The plum picks in this roundup are gathering flies. View the freshest plums here:
Everything coming to Showmax in South Africa in December 2021
We’re especially looking forward to the new seasons of What We Do In The Shadows, New Amsterdam, Billions and Insecure. Tuck into the December line-up.
Gossip Girl | Binge all 12 episodes now
Based on the bestselling novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, the original 2007 Gossip Girl won 18 Teen Choice Awards and launched the careers of the likes of Penn Badgley and Blake Lively.
Now this extension of the pop culture classic takes us back to the Upper East Side, finding a new generation of New York private school teens being introduced to social surveillance nine years after the original blogger’s website went dark.
Gossip Girl, which explores just how much social media – and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years, saw record viewership over its first weekend on HBOMax in July 2021, trending at #1 on Twitter and generating over 15 billion total social impressions at launch.
Amid all the gorgeous fresh faces, some of key elements that made the original Gossip Girl such a hit will stay the same – People’s Choice Award winner Kristen Bell (The Good Place) returns to voice the anonymous blogger and “Gossip Girl”.
Also catch all 122 episodes of the original Gossip Girl series from 1 December, for a limited time only until 31 March 2022.
What We Do In The Shadows S3 | Binge now | First on Showmax
Based on the 2014 cult movie from the batty brains of nine-time Emmy nominee Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords) and Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), the fiendishly funny vampire mock-doc What We Do in the Shadows is back, with a threat of retribution and a whole new job description for Staten Island’s oldest and most inept housemates!
Season 3 has a 100% critics rating and is #8 on Rotten Tomatoes’ Best TV of 2021 So Far, where the critics consensus says, “Carried on the wings of its cast’s incredible chemistry and the strongest writing of the series so far, What We Do in the Shadows’ third season is scary good.”
Already nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, WWDITS added to its accolades earlier this year with awards for Best Series at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards and Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series (for Natasia Demetriou as Nadja) at the Critics Choice Super Awards.
What We Do in the Shadows has also already been renewed for Season 4. The New York Times calls the series “genuinely ha-ha funny,” adding, “If you are feeling a bit frayed right now and want something brilliant and silly, a true pleasure, watch this.”
Scenes From A Marriage S1 | Binge now
A remake of the iconic 1973 Swedish miniseries by legendary auteur Ingmar Bergman, the HBO drama Scenes From a Marriage stars Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (Interstellar) and Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac (Star Wars’ Poe Dameron) in an intimate examination of love, hatred, desire, monogamy, marriage and divorce, as seen through the eyes of a contemporary American couple.
The five-episode miniseries is written and directed by Golden Globe-winning series creator Hagai Levi (The Affair), and holds an 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with TV Guide calling it, “an acting tour de force… impossible to look away from even when it’s almost too difficult to watch.”
Billions S5 | Binge the last 5 episodes from 21 December 2021
Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades have been unscrupulous adversaries and underhanded allies, but nothing has prepared them for the ruthless machinations of billionaire Mike Prince, who’ll use everything – and everyone – at his disposal to come out on top. As alliances get ripped apart and new enemies rise, everyone gets roped into the conflict. Consequences be damned.
Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis (Homeland), Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (Sideways), and Golden Globe nominee Corey Stoll (House of Cards) co-star as Bobby, Chuck and Mike respectively.
Season 5 has a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “The machinations of the rich and infamous continue to enthrall in Billions’ fifth season, with Corey Stoll proving a worthy addition to this arena of financial chicanery.”
Insecure S5 | Binge from 28 December
All good things come to an end, even Issa Rae’s ground-breaking, Emmy-winning comedy, Insecure.
As you should know by now, Insecure centres on friends Issa and Molly (Nigeria’s Yvonne Orji) in what the Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus hails as “an insightful, raunchy, and hilarious journey through the life of a twentysomething black woman that cuts through stereotypes with sharp wit and an effusive spirit.”
