From the highly anticipated return of HBO hit Succession with a third season, to the the South African debut of Resident Alien, here’s a list of 5 series to check out on Showmax this month.
First on Showmax | Mondays from 18 October 2021
Thanks to the pandemic, delays in the filming of third season of Succession have made fans of the HBO series wait more than two years to get involved again in the crazy drama of one power-hungry family of narcissistic egomaniacs backstabbing each other to gain control of their father’s media empire.
The Best Drama winner at the 2020 Emmys and Golden Globes takes us inside tensions in the lives of four rich siblings who are vying to take over the throne in their father’s global media and entertainment giant.
Jeremy Strong won the 2020 Best Actor Emmy as Kendall Roy, while Brian Cox won the 2020 Best Actor Golden Globe as his father, Logan. Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin, as Kendall’s siblings, and Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun and James Cromwell, as his extended family, also earned Emmy nominations.
In Season 3, that already impressive cast is adding Oscar winner Adrien Brody and Emmy winner Alexander Skarsgård not to mention Black Reel winner Sanaa Lathan , Emmy nominee Hope Davis and singer Jihae.
Ambushed by Kendall at the end of Season 2, Logan begins Season 3 in a perilous position, scrambling to secure familial, political, and financial alliances. Tensions rise as a bitter corporate battle threatens to turn into a family civil war.
YOU WILL LIKE THIS IF YOU LIKE ‘BILLIONS’. SEASONS 1 and 2 ARE STREAMING ON SHOWMAX.
RESIDENT ALIEN S1
Now streaming on Showmax.
Southies who’ve yet to see this murder mystery sci-fi dramedy will likely enjoy all the weird, slightly spooky and awesomely hilarious sci-fi series. Alan Tudyk’s facial expressions are also a storyline on their own, so there’s also that.
Based on the Dark Horse comic, Syfy’s Resident Alien is a murder mystery sci-fi dramedy that follows Harry (Alan Tudyk), who crash lands on Earth and takes on the human form of a human small-town doctor who typically wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Arriving with a secret mission to wipe all humans from the face of the earth, the start of Harry’s journey as a human being is pretty simple. He’s just getting familiar with the human experience, trying his best to master human behaviour and not blow his cover.
Things get a bit rocky when he’s roped into solving a local murder and realises he needs to assimilate to his new world.
Resident Alien has an 8.2/10 rating on IMDb, who picked it as “one of three innovative shows the Emmys missed”, calling it “one of the funniest shows – about destroying the entire human race.”
The series also has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Los Angeles Times writing, “We are in Spielberg country here… Tudyk… is in fine form as an alien in ill-fitting human clothing, getting the hang of laughter and sex… I smiled, I laughed, I cared.” It’s also ranked as the funniest show of 2021 on Ranker.
Yeah, we don’t make the rules.
THE L WORD: GENERATION Q S2
First on Showmax from 14 October
Just in time for Pride Month in South Africa. The sequel to the original iconic series The L Word, which garnered a number of Emmy nominations between 2004 and 2009, is back with a fresh spin. Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig and Leisha Hailey reprise their original roles alongside a new generation of diverse, self-possessed LGBTQIA+ characters as they take on love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success in L.A.
The first season was up for a 2020 Queerty for Best TV Series and a 2020 GLAAD Media Award, with a 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says Generation Q “has style and charm to spare and announces a new phase for The L Word that will please new and old fans alike.” Slate calls it “a glossy, bighearted show that’s less soapy than the original series but delivers enough secrets, sex, and secret sex to keep the stakes high.”
Emmy winner Rosie O’Donnell (SMILF), four-time Teen Choice nominee Donald Faison (Scrubs), Oscar nominee Griffin Dunne (House of Lies, This is Us) and Vanessa Williams (Candyman) guest star this season.
We are streaming.
First on Showmax | Binge episodes 1-3 from 27 October, weekly episodes thereafter
A vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, throwing an idyllic American town into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begins to expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets in the brand-new series Chucky, which picks up after the events of the seventh film in the horror franchise, Cult of Chucky.
Created by Fangoria Chainsaw Award nominee Don Mancini (Bride of Chucky, Child’s Play), the series stars Oscar nominee Brad Dourif (The Lord of the Rings’ Wormtongue and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s Billy Bibbit) as the voice of serial-killer-possessed Good Guy doll Chucky, with child actor Zackary Arthur (Transparent) as Jake Wheeler.
Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly (Bullets over Broadway, Bound) returns as Tiffany Valentine, and Saturn Award nominee Alex Vincent (Child’s Play) reprises his role as Chucky’s archnemesis, Andy Barclay, with Christine Elise (BH90210) returning as Andy’s foster sister, Kyle. Also look out for Dourif’s daughter and genre marvel Fiona Dourif (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Stand, The Blacklist, The Purge) returning as Nica Pierce.
LOVE ISLAND USA S2
First on Showmax | Binge now
Following a delay due to the pandemic, the second season of Love Island USA was moved from Fiji to The Cromwell, a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. With strict quarantine measures in place, for the 31 “islanders” the isolation is real as they couple and re-couple under the watchful eye of host Arielle Vandenberg over 40 days in a bid to win the $100,000 prize.
From 20 October, you can also binge Season 7 of Love Island UK. Follow 37 hot new singletons through a steamy summer of love in the Love Island villa as they put in the graft, couple-up and (fingers crossed) try to find The One. Once again hosted by Laura Whitmore, this is the second most-watched season of the show so far, with over 4 million viewers per episode.
The Real Housewives of Johannesburg Might be Returning
A comeback we are here for.
Tea in the streets is that the girlies on The Real Housewives of Johannesburg might be making their way back to the telly. That’s more cheques for the famed frenemies, and more entertainment for us. It is not clear at this point whether the season in question is “the lost season“, or an entirely different one.
Earlier this year, avid fans of RHOJ were scandalised to find out that the third season would not longer be premiering as scheduled. The show’s cancellation came after a highly publicised, alleged physical scuffle between cast members Christall Kay and newest addition Gugu Khathi found its way to the papers.
And while the drama played out off-screen in the media, the negative publicity led to the season being discontinued. M-Net confirmed in April that the 1Magic show had been shelved “due to unforeseen circumstances experienced during the production of the show”.
Kay had alleged at the time that DJ Tira’s wife, Gugu Khathi, had assaulted her outside a nightclub in Pretoria back in March.
M-Net is yet to make any further announcement on the show’s fate, but word is the ladies might finally make their way back.
This comes as Showmax has confirmed the second season of the The Real Housewives of Durban, which is slated to land on the platform in early 2022. The Real Housewives of Lagos have are also very much a thing.
Avid fans of the popular series were
A Love Triangle With a Twist on Showmax Film ‘Umakoti Wethu’
Patriarchy is found shaking when a polygamy goes queer.
A brand new movie, Umakoti Wethu, has premiered on Showmax. The new arrival is led by Fulu Mugovhani, who takes on the role of a certain Khathu. She’s a Venda woman struggling to conceive, and finds herself in crisis when her Zulu husband’s new job takes them back to KwaZulu-Natal, where his overbearing mother and his old flame enter the scene.
SAFTA nominee Melusi Mbele (Isibaya) co-stars as her husband Sizwe, with rising star Kwanele Mthethwa (Isithembiso, Abomama S2) delivering a breakthrough performance as Nobuhle, the woman caught in the middle of this love triangle with a twist. Duduzile Ngcobo (Durban Gen, eHostela, Uzalo) also features as Khathu’s disapproving mother-in-law.
“Umakoti Wethu is about family matters,” says Fulu, who’s acted in everything from Ayanda to Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word, One Night Kwa Mxolisi to Seriously Single, Ring of Lies to Still Breathing. “It follows a couple who are going through a transformation in their relationship. They want to grow their family in every way but with that comes challenges.”
Fulu jumped at the chance to speak her language on screen. “I’ve played many Venda characters but not a lead,” she says. “So it’s great to see a minority language represented on a bigger scale.”
Beyond Black Productions executive producer Moeketsi Moeketsi says Umakoti Wethu is an attempt to “pay homage to a beautiful part of the isiZulu culture while in the same breath giving voice to those individuals that may not always be heard within that same culture.”
In particular, Kwanele hopes Umakoti Wethu creates more understanding about “what queer people go through almost every single day of their lives.”
She describes her character Nobuhle as “a young lady who comes from a well-respected family. She grew up under this immense pressure to do good and be perfect. Nobuhle discovers that she is lesbian but she doesn’t have the courage to act on it. She finds it difficult to come out because of how taboo homosexuality is in her community.”
Fulu adds that South African audiences will recognise the family dynamics in Umakoti Wethu. “All of us in one way or another know somebody who is in that position of being unaccepted by the family.”
Umakoti Wethu is the feature film directorial debut of Nozipho Nkelemba, who starred in The Forgotten Kingdom, directed Gomora and wrote Emoyeni. Christopher Mashile co-directs and executive produces. Moeketsi, Christopher and writer Nandisa Mkize, the co-founders of Beyond Black Productions, are all MultiChoice Talent Factory graduates.
