Say the words “reality TV” and the first thing that comes to mind is one family, their non-stop drama and the uncanny way they’re famous for being, well, famous.
But the genre is broad – it’s everything from ordinary people documenting their weddings (Our Perfect Wedding) to living on a deserted island and fighting for a million (Survivor) and switching from acting to dancing (Dancing With The Stars) and everything in-between.
And with the festive season around the corner, there’s no better time to log into your Showmax account and start streaming homegrown reality shows, for all those mindless binge-watch sessions you’ve earned throughout the year.
What’s available on your small screen now and in the coming weeks? Here’s a taste…
1. Dineo’s Diary (Seasons 1-5)
Radio celeb Dineo Ranaka has moguldom on the mind and inviting viewers into her world in this fly-on-the-wall doccie is just the start. Expect the usual – work, play and family time – but on a whole new level. Plus, the rest of her fab fam pop in for a holla-holla every couple of episodes.
2. Our Perfect Wedding (Seasons 1-5)
You don’t have to be famous to get the country talking about your TV show. Normal everyday people – just like us – invite Our Perfect Wedding hosts to watch them exchange vows and say “I do” in front of their nearest and dearest. You’re not going to like everyone’s choice of décor, menus or even that all-important cake. But that’s the beauty of streaming: hit the stop button and start another ceremony. Here comes the bride… probably not dressed in white…
3. Papa Penny Ahee (Seasons 1-2; Season 3 coming 25 November 2019)
Before reality TV, musicians were SA’s most famous faces (and voices, duh). And they don’t come more eccentric than “the Shangaan Disco King” Penny Penny. From his crazy hairstyle to his colourful style of talking, Papa Penny is one entertaining guy. Throw in his wife and children, making music and posing for pics everywhere he goes, and Papa Penny might as well be nicknamed “Mr Reality TV”.
Get more up-to-date shenanigans from Pappa Penny Ahee on Showmax, season 3 will be available from the 25th of November.
4. The Real Housewives of Johannesburg (Seasons 1-2)
They love money. They love drama. Binge-watch both seasons of this riveting reality series of the richest housewives in Johannesburg. Besides the drama, you can also expect a lot of champagne sipping and a whole lot of fabulous lunches, brunches and the occasional teary moment from Mzansi’s most glamorous ladies.
5. Survivor SA (Seasons 6-7)
Nico Panagio is the main man and he always seems so calm – even at tribal council in the Philippines, you’d never know that he’s being eaten alive by mozzies. And it’s a good thing we don’t have smellevision just yet, because you know that those Survivor castaways are funky as they come by the end of week 1.
Once you’ve binge-watched the whole of Season 6, start streaming the latest episodes of Survivor SA Season 7.
6. Bobby & Karlien: In Jou Skoene (Seasons 1-2)
Singing/acting siblings Bobby and Karlien are taking cameras along to find out “how the other half live” – they’re just about swapping everything in their lives and experiencing first-hand the struggles that us ordinary folk go through in our day-to-day lives. Watching Bobby being blindfolded and trying to manoeuvre as a blind person is eye-opening (pun not intended) for both him and viewers.
7. The Voice SA (Seasons 2-3)
Watching the mentors – Francois Van Coke, Riky Rick and Rian Nel join Lira – joke with the audience, enjoy the songs and then try to out-pitch one another is almost as entertaining as the competition itself. You’ll have your own favourite from their audition and follow them through to their final performance on The Voice.
8. Dancing With The Stars (Season 1)
What’s better than watching your favourite actors doing their thing in-character? Watching them being thrown into the deep end and asked to tread water. And that’s what you get on Dancing With The Stars – celebs like actor Frank Opperman, TV personality Thembisa Mdoda and singer Connell Cruise go shoe-to-shoe on the dancefloor, learning new dance routines week in, week out, and being critiqued by dance-expert judges. Some of them shouldn’t give up their day jobs…
9. Living The Dream With Somizi (Seasons 1-4)
Enter the fabulous life of choreographer and television personality Somizi Mhlongo. From Seasons 1 to 4, Somizi invites us into his world of busy schedules, industry parties and, most importantly, fatherhood and his journey into married life with his husband Mohale.
11. Being Bonang (Seasons 1-3)
Every episode is a glamorous event filled with laughter, celebration, luxurious experiences and, of course, fashion and champagne. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Bonang Matheba is a national treasure that has set the bar high when it comes to reality shows.
12. Marry Me Now (Season 1)
Imagine telling your family that you proposed to your boyfriend and are planning on marrying him in the next few days. Crazy, right? Well, that’s precisely what Marry Me Now is all about. This reality show puts women’s futures in their own hands as they are offered the chance to surprise their partners by planning a proposal and a wedding – in only three days.
13. Kwakuhle Kwethu: Solo & Dineo’s Wedding (Coming 21 November 2019)
Get a front-row seat at actor Dineo Moeketsi and rapper Solo’s jaw-dropping wedding. If social media is anything to go by, it was a star-studded day filled with love.
14. I Blew It (Coming 21 November 2019)
Meet the people who’ve received large amounts of money and spent it unwisely. This show takes a closer look at the sudden changes wealth has made to their lives and relationships.
15. Widowed (Coming 21 November 2019)
This reality show reveals the circumstances of women who have been widowed and gives them the support they need to rebuild their lives following their loss.
16. Boer Soek ‘n Vrou (Seasons 7-12)
Ten farmers are looking for love once again in the 12th season of this popular dating show. Breaking new ground is the show’s first gay farmer who’s looking for the ideal male partner.
17. The Bachelor SA (Season 1)
Model and entrepreneur Lee Thompson was South Africa’s first ever Bachelor who took to our screens every week in the hopes of finding his happily ever after. Whether or not you know how it all panned out, binge-watch all the episodes back to back, even if it’s only to play that drinking game where you have a shot every time he takes off his shirt.
And a special mention for…
Ware Lewensdramas (Seasons 1-2)
Huisgenoot journalists look back at some of their most iconic and talked-about stories with exclusive behind-the-scenes info straight from the horse’s mouth as they reveal what it took to go from tip-off to printed article in the weekly magazine.
Can’t get enough of reality show shenanigans?
This video counts down the top 10 reality shows in the United States. We’ve got our own SA versions of some of these, such as The Bachelor and Survivor, but others are so crazy not even us South Africans could pull them off!