As the Peabody Awards put it, “Rae delivers a groundbreaking series that captures the lives of everyday young black people in Los Angeles with a fresh and authentic take. Breaking away from tired and familiar representations of ‘diversity’ on television, this series offers a fun and intimate portrayal of work, relationships, and the ordinary experiences of the two young black women at its center.”
Season 5 currently has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while the show’s 2021 accolades include Image Awards wins for Best Comedy and Best Actress (Issa), not to mention Critics Choice’ and MTV nominations for Best Actress and a Satellite Awards nomination for Best TV Series.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist S2 | Binge now
Jane Levy (Suburgatory, Castle Rock) was nominated for the 2021 Best Actress Golden Globe as Zoey, a young woman who suddenly gains the ability to hear other people’s innermost thoughts … in song.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist won a 2020 Emmy for its choreography and was nominated for another five Emmys this year. It has an 8.1/10 score on IMDb, while Season 2 has an 83% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Collider calling it “the TV series of the year”, ET Online the “antidote to your quarantine blues”, and US Weekly “pure joy”.
Season 2 sees Critics’ Choice nominee Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) join the already impressive cast, which includes Alex Newell (Glee), who was nominated for a 2021 Critics Choice Best Supporting Actor award as Zoey’s best friend Mo.
New Amsterdam S3 | Binge now
When Dr Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold from The Blacklist) took over New Amsterdam, he asked a simple, revolutionary question: “How can I help?”
In Season Three, Max and his team face the daunting task of sustaining that optimism while dealing with a pandemic that exposed the gaping inequities in healthcare. Max is no longer content to fix a broken system. He’s determined to tear it down and build something better.
New Amsterdam has an 8.1/10 rating on IMDb. As Bustle says, “Every Grey’s Anatomy fan needs to watch this.”
Little Birds S1 | Binge now | First on Showmax
Inspired by the erotic tales of Anaïs Nin, Little Birds follows New York heiress Lucy Savage (2021 Emmy nominee Juno Temple from Ted Lasso), fresh off the transatlantic steamer and ready for love and marriage in exotic climes. But when her husband Hugo (Hugh Skinner, aka Harry in Fleabag) does not receive her in the way she expected, she spins off into the surprising, diverse and degenerate world of Tangier in 1955.
Period drama about an ingénue abroad this is not. Instead, Little Birds is a modern tale of a woman losing and then finding herself down a mesmerising rabbit hole. What Lucy discovers is a world in flux, a country quivering on the cusp of independence, populated by the likes of provocative dominatrix Cherifa Lamor, who particularly captures Lucy’s imagination.
Radio Times hailed it as “sultry and seductive, and a feast for the eyes.”
Call me Kat S1 | Binge now
Nominated for a 2021 Emmy for its cinematography, Call Me Kat stars Emmy nominee Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory) as a woman who struggles every day against society and her mother (Emmy winner Swoosie Kurtz from Huff and Pushing Daisies) to prove that she can live a happy and fulfilling life despite still being single at 39… Which is why she recently spent her entire savings opening a cat café in Louisville, Kentucky.
Call Me Kat is based on the BAFTA-nominated hit British sitcom Miranda, by multiple BAFTA nominee and British Comedy Award winner Miranda Hart, who executive produces alongside Bialik.
The Personal History of David Copperfield | Stream from 16 December
The Personal History of David Copperfield re-imagines Charles Dickens’s classic ode to grit and perseverance through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers, Emmy winners and Oscar nominees Armando Iannucci (Veep) and Simon Blackwell (Succession).
Dev Patel was nominated for a 2021 Golden Globe as the iconic hero on his quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England. The multi-award-winning film co-stars 10-time Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie (House M.D), Oscar winners Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) and Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), and Emmy nominee Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones).
The Personal History of David Copperfield has a 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus hails it as “a fresh, funny, and utterly charming spin on Dickens’ classic, proving some stories truly are timeless.”