Fulu says she respects her character Khathu’s “ability to find contingency plans in her life and to be adaptable… That’s a good quality to have because sometimes, what you wrote down as your five or 10-year plan, it changes for the better.”
She adds, “I also appreciate that she had the courage to follow her heart. She allowed love to just be love and break down the confines of what society says love is.”
Kwanele agrees. “I hope that our audience will learn that sometimes you should do what you want because life is too short. You don’t want to regret not doing what you’ve always wanted to do, just because you’re worried about other people’s opinions.”
Top 10 Best South African TV & Streaming Dramas in 2021
From thrilling action to spooky mysteries and feminist manifestos.
You’ve come to the right place for the best South African drama and television and streaming series. This list, which reviews the shows based on the quality of storytelling, performances and overall production, rather than popularity and ratings, consists of titles that premiered between 2020 and 2021. Dig in!
10. THE STATION
South African acting heavyweights Sello Maake Ka Ncube and Lerato Mvelase lead a fresh cast on new Mzansi Magic TV drama The Station. They portray the roles of husband and wife on the show, in which four employees suddenly become shareholders in the business.
When Don leaves the joint to the staff, a lot of scheming and backstabbing comes into play. Now they all attempt to gain control of the station. Soon, a clash of personalities threatens to destroy the legacy left by Don. The strife and tensions might undermine Don’s work in the community, now replaced by self serving agendas.
In addition to the great cast and the interesting way in which this story unfolds, you might also appreciate the warm colour grading that creates that 90’s kasi nostalgia for the show.
Dam is a story of a family in a town of dark secrets. Shot on location in the Eastern Cape, the small-town psychological thriller that likely to absorb you into its paranormal undercurrent. It’s spooky.
Things start off with a man plunging to his death. From here on out, everything unravels in back to back scenes that contain a haunted atmosphere. It leads up a shocking end. Lea Vivier stars as Yola Fischer, who returns from Chile to the Eastern Cape to bury her father, only to be tormented by spirits in the farmhouse she has inherited.
With her mother institutionalised, and her own meds running out, Yola has to wonder if the spirits are real or just in her head? Pallance Dladla co-stars as her love interest Themba.
Skemerdans revolves around the Fortune family, whose eldest son Glenn owns The Oasis with his wife, Shireen. The series is set at the Oasis jazz club, the centre of a power struggle between two brothers, a scorned widow and an organised crime syndicate.
Other members of the Fortune family are played by Brendon Daniels, Vinette Ebrahim, Carmen Maarman, rising star Trudy van Rooy and Ceagan Arendse, who tragically passed away earlier this year. All 13 episodes of the Cape Flats murder mystery, are now available to binge on Showmax. The show is also a balanced mix of both Afrikaans and English and is worth watching through the subtitles for parts you don’t understand.
7. KINGS OF JOBURG
Kings of Joburg marked a massive pivot for the Fergusons as they stepped out of their own multiverse on DStv to partner up with Netflix. The result is a crime thriller that arrived on the 4th of December in 2020. The series focuses on loyalties being put on the test under the gritty, crime-ridden streets of Johannesburg. Laced with a layer of dark fantasy, the action drama found the Fergs challenging themselves to execute some epic action stunts packed with magic and African occult
The late and dearly loved Shona Ferguson portrays the character of Simon Masire, a member of the KOJ brotherhood and the eldest of the Masire siblings. He’s in charge of the family business. One of the standout performances on the show for me is definitely Zolisa Xaluva, who portrays the role of Mogomotsi “Mo” Masire. He is Simon’s younger brother and an ex-convict who must choose between his crime family legacy, and the life that got him in jail.
The only serious critiques we have about this show is that it’s too close to The Queen, currently airing on Mzansi Magic. The recycling of the same actors makes for stale outcomes.
It’s a cold and crazy world that’s raging outside. But inside the max security prison in which a group of women reveal layers to their souls, survival comes at a price. The Mzansi Magic drama, now on its 5th season, has consistently delivered tough and edgy storylines through the years.
Set in a fictional prison, this Black Brain production brings maximum drama through a group of fascinating characters. Their mind-blowing backstories will have you all the way hooked in as the characters start to reveal the paths that led them behind lock-up. The crew of Lockdown’s female inmates is led by the tough Ma Z (Dawn Thandeka King), a leader who wants nothing more than to gain her freedom so that she can go home to Der daughter. She’s manipulative and cunning, so she uses those around her to achieve end goal.
