In December, Tali’s Wedding Diary became Showmax’s most successful show ever on its first day, with more than double the number of first-day views of any previous show. To put that into a little more perspective, Tali had more than four times the number of viewers on its first day than season seven of Game of Thrones on its first day on Showmax, proving again that local audiences are hungry for good local content.
Thankfully for everyone suffering withdrawal post-Tali, there’s a wealth of South African and African-set content coming to Showmax in January. This includes:
Jungle Beat S1 & 2
From a giraffe afraid of heights to a bee allergic to pollen, these animals are a strange bunch. Winner of 11 international awards, Sunrise Productions’ charming animated children’s series was also a hit on YouTube, with over 37m views. https://youtu.be/NbDsWIkY5rk
Call the Midwife, Season 6 Christmas Special
Based on Jennifer Worth’s bestselling memoirs, Call the Midwife was named Best 21st Century TV Drama at last year’s BFI and Radio Times TV Festival. The BAFTA-winning period drama follows a group of midwives in the 50s and 60s – and shot its sixth season Christmas special in South Africa, with the Nonnatus House family answering an SOS call from a mission hospital in the Eastern Cape. https://youtu.be/SRqnAajQS9c
Point of Order
Inspired by the shenanigans in the South African Parliament, Point of Order is a comedy panel show that allows SA’s top comedians and special celebrity guests to talk politics like real MPs, perhaps with a little more sense and sensibility. Point of Order won the 2017 SAFTA award for Best Game Show and was also nominated for Best TV Presenter (Tumi Morake). It’s produced by Both Worlds, best known for the two-time International Emmy nominee, ZANews’ Puppet Nation. https://youtu.be/xHsHEaFH9hs
A street thug rescues an orphan in the city, then discovers the boy has strange supernatural powers. Directed by Matthew Jankes, Umkhungo won the SAFTA for best short film in 2013 and went on to be selected on Short of the Week and as a Vimeo Staff Pick. https://youtu.be/D2gBqOsZm0k
Elders: Die Camino
Elders, Erns Grundling’s best-selling Afrikaans book about the Camino pilgrimage in Spain, is the inspiration behind this travel series, currently screening on kykNET, with episodes available the following day on Showmax, with English subtitles. https://youtu.be/_AGXXafiatU
Buurtwag S1 (due 19 January 2017)
When a series of crimes spurs them into action, a motley group of neighbours form a watch. Deon Lotz was nominated for a SAFTA in 2017 for his role in Buurtwag – his third nomination that year. https://youtu.be/iFbnXucBHDM
Die Radio Raps show on Showmax (due 18 January 2018)
The Afrikaans internet sensation Radio Raps now has his own reality TV show. In Die Radio Raps Show, the cameras follow ‘Jonathan vanaf die Oos-Rand’ as he interviews celebrities, plays tourist in unexpected towns, cooks, explains complex concepts and chats to kids. New episodes will air every Friday at 20:00 on VIA and be available on Showmax every Saturday. Showmax will launch with two episodes on 19 January 2018. https://youtu.be/7BHStbJHFWc
Jozi (due 25 January 2018)
James (Carl Beukes) is a Jozi comedian who’s lost his sense of humour. Directed by Craig Freimond (Material, Beyond the River), the film was nominated for six SAFTAs, with Lionel Newton winning Best Supporting Actor. https://youtu.be/i0z2OYAM5sA
Set in Africa
Black Hawk Down
This is one you’ll either love or hate, probably based on whether you put more weight on filmmaking craft or questioning American military interventions into sovereign African nations. This is a US perspective on the disastrous American attempt to capture a ‘warlord’ in Somalia, which led to the Battle of Mogadishu. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor, Black Hawk Down won two Oscars, but was significantly less popular in Somalia. https://youtu.be/2GfBkC3qs78
Planet Earth S1
Five years in the making. The most expensive nature series ever commissioned by the BBC at the time. The first BBC nature series filmed in high definition. Sir David Attenborough. Four Emmy Awards. 9.4/10 rating on IMDB, at number three on their top-rated TV list. Need we say more? Other nature movies coming to Showmax in January include African Safari (due 18 January 2018) and Enchanted Kingdom (due 22 January 2017). https://youtu.be/Qzxy3GtSzt0
Caught in the middle of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, an exhausted priest (Oscar-nominee John Hurt) and an idealistic teacher (Emmy-nominee Hugh Dancy) must choose whether to flee for safety or stay with the thousands of Tutsis about to be massacred. Based on a true story, Shooting Dogs was nominated for a BAFTA and won the Grand Prize at the Heartland Film Festival.
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