Wrath of Man | Stream from 20 December 2021
Director Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham, the action thriller dream-team that gave us Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver, are at it again in Wrath of Man.
Statham (best known as The Transporter, Crank, and Deckard Shaw in the Fast & Furious films) stars as H, a new security guard for a cash truck company, who faces mistrust from his crew after unleashing precision skills during a heist, leaving them questioning his identity, and his motives.
RogerEbert.com gave it a 100% score on Metacritic, calling it, “A star vehicle for Jason Statham at his meanest… one of Guy Ritchie’s best-directed movies,” and praising the film’s “voluptuous darkness, so sinister that you may wonder if its main character is the devil himself.”
Baby Done | Stream from 30 December
The charming New Zealand indie comedy drama Baby Done follows free-spirited couple Zoe (comedian Rose Matafeo from Starstruck) and Tim (Matthew Lewis, better known as Harry Potter’s Neville Longbottom), who unexpectedly find themselves expecting. But as Tim races towards fatherhood, Zoe attempts to rush through her dreams.
Executive produced by Oscar winner Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), the film has a 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian saying, “Rose Matafeo is wonderful in [this] irresistible film about parenthood,” praising, “the film’s irresistible good naturedness: its spirit, pluck, bounce,” and adding, “Baby Done is funny; it’s sweet; it means something. Most of all, it’s charming.”
Showmax’s Christmas Movie Collection kicks off with fabulous festive comedy for the grown-ups!
Friends Molly and Abbey have their plans for a quiet Thanksgiving dinner turned upside down as a host of dysfunctional, comical and chaotic friends and family turn up in the comedy-drama Dinner with Friends (aka Friendsgiving), now first on Showmax. It stars Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) and Malin Åkerman (Billions), along with a fabulous ensemble cast that includes Jane Seymour, Wanda Sykes, Deon Cole, Margaret Cho, Aisha Tyler, and Chelsea Peretti.
Also catch Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston in the comedy Office Christmas Party, and Tyler Perry in A Madea Christmas, and bring the whole family along for a journey through Charles Dickens’s creation of A Christmas Carol in The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring the late, great Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey).
Based on the true story of how Jan and Antonina Żabiński rescued hundreds of Polish Jews during World War II by hiding them in the Warsaw zoo, The Zookeeper’s Wife stars Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, BAFTA nominee Daniel Brühl and award-winner Michael McElhatton.
BAFTA nominee Robert Sheehan plays a young man with Tourette’s Syndrome who runs away from a behavioural facility with his OCD roommate (Dev Patel) and anorexic friend (Zoë Kravitz) to take his recently deceased mother’s ashes to the sea in the multiple festival award-winning road-trip drama comedy The Road Within.
Filmed principally in Cape Town, the action adventure movie Tomb Raider based on the incredibly popular video game of the same name. Nominated for two Teen Choice Awards, the film stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander as the iconic Lara Croft, opposite the likes of Dominic West, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Nick Frost. Also look out for South African actors Adrian Collins, Keenan Arrison and Kenneth Fok.
Nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Movie as well as Choice Male star for Sam Claflin and Choice Female star for Shailene Woodley, Adrift is based on the incredible true story of a young couple’s fight to survive at sea in the face of one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.
Showmax is counting down to Christmas with new movies coming every day until 25 December!
Catch magical stories to share with the family, fabulous festive comedies for the grown-ups, and award-winning Christian films to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.
Here’s just a taste of the highlights:
Black reel nominee Amber Stevens West (Run the World) stars as an ambitious reporter who goes after a story but instead discovers the true meaning of Christmas in Christmas Unwrapped, (which also stars Charlie’s Angel Cheryl Ladd).
A slice of life story that follows a large Italian family on Christmas Eve, A Christmas Feast (aka Feast of the Seven Fishes) has an 88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Young Artist Award winner Skyler Gisondo (The Starling, The Righteous Gemstones), Madison Iseman (Clouds, Jumanji: The Next Level), and Addison Timlin (Fallen) star alongside the likes of Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, Memento) and Ray Abruzzo (The Sopranos, The Practice).