One of those people happens to be the beautiful and talented Monde, a young woman who left the cocoon of her small town life to pursue fame and fortune in the dazzling lights of Joburg. Instead, what she got was a ghetto scam that led her to prison.
And so the rest of the show is based inside the correctional facility, showcasing the complex realities of these women as they live to see another day behind unforgiving walls. Through the 5 seasons of this brilliant drama series, the layers of their humanity unravel as the characters evolve. The cast is a force with no weak links. All those awards are deserved.
Abomama tells the tale of four church women who find themselves sucked into the criminal underworld. It happens when their stokvel transitions into a money laundering scheme. The women’s lives intersect in the church. It is here the pursuit of salvation is undermined by the sinister world in which these women now dabble.
Season one begins with the group of ordinary women taking it upon themselves to turn a tragedy into a blessing. The prayer group comes together, haunted by darks pasts and confronted by moral dilemmas. These women are navigating a tough reality in the fiercely patriarchal world that awaits them outside the church everyday.
Although the first season, which premiered on 8 April 2018, was met with generally positive reviews, the second season really takes the show to the next level. The cast has delivered some of the most captivating performances this season, as the ladies attempt to wash off the blood on their hands with holy waters.
They must repent, however, as what lurks in the dark continues to haunt and undermine their holy display. Khabonina Qubeka replaces Khanyi Mbau as the new Tshidi, while Busisiwe Mtshali has now been recast as the new Lumka. The cast changes have not interrupted what this group of women is bringing to our screens.
Revenge is best served cold, and Linda Ndlovu is out for blood on Housekeepers. On the hard hitting crime drama, Thando Thabethe takes on the role of a Linda Ndlovu. We meet a young lawyer who goes undercover as a housekeeper for the wealthy Zwide family in order to bring them to justice for framing her mother of a murder.
It happened when her mother, a helper in the mansion at the time, become a witness to a murder. The madam gets the bright idea to pin in on her, sending her to jail for something she didn’t do. So dirty. Now Linda has taken up a job to clean the house, knowing she’ll be cleaning up in more ways than one.
And of course, no one would know the sins of the Zwides more than the women cleaning up their mess everyday. Season 2 marked a departure however, as Linda sets on taking a whole new family to the slaughter.
Nqobile is a fascinating document of a woman who navigates a toxic, abusive environment as she defiantly moves up the ranks of a dynasty. Her reign comes with a mission to liberate women who don’t have a voice. Led by the outstanding Nqobile Khumalo, whose name means victory, the show delivers a moving melodrama layered with themes of gender based violence, toxic masculinity, feminist overtones as well as empowerment.
The Mzansi Magic series is based on the story of a woman who is married to the Nkosi family and their business empire. She manages to outsmart her entitled, abusive husband Simo Nkosi and take over the family empire. She becomes the head honcho of the family company at the request of her father in law, George Nkosi, who dies in a crossfire between a criminal unit and his bratty son.
The message on the show is important. The cast is strong, with Kagiso Modupe nailing the role of the husband dribbled by a fragile masculinity.
2. BLOOD & WATER
Blood & Water is the most popular South African series on Netflix. Now with a second season on the way, the show centres around Puleng Khumalo. She’s a 16-year-old who manoeuvred her way into the prestigious Parkhurst College to investigate the cold case of the abducted-at-birth older sister she’s never met. Shot on location mostly in Cape Town, the teen mystery is directed by an outstanding black female director, Nosipho Dumisa. The show is a hit and we love this for her.
The first season premiered on May 20th in 2020 with a perfect mix of newcomers and some established names. With Ama Qamata leading the diverse ensemble, the official trailer for season 2 has given us riveting glimpses of what could be their best season yet.
Here’s a scenario; your best friend is going through some heart wrenching grief. Because of it, she does something pretty messed up. You understand the magnitude of their trauma and sympathise with them for a while, but what they’ve done is unethical, criminal, dark and disturbing. Would you remain loyal or do the right thing to save a family affected by their actions?
Marieke, a qualified gynaecologist, finds herself running out of time to expose a dark truth about her best friend Rachel. When the pair find out during an ultra sound scan that Rachel has suffered a miscarriage nine months into her pregnancy, Rachel struggles to come to terms with the truth. Instead of telling her husband, she asks Marieke to help her deliver the stillborn baby in secret.
That’s when she gets the bright idea to switch babies with a woman who’s given birth in the next room. What comes next pure drama as Marieke finds herself caught between gently making her friend give the baby to its rightful parents, and the legal implications of her keeping quiet for so long.