cool) and The Artful Dodger, a sequel to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. One for everyone who was weirdly attached to their English teacher in high school.

There’s also dramedy Last Days of the Space Age. It’s set in Western Australia during 1978 so I already have high expectations for the costumes.

The show will follow a wild few days where a power strike threatened to “plunge the region into darkness” while a US space station called Skylab crashed just outside Perth and the city was hosting the Miss Universe pageant. Big times for Perth.

Then in terms of lifestyle programs, Rove McManus and Donna Hay are getting their own Disney+ shows. Rove is hosting What’s Your Toy Story, a competition based on Pixar’s Toy Story films. Donna will have an absolutely classic Christmas series which you can watch to get immediately hungry.

Disney’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Kylie Watson Wheeler said the company is making a “significant investment” into the region. We can also expect to see New Zealand originals too.

I for one cannot wait to sit on my couch and not get up until 2024.

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