Also keep an eye out for the Africa Magic Holiday Channel that is streaming live on Showmax until 4 January 2022, packed full of festive gems, including holiday concerts, gospel performances and Nollywood favourites.
Friends Molly and Abbey have their plans for a quiet Thanksgiving dinner turned upside down as a host of dysfunctional, comical and chaotic friends and family turn up in the comedy-drama Dinner with Friends (aka Friendsgiving), now first on Showmax. Nominated for a 2021 Queerty Award, the film stars People’s Choice and MTV Movie Award nominee Kat Dennings (WandaVision, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, 2 Broke Girls) and Saturn Award nominee Malin Åkerman (Billions, Chick Fight), along with a fabulous ensemble cast that includes Jane Seymour, Wanda Sykes, Deon Cole, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Aisha Tyler, and Chelsea Peretti.
Also catch Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston in the comedy Office Christmas Party, and Tyler Perry in A Madea Christmas, and bring the whole family along for a journey through Charles Dickens’ creation of A Christmas Carol, the timeless tale that redefined Christmas, in The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring the late, great Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) and Teen Choice winner Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast).
Soapie addicts will be thrilled to see Emmy winner Eileen Davidson (The Young and the Restless’ Ashley Abbot and Days of Our Lives’ Kristen DiMera) in Middleton Christmas (aka There Will Always Be Christmas), a story of sacrifice, family, love, and what it means to be thankful for one another at Christmas.
The dark action comedy Fatman stars Oscar winner Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon, Mad Max, Braveheart) as a rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus who must contend with a hitman sent by a vengeful kid. Also starring Oscar nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies, Without a Trace, Homecoming), and Emmy nominee Walton Goggins (Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Righteous Gemstones, Justified).
Based on a true story, the feel good film The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland won Best Screenplay at the International Christian Film Festival, as well as Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast at the Great Lakes Christian Film Festival. Directed by Idyllwild Indie Spirit Award winner Wes Llewellyn, the film’s cast includes award-winning family-film star Jenn Gotzon, and Emmy nominee Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law, Hap and Leonard, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).
Romance comes to the English countryside in A Very British Christmas, which stars Oscar winner Rachel Shenton (All Creatures Great and Small, Hollyoaks) as an opera singer whose derailed travel plans could lead her to exactly where she ought to be.
Multiple BET and Black Reel Awards nominee Vivica A. Fox (Empire, Independence Day) and Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Jackée Harry (227, Days of Our Lives) are among the cast of A Christmas for Mary.
Love that British sense of humour? The award-winning British dramedy The Loss Adjuster stars MTV Movie Award and Teen Choice Award nominee (and the drummer for Bros) Luke Goss, EastEnders star and Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp, Coronation Street star Kym Marsh, Guy Siner (‘Allo ‘Allo, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and… Golden Globe winner Joan Collins (Dynasty).
Christmas crime caper Santa Fake stars Glee alums Damian McGinty and Teen Choice nominee Heather Morris, Golden Globe nominee Judd Nelson (Billionaire Boys Club, The Breakfast Club) and Emmy nominee John Rhys-Davies (LOTR, Raiders of the Lost Ark), along with Jeff Fahey (Alita: Battle Angel, Lost) and Tony Amedola (Once Upon a Time, The Mask of Zorro).
Love, loss and the recipe for Christmas magic take centre stage in the just-released film The Enchanted Christmas Cake, starring Saturn Award and Teen Choice Award nominee Erica Durance (Supergirl, Smallville, Saving Hope) and Christmas movie favourite Robin Dunne (Sanctuary).
Family, romance, music and gorgeous Christmas decorations – brand-new release A Christmas Family Reunion has it all, along with a fabulous cast that includes Emmy nominee Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives) and American Idols finalist Asia’h Epperson (Straight Outta Compton, Greenleaf).
