One thing about Showmax; they will put some coins on producing original South African content. And the on-demand video streaming platform on Wednesday boasted about a fresh slate of new titles soon to land – and it includes their very first telenovela.
Further to the premiere of Temptation Island South Africa on Thursday, 26 August 2021, Showmax has announced fresh slate of eight more series – and three more movies – on their way, including Showmax’s first telenovela, romcom, and scripted West African Showmax Original.
“Despite strong international competition, our three most popular shows on Showmax in the first half of 2021 were all local,” says Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content. “So we’re delighted to introduce our next wave of Showmax Originals, a mix of returning favourites and groundbreaking firsts, from some of Africa’s most talented filmmakers.”
These include first seasons of the epic fantasy Blood Psalms, the telenovela The Wife, the romcom Troukoors, the comedy Ghana Jollof, the docu-series Seks in Afrikaans, the family thriller Desert Rose, and the survival horror Pulse, as well as the second season of the SAFTA-winning sitcom Black Tax, not to mention a three-film post-apocalyptic film slate, led by the critically acclaimed Glasshouse.
COMING SOON IN 2021
Showmax’s first epic fantasy: Blood Psalms
Set in ancient Africa 11 000 years ago, Blood Psalms chronicles the rise to power of a fierce teenage princess who battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, long-standing tribal vendettas and the wrath of the gods.
Show creators Layla Swart and Jahmil X.T. Qubeka from Yellowbone Entertainment were responsible for South Africa’s 2020 Oscar entry, Knuckle City. The boxing drama was the most awarded film at the 2020 SAFTAs, where it took home six awards, including Best Director for Qubeka and Best Editor for Swart, and the most nominated film at the 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs), where it won two awards.
Co-produced with CANAL+, Blood Psalms’ heavy-weight ensemble cast includes eight SAFTA winners: Bongile Mantsai (Knuckle City), Hamilton Dlamini (Five Fingers For Marseilles), Hlubi Mboya (Isidingo), Mothusi Magano (Tsotsi, Hotel Rwanda), Siv Ngesi (Knuckle City, Still Breathing), Thishiwe Ziqubu (Hard To Get), Warren Masemola (The Republic, Tjovitjo), and Zolisa Xaluva (Gomora, Knuckle City), as well as SAFTA nominees Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa (Rockville, Loving Thokoza), Niza Jay (The Wound), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word, Black Sails), Sello Maake Ka Ncube (The Herd), Thando Thabethe (Housekeepers), Thembekile Komani (Knuckle City) and Zikhona Sodlaka (DiepCity), not to mention Faith Baloyi and Thabo Rametsi, the leads in the 2019 Berlinale Panorama opener Flatland, and Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu respectively.
S2 of local sitcom Black Tax
In the laugh-out-loud BET Africa original family sitcom Black Tax, Thuli is a single mom whose hard work as a real estate agent is just starting to pay off – when she realises she’s expected to take care of not just her cousin’s child, but her parents too. They’re experiencing financial difficulties and they’re here to stay. After all, the unspoken rule is that when you’re successful, you have to pay everyone back for the support they gave you when you were growing up.
SAFTA winner Jo-Anne Reyneke (Broken Vows, Isono) stars as Thuli, with Mandla Jwara (Isithembiso) nominated for Best Actor at the 2021 SAFTAs as her father. Industry legend Clementine Mosimane, a 2020 SAFTA winner for Poppie Nongena and 2021 nominee for How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding, plays her mother, while comedians Sne Dladla and Jason Goliath also star.
Created by Meren Reddy, Joshua Rous and Luke Rous, who have 15 SAFTAs between them, Season 1 won the SAFTA for Best Scriptwriting In A TV Comedy, with four more nominations, including Best Comedy. A co-production between BET Africa and Showmax, Black Tax is being produced by Rous House Productions (Inconceivable, Elke Skewe Pot, High Rollers).
Showmax’s first telenovela: The Wife
1Magic’s The River and Mzansi Magic’s Gomora are among the top 10 shows on Showmax overall for the first half of 2021, but the African streaming service has never had a Showmax Original telenovela to call their own. Until now.
The Wife is based on Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novels Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute, and Naledi His Love, which follow the lives of the eight Zulu brothers, a formidable crime family, through the eyes of the wives they marry. The 120-episode season will be split evenly between the three books, with the first 40 episodes focusing on Hlomu, a journalist who falls in love with a taxi driver, not knowing he’s behind the cash in transit heists she’s investigating.
The Wife is being produced by Stained Glass, the company behind SAFTA-winning shows like eHostela and Uzalo, South Africa’s most-watched soap opera.
Showmax’s first romcom: Troukoors
Troukoors, the first Showmax Original romcom, is now filming.
Troukoors follows Jessica, a wedding planner who’s surrounded by love but struggling to find it for herself. Fangueiro says, “Troukoors is a light, sexy and bubbly romcom, like Younger meets The Bold Type meets Emily in Paris, but set against the splendour and romance of the Cape wedding industry.”
