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11 International Shows To Watch on Showmax in September

Pick a new international fave for the Spring

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Based on her performance and screenwriting for Chewing Gum, Michaela Coel is definitely a beast and we stan. While she broke hearts when she confirmed that she won’t be writing a third season for the British dramedy, we are thrilled to know she’s delivered yet another critically lauded TV drama.

I May Destroy You explores the questions of sexual consent in contemporary life. In the framework of modern relationships and dating, how are the lines between being liberated and being exploited detailed?

I Might Destroy You 2

The British drama is one in a slew of international titles we are keen to explore on Showmax right now. The fact that it boasts a critics rating of 97% is all the more reason we can’t wait to binge on this one, and of course, deliver the TV Show Review for the culture soon after.

Lovecraft Country is just as enticing.  Jonathan Majors left us soaked in tears with his stellar portrayal of ‘Mont Allen’ on 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco. He’s getting even more recognition as ‘Atticus’ on Lovecraft Country, another critical success that is now available for streaming on the platform.

Here’s a list of 11 International Series To Stream On Showmax in September: 

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY S1 | Eps 1-4 on 8 September, eps 5-8 on 6 October, eps 9-10 on 20 October

In the 1950s, Atticus Black, a young African-American, sets out on a road trip with his friend and uncle to find his missing father. This catapults the three into a struggle for survival against the dual terrors of Jim Crow-era America and terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a paperback written by pulpy horror author HP Lovecraft.

Based on the cult novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is a collaboration between Misha Green (creator of Underground, named Best New Cable/New Media Show of 2016 by the African-American Film Critics Association) and Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out), executive produced by JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost, Super 8, Westworld).

The fantastic cast includes Black Reel nominee Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San FranciscoDa 5 Bloods), Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of PreyFriday Night Lights), four-time Emmy nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of), Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order), BAFTA winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, The End of the F*ing WorldFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Neon Demon).

Lovecraft Country has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is #3 on IMDb’s Most Popular TV chart. As Newsday put it, “To call Lovecraft Country ‘wildly original’ seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.”

RAMY S2 | Binge now, first on Showmax

Ramy stars 2020 Golden Globe winner and stand-up comedian Ramy Youssef as Ramy Hassan, a first generation Egyptian-American millennial in suburban New Jersey grappling with how to be a good Muslim in the Tinder era.

Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (MoonlightTrue Detective) joins the cast this season as Sheikh Malik, while Hiam Abbass (SuccessionBlade Runner 2049) returns as his mother.

The show is up for three Emmys this month – Best Actor in a Comedy and Best Director for creator Youssef, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Ali.

Recently renewed for a third season by Hulu, Ramy won the Audience Award at SXSW 2019 and a Peabody Award in 2020, where the jurors praised the series as a “touching, thoughtful, and very funny sitcom… The ground-breaking series is masterful in its weaponization of the tension between faith and secularism, East and West, and men and women.”

Youssef has also been nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor in a Comedy and a Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy this year, while Ali is up for a Black Reel award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.

S2 is currently at #24 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the Best TV of 2020 So Far, with a 97% critics rating. As Rolling Stone put it, “There is no other show quite like Ramy, because there is no other character quite like Ramy… Superb.”

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND S2: THE STORY OF A NEW NAME | Binge now

Set in Naples and based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novels, My Brilliant Friend is the story of a life-long friendship spanning 60 years. Season 2, based on the second novel in Ferrante’s series, sees Lila (Gaia Girace) stuck in a brutal marriage to the wealthy Stefano Caracci (Giovanni Amura), while Elena dallies with suitor Antonio Cappuccio (Christian Giroso) and her growing attraction to the magnetic Nino Sarratore (Francesco Serpico).

My Brilliant Friend, helmed by multi-award-winning Italian directors Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) and Alice Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazaro), has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is at 236 on IMDb’s list of the top-rated TV of all time, where it has a score of 8.6/10. The series was recently renewed for a third season.

The Hollywood Reporter included it in their roundup of the 10 Best Shows of 2020 So Far, saying the series “portrays post-war young-womanhood in all its victories, devastations and frailties. This season’s story, told with seemingly no expense spared, is where the girls’ paths start to truly diverge, as one pursues dreams beyond their impoverished neighbourhood and the other finds herself irretrievably chained to it.”

Season 1 won Best Drama Series at Monte-Carlo TV Festival 2019 and an Italian Golden Globe for Best Breakthrough Actress for Ludovica Nasti as Lila. The series was also nominated for 2019 Critics Choice, Peabody and Shanghai International TV Festival awards.

9-1-1: LONE STAR S1 Binge now

This spinoff of the hugely popular first responder drama 9-1-1 stars multiple Golden Globe nominee Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation) as a New York firefighter who relocates to Austin, Texas, where he’s tasked with putting together an entirely new squad following a tragedy. The cast includes Teen Choice nominees Liv Tyler (HarlotsLord of the Rings) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Desperate HousewivesNikitaKick-Ass).

9-1-1: Lonestar was one of the ten most-streamed shows on DStv Now in the first half of 2020, and the highest-rated new series of the year for its parent network, FOX, which recently announced its renewal for a second season.

As Rotten Tomatoes says, 9-1-1: Lone Star “packs an entertaining punch and is a great showcase for the handsomely self-aware Rob Lowe.”