Troukoors (Wedding Fever) S1 | Binge now
Pop the champagne! Troukoors, the first Showmax Original romcom, is here.
Ilse-Lee van Niekerk (Getroud Met Rugby, 4 Mure, Die Boekklub) stars as Jessica, a wedding planner who’s surrounded by love but struggling to find it for herself.
Former child star Blyde Smit (Erfsondes, 7de Laan) plays Jessica’s sister Luca, a software developer who is more fluent in Klingon than flirting, with Fleur du Cap nominee Bianca Flanders (Nêrens, Noord-Kaap; Address Unknown) as her bisexual best friend Abi, a professional baker. SAFTA winner Kevin Smith (Skemerdans) is Abi’s dad (and Luca’s boss), with Melt Sieberhagen (Proesstraat) as his boyfriend.
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.
“Troukoors is like good champagne: light and bubbly and more-ish, with a tendency to bring out people’s naughty sides,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “It’s like Younger or The Bold Type, but set against the splendour and romance of the Cape wedding industry.”
Die Byl S3 | Binge now
Hit kykNET crime series Die Byl, inspired by real-life detective Piet Byleveld, is back. Waldemar Schultz returns as the brilliant Colonel Piet van der Bijl, who specialises in catching serial killers.
The new season finds the team struggling to cope with the traumatic events of Season 2, while Byl shoulders the responsibility for what happened. But their bonds and divisions are set to become a matter of life and death as a ghost from the past returns.
Returning cast members this season include Lika Berning (Liefling), Marvin-Lee Beukes (Waterfront), Eric Nobbs, Trudy van Rooy (Skemerdans) and Milan Murray (Waterfront). Also look out for new faces like Melt Sieberhagen (Troukoors) and Sean Cameron Michael (Black Sails).
Nominated for a 2020 SAFTA (for Season 2 Supporting Actor Deon Lotz), Die Byl also won the Huisgenoot Tempo Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in 2017 (for Waldemar and Lika). Once again produced by Marche Media (Kanarie) and written and co-directed by the brilliant late actor, director and playwright Leon Kruger (Slot, Buurtwag, Waterfront), the series has already been renewed for a fourth season.
Tshepo | 16 December | First on Showmax
In an effort to save his late father’s land and provide for his pregnant girlfriend, Tshepo becomes a bookkeeper for the notorious Bakwena Mafia. After a gang raid ends with the killing of a well-respected member of the community, Tshepo finds himself on the run from both the authorities and the Mob…
Mpho Sebeng (Ring of Lies, Soul Buddyz) stars as Tshepo opposite the likes of Africa Movie Academy Award winner Lebohang Ntsane (The Forgotten Kingdom), SAFTA nominees Molefi Monaisa (Skeem Saam, Lockdown) and Makalo Mofokeng (Muvhango), and familiar faces like Khojane Morai (Lithapo), Mulisa Mudau (Muvhango), and Sello Motloung (Rockville).
Produced by Tribal Media House (The Hangman), Tshepo is directed by Nozipho Nkelemba, who starred in The Forgotten Kingdom, directed Umakoti Wethu and Gomora, and wrote Emoyeni.
Local festive season fun
Season’s Feelings | 9 December
In Season’s Feelings, on their way to a not-so-conventional Christmas party, a band of outsiders collide as they try to figure out quarter-life, half-loves and family.
Co-directed by 2021 SAFTA winner Jozua Malherbe (Griekwastad) and Nagvlug Films co-owner Zandré Coetzer, the young adult comedy co-stars Natalie Robbie and Zandile Lujabe (Ayeye, Isidingo).
Season’s Feelings is produced by Nagvlug Films (Skemerdans, Barakat).
