Stephen Curry, Jacqueline McKenzie and Steve Toussaint in ‘Pine Gap.’

October looms as a blue-ribbon month for Australian high-end drama with the premieres of Pine Gap and Fighting Season.

Screentime’s 6-part thriller set at the US/Australian defence base in the Northern Territory will debut with a double episode on the ABC at 8.30 pm on Sunday October 14, with all episodes available to binge immediately after on ABC iview.

Goalpost Pictures’ 6-part drama about Australian soldiers returning from Afghanistan will launch on Foxtel’s showcase and on Foxtel Now at 8.30 pm on Sunday October 28.

Created and written by Greg Haddrick and Felicity Packard and directed by Mat King, Pine Gap examines the often turbulent relationships between the Australian and US intelligence analysts working at the base.

With China encroaching, placing decades of stability under threat, the issues of trust, betrayal, love and loyalty all come into question. A shocking secret revealed will push the world to the brink of war.

The cast includes Parker Sawyers, Jacqueline McKenzie, Tess Haubrich, Stephen Curry, Steve Toussaint, Mark Leonard Winter, Sachin Joab, Kelton Pell, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jason Chong, Madeleine Madden and Simone Kessell.

The US-born, UK-based Sawyers plays Gus Thompson, the US mission director who questions where his allegiance lies when he begins a romance with Jasmina Delic (Haubrich), the Australian communications intelligence team leader.

Toussaint, a Brit of Barbadian descent, plays Ethan James, chief of the facility. McKenzie is the deputy chief with Kessell as Ethan’s wife, Curry as the mission director, Fitz-Gerald as the chief of intelligence operations, Chong as an executive for a State-owned Chinese mining company and Madden as an activist law student.

Netflix co-commissioned Pine Gap, which was produced by Lisa Scott and Packard and co-financed by the SAFC and Screen Territory.

Directed by Kate Woods and Ben C Lucas, Fighting Season stars Jay Ryan, Ewen Leslie, Kate Mulvany, George Pullar, Marco Alosio, Julian Maroun, Paul De Gelder, Sarah Armanious, Sabryna Walter and Jay Laga’aia.

Set in 2010, the plot follows a platoon of soldiers who are recalled from Afghanistan after the death in combat of their captain Ted Nordenfelt (Leslie), a mission marred by mistakes. They arrive to a near empty airport with only their families to greet them. The mystery of Nordenfelt’s death unfolds with devastating effect on the men, their loved ones and friends, testing the bonds of mateship and the Army’s culture of self-sacrifice.

Mulvany is Ted’s widow, an army engineer and captain who suspects a cover-up. Ryan plays Sgt Speedo Collins, a father of two who has undiagnosed PTSD and is the only one who knows how the captain died.

Blake Ayshford wrote three episodes and Belinda Chayko, Kylie Needham and Tommy Murphy each wrote one.

The producers are Kylie du Fresne, Elisa Argenzio and Ayshford. Fighting Season had development and production investment from Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

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