ABC has unveiled a slate of kids’ programming focused on Australian children, headlined by The New Legends of Monkey, premiering in 2018.
The New Legends of Monkey will debut on ABC ME next year. Inspired by the 16th-century Chinese fable Journey to the West, the ten-part series follows a teenage girl and a trio of fallen gods on a perilous quest as they attempt to bring an end to a demonic reign of chaos and restore balance to their world.
The series What It’s Like will continue in 2018, providing a story-sharing platform for young people from groups that have previously been deprived of an equal space in the media landscape. The show embraces diversity, inspires empathy and encourages young marginalized voices to speak up.
Additionally, the award-winning drama Nowhere Boys returns to production for its fourth and final season. In another home-grown production, Grace Beside Me, the audience meets Fuzzy Mac, a 13-year-old girl who struggles with having one foot in the Indigenous realm of culture and the other firmly planted in the world of a 21st-century teenager.
Everyday Australian schoolkids are the stars of My Year 7 Life. Through a series of video diaries, these 10- and 11-year-olds share firsthand accounts of the changes impacting their lives as they make the transition from primary school to high school. Teenage Boss, meanwhile, follows teenagers from different backgrounds across Australia as they take control of the family finances for a month, with some surprising results.
Australian stories are also at the core of ABC’s preschool offering, and several new Australian animation series are already underway. These include Bluey, about a 6-year-old cattle dog whose imagination turns ordinary moments into wild adventures; Strange Chores, a paranormal comedy about friendship and imagination; and Spongo, Fuzz and Jalapeña, centered on three best friends in a town full of crazy contests and a friendship that breaks all the rules.
“Children are curious, they want to see their lives reflected on screen, and they want to laugh out loud,” said Michael Carrington, the head of children’s at ABC. “We have an incredible portfolio of new programs lined up for them. We want to showcase the lives of Australian kids and their stories on their ABC and we’re thrilled to be offering them inclusive content that is compelling, funny and true to our distinct Australian culture.”