A Safe Bet | 16 December
Thirty-four-year-old Pearl is the most sought-after attorney in the country – at the cost of her love life. When her boyfriend dumps her, Pearl’s increasingly impatient mother drags her to church for some divine intervention. She receives a life-changing prophecy: her soulmate is a man with the surname Dlamini. But will Pearl follow her heart or the prophecy?
The film’s stellar cast is led by Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa (Rockville), with Jerry Mofokeng’s son, actor and musician Lerato Makhetha (Isidingo), Cedric Fourie (Skeem Saam, Durban Gen), and SAFTA winner Charmaine Mtinta (Scandal!, Yizo Yizo) co-starring.
Boxing Day | 23 December
Unable to afford to bury their gogo, Vele and her hot-headed younger brother become amateur kidnappers on Christmas Day, taking a government minister hostage in exchange for ransom money that they want to use to be able to celebrate her life and give her a fitting farewell.
Directed by SAFTA nominee Mandla N (2021 SAFTA TV Movie winner Loving Thokoza, Lockdown, DiepCity), this multilingual comedy stars SAFTA winners Zola Nombona (Lockdown) and Hamilton Dlamini (Five Fingers For Marseilles), as well as S’thandiwe Kgoroge (Shuga) and newcomer Phumlani Magadla.
Nativity | 24 December
In Nativity, a group of well-intentioned community members tries to produce an amateur Christmas show to save their community hall. But it’s easier said than done.
Directed by Bianca Flanders (Troukoors (Wedding Fever)), the comedy co-stars David Isaacs (Hotel) and 2021 SAFTA winner June van Merch (Sara Se Geheim).
Eve’s Christmas | 24 December
In Eve’s Christmas, two feuding siblings, Carl and Eve, are forced to face their differences when Carl’s son asks (in a prayer) that Eve come to visit for Christmas. This sets in motion some comical (and bittersweet) events involving a toy, Father Christmas, and maybe even honouring their father’s dying wish.
This comedy-with-heart stars Juliette Pauling (Tali’s Baby Diary) and Mark Elderkin (Reyka).
Asseblief & Dankie | 25 December
A homeless woman saves the life of a wealthy CEO, and in an unusual moment of Christmas spirit, he invites her to recover in his luxury penthouse. He laughs off her claims to be from another world – until his own starts tipping over.
Directed by SAFTA winner Tertius Kapp (Gaia, Dis Ek, Anna), this Afrikaans comedy stars Laudo Liebenberg (DAM) and SAFTA winner Crystal-Donna Roberts (Krotoa, Arendsvlei).
Love, Lies & Hybrids | 31 December | First on Showmax
Jessica and her lover, Sophia, look forward to a mountain escape for a few days before New Year’s Day, while Jessica’s environmental activist fiancé, Daniel, is away at a conference. So when Daniel arrives to surprise Jessica, he is the one who gets a surprise. Now, with the truth revealed about Jessica’s infidelity, is there a way to save their relationship or will this be the last time the three of them are together?
Directed by two-time SAFTA winner Amanda Lane (4Play: Sex Tips For Girls), Love, Lies & Hybrids stars Megan Oberholzer (Cut-Out Girls) as Jessica, Shamilla Miller (The Girl From St Agnes) as Sophia and Alexander Maniatis (Projek Dina) as Daniel.
The Crime Of The Century | 1 December | First on Showmax
From Oscar- and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, The Inventor), The Crime of the Century is a searing indictment of big pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enable over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates.
With the help of whistleblowers, newly leaked documents, exclusive interviews, sobering testimony from victims of opioid addiction, and access to behind-the-scenes investigations, Gibney’s exposé posits that drug companies are in fact largely responsible for manufacturing the very crisis they profit from, to the tune of billions of dollars – and thousands of lives.
Produced in an association with The Washington Post and already nominated for three 2021 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, the two-part HBO documentary has a 95% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with FilmWeek saying, “Only Alex Gibney can get his arms around the behemoth that is the opioid crisis in America… It will open your eyes and make you angry.”
