7 reasons to watch Afrikaans dramedy Ekstra Medium
It has become very apparent that South Africa’s creatives aren’t interested in taking a back seat at all when it comes to entertaining us with locally produced TV series that make for gripping viewing. If you had to visualise a quality production curve for South African movies and series for over the last couple of years, it would make the coronavirus curve seem flattened out. The entertainment curve is a healthy middle-aged beer belly.
We all saw what M-Net did with Trackers – it was a mind-blowing, first-of-its-kind to kick off this quality curve and producers definitely took notice and stepped up to the plate, or should I say, slate?
New local series Legacy is also a first of its kind for Mzansi – an upmarket telenovela set against the backdrop of investment billionaires. And then you get Inconceivable’s horrific baby-snatching story arc, which will just give you the chills!
Seeing local series on par with international titles gets me very excited because, apart from the obvious entertainment factor, there is also job creation. South Africa’s locally produced TV series streaming scene is pretty much very healthy, in the right hands and on a pleasing trajectory.
On the Afrikaans horizon, things of late seem to be equally on par, with a new wave of very talented and impressive Afrikaans TV writers, scripting for and understanding their audience and at the same time, cleverly circumventing the generational gap.
Brand-new dramedy series Ekstra Medium is waving this new flag for Afrikaans entertainment. The story centres around Bertie (played by the talented Wilhelm van der Walt) who tumbles into his sort of third midlife crisis.
Ekstra Medium comes with moerse accurate subtitles, plus the storyline is very cool.
His new circumstances force him to move in with his sister and her family, adding to the stress and woes of their own sets of problems and challenges. Driven by nostalgia, Bertie buys a run-down property with his very last savings in the hopes of turning it into a hipster cocktail bar. He drags his sister along with his half-baked plans, and thus begins the story of a guy who is trying to make ends meet and barely treading water in a modern, tumultuous South Africa…
You should already be sold on this series, but let me give you another seven reasons why you would enjoy one of the latest and greatest Afrikaans series available to stream.
You don’t need to understand Afrikaans to enjoy it
It is said that the best way to learn a new language is to watch a lot of TV. You don’t have to shed a Sewende Traan trying to learn Afrikaans anymore. Ekstra Medium comes with moerse accurate subtitles, plus the storyline is very cool.
It reminds us that it’s okay to be “extra medium”
I know your mom always tells you that you’re special and that is totally fine because that is part of her job, but if Ekstra Medium sends at least one message or life lesson, it is that it is really okay to be just one of those regular good old medium South Africans with everyday problems. You might even find that you’re a little bit extra medium. That’s life, boet. We can’t all be Elon, Charlize or Madiba.
It’s perfectly balanced between comedy and drama
The drama versus comedy ratio comes across as if it was researched in a lab because the balance is very fine and nuanced. Although stamped as a dramedy, Ekstra Medium tends to favour the light-heartedness more than it does the drama side of things.
It’s just so South African
The series is truly South African. There is a comfortable familiarity that comes across, supported by brilliant acting and the dialogue flows effortlessly and seems credible.
The set design is true to life
You won’t even notice that locations such as the flat or the bar is a built film set. The producers put in a tremendous effort to build realistic worlds for their characters and at the same time had them interact with the outside world which significantly lifts the production value.
You’ll recognise yourself – or at least someone you know – in the characters
At its heart, Ekstra Medium is a story about family, community and a sense of belonging, full of awkward characters and situations.
It’s the ultimate pick-me-up
If you feel a bit neglected and down in the dumps or when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your a year, Ekstra Medium will be there for you. I know you just sang that line, but seriously, this series can function as a crutch if you identify with Bertie’s problems. Even if it is only 30 minutes at a time.