Troukoors is created by SAFTA winner Louis Pretorius and SAFTA nominee Albert Snyman, the creators of critically acclaimed and much loved shows like Die Boekklub, Fynskrif and Die Boland Moorde, with regular collaborator Nina Swart directing.
Showmax’s first West African comedy: Ghana Jollof
In Ghana Jollof, Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) winner Funnybone and Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) nominee Akah Nnani star as two Nigerians who move to Ghana in search of greener pastures. The comedy is currently shooting in Lagos and Accra, with AMVCA nominee Diji Aderogba (About A Boy) directing.
The all-star Nigerian cast includes multi-award-winning comedian Basketmouth, who also executive produces; comedian/actor Buchi; and Uzor Arukwe, who starred as dreaded crime boss Knight in Sugar Rush.
The equally impressive Ghanaian cast includes AMAA nominee Joselyn Dumas; heartthrobs Mawuli Gavor (Chief Daddy) and James Gardiner, who currently stars in Ghana’s popular telenovela Dede; the uncontested ‘Queen of Ghana comedy’, Jacinta Ocansey; popular reality star Portia Freelove; model and actress Brihanna Kinte; veteran actor Jackson Albert Davies (Beasts of No Nation); actress Korkor Oyeba Mensah; and multiple award-winning comedian/actor Kalybos.
COMING in 2022
Glasshouse – the first film in a three-part post-apocalyptic slate from Kelsey Egan
Showmax is developing a three-picture dystopian slate with Local Motion Pictures, in association with Crave Pictures, with Kelsey Egan directing and sharing story credits with associate producer Emma Lungiswa de Wet.
The first film in the slate, Glasshouse had its world premiere at the 25th Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Canada in August 2021, receiving multiple five star reviews and an 83% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Film Threat’s Lorry Kitka singled out Glasshouse as her “favourite film of the year so far” and Exclaim proclaimed, “Kelsey Egan is a filmmaker to keep an eye on.”
Glasshouse is set after The Shred, an airborne dementia, has left humanity roaming like lost and dangerous animals, unable to remember who they are. Confined to their airtight glasshouse, a family does what they must to survive – until the sisters are seduced by a stranger who upsets the family’s rituals, unearthing a past they have tried to bury.
Greig Buckle is producing the slate through Local Motion Pictures. Buckle was co-producer of the Oscar-shortlisted Life, Above All and line produced the #1 US box office hit Chronicle, among other high-profile service jobs in South Africa.
Eye-opening docu-series Seks in Afrikaans
In Seks in Afrikaans, four Afrikaans couples and two singles, with the help of clinical psychologist Bradley R Daniels, will speak openly for the first time about their sex lives and in the process discover there is more fun to be had!
Featuring interviews with sex workers, adult shop owners, a unicorn, swingers, dominatrixes, a crossdresser, a dungeon master, people who dress up like babies, and others who prefer full body latex suits, Seks in Afrikaans will be an eye-opening tour of what your neighbours and co-workers get up to behind closed doors..
The six-part docuseries is being produced by media personality Rian van Heerden through Provoco.
Star-studded family thriller Desert Rose
The Greyling siblings reunite at their family home in the Namaqualand desert in the Northern Cape after one of them reneges on a decade-long deal to settle the debts they took on when their father (Neil Sandilands from DAM and Sweet Tooth) abandoned them and disappeared. To get out of ruthless debt collector Eugene Van As’s crosshairs, they need to come up with the cash or find their father – before Van As and his thugs take them all down.
A thorny family thriller with a quirky heart, Desert Rose is the second Showmax Original from Quizzical Pictures (The Girl From St. Agnes, Reyka), with Cannes Palme d’Or nominee Rohan Dickson (Reyka, Husk) as the show runner and SAFTA nominee Cindy Lee (The Girl From St. Agnes) as series director.
2021 SAFTA winner Tinarie Van Wyk Loots (Gat In Die Muur, Fynskrif), Moffie lead actor Kai Luke Brummer, Amalia Uys (Ekstra Medium), and SAFTA nominee Christia Visser (Tess) co-star as the Greyling siblings, alongside the likes of SAFTA winners Brendon Daniels (Four Corners), Inge Beckmann (Stam and 8), Craig Urbani (Isidingo) and Tarryn Lamb (Suidooster), as well as SAFTA nominee Roeline Daneel (Krotoa) and Danny Ross (Skemerdans, Nommer 37).
Survival horror series Pulse
In Pulse, an international group of young game creators discover survival is not just a game when an electromagnetic pulse bomb turns their secure office high-rise into a battlefield. They will need to use the survival skills they honed while creating their game if they are going to escape the imploding building, whose other occupants are becoming dangerously psychotic…
The survival horror story, which is directed by multi-award-winner Salmon de Jager (Dominee Tienie, Free State) and produced by Primetime Emmy winner Steve Lanning (Secret Garden), is set in a world created by the visionary VFX team of Laurent-Paul Robert (Harry Potter, The Dark Knight Rises) and Hilton Treves (Tomb Raider, Blood Psalms).
Browse The Latest Series, Movies, Reality Shows To Stream in SA NOW!
Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
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.
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.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
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.
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.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
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.
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.