The Last Cruise | 1 December | First on Showmax
A terrifying origin story of the pandemic, HBO’s 40-minute documentary The Last Cruise chronicles the first and largest outbreak of the novel coronavirus outside China: the Diamond Princess cruise liner.
As the uncontained outbreak on the luxury vessel at the start of the pandemic in January 2020 became a global spectacle and a faraway symbol of the new virus and its potential to upend any sense of normalcy, passengers aboard the ill-fated cruise ship were quarantined in their staterooms for weeks. Through never-before-seen footage from passengers and crew, we watch class divisions erupt as humanity misses its chance to contain Covid-19.
Directed by Hannah Olsen (Baby God), The Last Cruise has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Film Stage called it “a vital and horrifying record of a crisis that we should have quickly learned from, that captures the moment with the immediacy of Facebook Live or Snapchat.”
A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks | 1 December | First on Showmax
The HBO documentary A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks explores the enduring legacy of the legendary photographer whose work brought the Black community’s struggle for dignity and justice to middle America on the pages of LIFE magazine from 1948 to 1972. He created a legacy that stands at the pinnacle of socio-historical documentation of the 20th century.
Directed by Emmy winner John Maggio (Mr. Saturday Night) and executive produced by Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys, the documentary traces Parks’s impact on three contemporary photographers: Devin Allen, whose photograph of the Freddie Gray protests was featured on the cover of Time; LaToya Ruby Frazier, who for five years followed the Flint, Michigan water crisis; and Jamel Shabazz, whose photographs on the streets of New York form a visual history of the hip-hop era.
Adrienne | 6 December | First on Showmax
As the muse of Hal Hartley’s indie classics The Unbelievable Truth and Trust, and as the writer-director of the critically acclaimed hit Waitress, Adrienne Shelly was a shining star in the indie film firmament, until her brutal murder in 2006 robbed the world of her singular talent, and her family of a beloved wife and mother.
Directed and produced by Shelly’s husband Andy Ostroy (who produced Shelly’s script for Serious Moonlight – starring Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton and Kristen Bell – after her death), Adrienne takes viewers on a poignant journey to share Adrienne’s life story and honour her legacy, while giving a rare window into how a family navigates unfathomable tragedy.
The film also features actors who worked with her, detectives who worked on her case, family members and friends.
Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas | 1 December
There’s no place more magical than Sesame Street – especially during the holidays! Join Elmo, Grover, Big Bird and their friends for the magical, musical 50-minute special Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas, in which Elmo’s father tells him a bedtime story about the time, way back, when joy, kindness and caring first came to Sesame Street.
The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programme and has 4/5 stars on Common Sense Media, where they recommend it for ages 4+, calling it “a sweet story about holiday spirit and… an excellent reminder of the value of even the smallest acts of kindness. Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas is lively, spirited holiday entertainment that’s great for families to enjoy together.”
Paw Patrol S6 | 6 December
Hey, pup-fans! Ryder and his playful rescue dogs are back on duty in the seaside town of Adventure Bay. That’s right – the brand-new season of kids’ mega-favourite show Paw Patrol comes to Showmax this month, and it’s all set to have little ones barking for joy!
Plus, catch the Paw Patrol movies, Ready, Race, Rescue! and Jet to the Rescue.
Paw Patrol has a 4/5-star rating on Common Sense Media. It’s been nominated at the Emmys and the Annie Awards, and won multiple Joey Awards, but the biggest praise comes from the toughest critics – just ask any kid!
Calling all fans of Goosebumps! The first season of Are You Afraid of the Dark promises high suspense and heeps of creep to thrill and delight younger teens.
Nickelodeon’s reboot of the ‘90s series comes in anthology series format, following different chapters of the Midnight Society, a group of teenagers who gather at midnight to tell scary stories, such as the Carnival of Doom and the Curse of the Shadows (coming to Showmax soon).