PERRY MASON S1 | Tuesdays at 23:00, same day as M-Net. Binge from 15 September

It’s 1932, and despite the Great Depression, LA is booming. But when the kidnapping case of the decade comes knocking on down-and-out detective Perry Mason’s door, his relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and, just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.

HBO’s biggest debut in nearly two years, Perry Mason reboots the award-winning 1950s-60s series based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s detective stories. Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Rhys (The Americans) is Perry Mason. Tatiana Maslany, herself an Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee for her leading role in Orphan Black, and Oscar nominee John Lithgow (The Crown3rd Rock from the Sun) co-star.

Indiewire hailed Perry Mason as “one of the most beautiful series ever made… One of the best I’ve ever seen. Really.”

WE’RE HERE | Binge from 18 September

This 2020 Emmy-nominated drag reality show from HBO has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The six-part series sees renowned drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley inspire small-town residents from across America to step outside their comfort zones for a night of no-holds-barred, full-on drag – and a life-changing journey of self-discovery. Sometimes all it takes is a little love – and “a lotta werk” – to take someone from who they are to what they can be.

AV Club describes the show as “a charming and engaging reality series… well worth watching,” while Salon.com notes that, “on a deeper level, it’s a show about loving – truly loving – your neighbour.”

HBO has already renewed We’re Here for a second season.

LAZOR WULF S1 | Binge from 18 September, first on Showmax

He’s a wolf. With a laser on his back. And he’s the coolest thing in Strongburg.

Created by Henry Bonsu, Lazor Wulf, Adult Swim’s latest series, is an acid vision of modern life and friendship, voiced by a predominantly black cast including rapper Vince Staples, comedian Quinta Brunson from A Black Lady Sketch Show, and WWE wrestler Ettore ‘Big E’ Ewen, with Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard) as the voice of God.

LA Times describes the show as “African American, retro, futuristic and strange… relaxed, but at the same time packed with tension.”

WORLD ON FIRE S1 | Thursdays at 23:30 from 24 September, same day as M-Net

Set in 1939, on the eve of the German invasion of Poland, World on Fire follows the interwoven stories of ordinary people caught up in catastrophic global events beyond their control.

The critically acclaimed World War II drama has an 84% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has already been renewed for a second season.

The impressive cast includes BAFTA winner Sean Bean (Game of ThronesLord of the Rings), Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It GetsMad About You), Oscar and BAFTA nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Harlots), and Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women) who’s set to star as Prince Eric in the upcoming Disney live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

“It’s hard to recall any dramatic work that captured the terror of this invasion with such immediacy,” says Wall Street Journal.

 BBC hailed it as a “must-watch”, with Scott Bryan calling it “deeply haunting… a remarkable form of storytelling; from different sides, different locations, people from different classes, sexualities…”, and Hayley Campbell praising its depiction of “war, on a personal level… focusing on civilians rather than soldiers; this huge global thing shrunk right down.”

LOVE ISLAND UK S6 – THE CAPE TOWN EDITION 5 eps every Saturday. Binge from 26 September

For South African fans dying to see the latest season of the BAFTA-winning reality show Love Island UK, the long wait is finally over. And it’s all the more delicious because this is the season that was filmed at a villa in Constantia, Cape Town.

Laura Whitmore of Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! fame is this season’s new host for the drama-packed reality show, where single hopefuls flirt, date, break up and make up while trying to capture the hearts of viewers, who will vote for their favourite couple to take home the £50k prize money.

BRIARPATCH S1 | Mondays at 2300, same day as M-Net. Binge from 28 September

Senator’s aide Allegra Dill (MTV Movie Awards nominee Rosario Dawson from Sin City, Luke Cage and Jane the Virgin) returns to her border-town Texas home to investigate the death of her sister – a local cop killed by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring her corrupt hometown to its knees.

Kenyan Teen Choice nominee Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class) and Golden Globe nominee Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) co-star in this latest offering from Emmy nominated writer/producer Sam Esmail (Mr. RobotHomecoming), based on the Edgar-winning crime novel by Ross Thomas.

Briarpatch has a 78% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Hollywood Reporter saying, “Anchored by a strong Rosario Dawson performance and flavoured with wit and a real sense of place, Briarpatch is a charmer: It keeps those aspects of Mr. Robot that were most audience-friendly, and jettisons the rest.”

I MAY DESTROY YOU S1 | Wednesdays at 22:30, same day as 1Magic. Binge from 11 November

  I May Destroy You centres on Arabella (BAFTA winner Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum), a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when her drink is spiked with a date-rape drug, she must question and rebuild every element of her life.

I May Destroy You is #23 on Rotten Tomatoes Best TV of 2020 (So Far), with a 97% critics rating and a critics’ consensus that reads, “I May Destroy You is at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humour and moments of deep discomfort, all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel’s undeniable talent”.

In their five star review, The Guardian raved, “It is the drama of the year so far… Michaela Coel’s exploration of consent, race and millennial life… works on every level… An extraordinary, breath-taking achievement without a false note in it, shot through with humour and with ideas, talent and character to burn at every perfectly plotted turn.”

Including it in their roundup of the 10 Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far, The Hollywood Reporter called it, “The most ‘2020’ show of 2020”, adding that it’s “representative of the mood of the moment – the combination of anger, confusion, uncertainty and unexpected humour; the exploration of intersections of gender and race, sexuality and violence, youth and hard-earned experience.”

Browse The Latest Series, Movies, Reality Shows To Stream Online & Read Our Reviews, Recaps and More!

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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