The show has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 5 stars on Common Sense Media, where it’s recommended for ages 11+. “This self-contained three-part series is shivery, quivery fun for tweens and teens who like scares,” they say, praising its “refreshing stance on the diversity of the characters,” and saying, “Most of what scares here is the power of suggestion, the hint of the unexplained, and the characters’ visceral reactions to what they see and hear,” but, they caution, “the scares are real.”
The Loud House S4 | Date TBC
A brand-new season of the Emmy-winning series The Loud House hits Showmax this month, and that means more hilarity with eleven-year-old Lincoln Loud and his right-hand man Clyde as they try to survive Lincoln’s ten sisters, and life in the Loud house.
Common Sense Media recommends The Loud House for ages 8+, giving it a 4/5-star rating and saying, “Kids will come to The Loud House for the laughs, but they’ll return for the excellent ensemble cast and the surprisingly heartwarming themes.”
Santiago of the Seas S1 | Date TBC
Join Santiago, an 8-year-old pirate, and his crew as they take on the high seas, embarking on rescues, uncovering hidden treasures and keeping the Caribbean safe in the brand-new Nickelodeon series, Santiago of the Seas.
Santiago of the Seas won the 2021 Women’s Image Network Award for Outstanding Animated Program, with teen voice actress Alyssa Cheatham nominated for Outstanding Actress in an Animated Program.
The voice cast also includes Emmy winner John Leguizamo (the voice of Ice Age’s Sid) as Sir Butterscotch.
The series has a five-star rating on Common Sense Media, where it’s recommended for ages 4+ and their review calls it an, “Exceptional preschool series [that] celebrates kindness, courage,” saying it’s “vibrant and well-rounded,” and praising its integration of the Spanish language and culture with the predominantly English dialogue.
Peppa Pig S4-6
Gather up the little ones and plonk yourselves down for three whole seasons (that’s 156 episodes!) of most excellent and clever bite-sized fun with Peppa Pig, her little brother George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and all their friends. The beloved BAFTA Award-winning series has a five-star rating on Common Sense Media, where it’s recommended for ages 3+.
From train trips to carnivals, aquarium visits to camping trips, hovercrafts to super potatoes and, of course, jumping in muddy puddles, there’s a lot to love here, and the sweet, funny characters, wholesome messages and clever British humour make it an evergreen hit with littlies… and grownups too.
Also on Showmax in December
A Christmas Mission
The Key to Christmas
Christmas Ever After
Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater
The Christmas Listing (AKA Christmas Inn Farmstead)
Christmas in Carolina
Amazing Grace, Dreams of Gomorrah
Santa Saves the Universe
A Very Charming Christmas Town
Deep Blue Sea 2, Deep Blue Sea 3, Dragon Rider, In Kersfeestyd 2021, Man on a Ledge, Maria Kristu: The Buumba Story, My Halfeeu Met Musiek, No Man’s Land
Beaus of Holly
2067, The Christmas Reunion, Overboard, Songbird, Umnisamvula, Presto! School of Magic S1 (First on Showmax)
Snowbound for Christmas
12 Days of Christmas
Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite!, Christmas on the Menu, Honest Thief, Stash House
Writing Around the Christmas Tree
Puppy Love for Christmas
The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Santa Box
The Christmas Sitter
A New Christmas
Greyson Family Christmas, Kin, Make Your Move, Playing for Keeps, Sherlock Gnomes, Warrior’s Gate
Pizza and Whine Xmas (aka Four Cousins and a Christmas)
The Christmas Ball, Christmas Together (aka Blending Christmas), Only the Brave, The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther 2, Won’t Back Down
Baking Spirits Bright, Christmas Crush
Silent Night: A Song for the World
As Cool As I Am, Girls Night Out, Makofi S2, The Pagan King, Welcome Matt
Cranston Academy: Monster Zone, Equals, In Other Words, Life Happens, Madame, Vanquish
Please note that dates and titles are subject to change.