The plum picks in this roundup are gathering flies. View the freshest plums here:
Everything coming to Showmax in South Africa in November 2021
With a brand-new Showmax Original telenovela hitting screens from 11 November, the boxset of Emmy darling Hacks, a new season of the fan-favourite HBO Max anthology series Love Life, new period drama The Pursuit of Love and the Man U doccie The United Way coming this month, you may not want to leave the house at all.
Hacks S1 | Binge from 1 November
The #2 show on Rotten Tomatoes’ Best TV of 2021 (So Far), comedy-drama series Hacks centres on legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance, who takes on an entitled, down-on-her-luck Gen Z comedy writer in a bid to find fresh material and remain relevant as her performance dates start to dwindle.
Hacks was up for 15 Emmys this year, including Outstanding Comedy Series, with Jean Smart (Watchmen, Mare of Easttown) taking home her fourth Emmy as Deborah.
Already renewed for a second season, Hacks has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “A prickling debut that pulls few punches, Hacks deftly balances its sharp critiques of the comedy world with more intimate moments, all the while giving the incomparable Jean Smart a role worthy of her talents – and an excellent partner in Hannah Einbinder.”
Love Life S2 | Binge from 15 November | First on Showmax
The journey from first love to a lasting relationship is back in the spotlight with the hit romantic comedy anthology series Love Life, which Guardian called “the perfect balm for troubled times”.
Season 1 star Anna Kendrick is back as a guest star and also co-executive produces Season 2 with Paul Feig (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Bridesmaids).
The new cast is led by William Jackson Harper (The Good Place) as Marcus Watkins, who enters his 30s freshly divorced and as lost as ever. While rediscovering his identity as a single Black man in New York, Marcus must also learn to find love again.
The Wife S1 | First on Showmax from 11 November, with three episodes every Thursday at 7pm
1Magic’s The River and Mzansi Magic’s Gomora are among the top 10 shows on Showmax overall for the first half of 2021, but the African streaming service has never had a Showmax Original telenovela to call their own. Until now.
Inspired by Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novel Hlomu the Wife, The Wife follows a journalist (Skeem Saam’s Mbalenhle Mavimbela) who falls in love with a taxi driver (Necktie Youth’s Bonko Khoza), not realising that when you marry a man, you marry his secrets.
The Wife is being produced by Stained Glass, the company behind SAFTA-winning shows like eHostela and Uzalo, South Africa’s most-watched soap opera.
Mayans MC S3 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 November
Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C. follows the life of Ezekiel ‘EZ’ Reyes (JD Pardo), a newly patched member of the Mayans MC biker gang on the California/Mexico border.
Once the golden boy with the American Dream in his grasp, EZ and his brother Angel are closer than ever after uncovering the truth behind their mother’s murder, while their father struggles to reconcile the choices he and his sons have made.
Mayans M.C. has an 86% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.
I Hate Suzie S1 | Binge from 1 November 2021
Suzie Pickles, a star on the wane, has her whole life upended when her phone is hacked and a photo of her in an extremely compromising position is released for the whole world to see. This excruciatingly honest show follows the various stages of Suzie’s trauma episode by episode, through shock, denial, fear, shame, bargaining, guilt, anger, and acceptance as Suzie and her best friend and manager Naomi try to hold her life, career, and marriage together in the face of being exposed for who she truly is. But who the hell even is that?
I Hate Suzie was nominated for three 2021 BAFTAs, winning the Emerging Talent BAFTA for director Georgi Banks-Davies. It has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In their five-star reviews, The Guardian praised Piper’s “truly astonishing performance” and called the show “exhilarating” and “scabrously funny”, while The Telegraph praised it as “rude, crude and very, very funny.”
The Pursuit of Love | Binge from 1 November
Set in Europe between the two World Wars, BBC miniseries The Pursuit of Love follows the adventures and misadventures of the fearless Linda Radlett and her best friend and cousin, Fanny Logan, as they seek out the ideal husband.
An adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s celebrated 1945 novel, the romantic comedy-drama stars
Lily James as Linda, while Emily Beecham (Berlin) plays Fanny. The cast also boasts the likes of Emmy nominee Andrew Scott (Sherlock) and Dominic West (The Affair).
The directorial debut of actress Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), The Pursuit of Love has an 87% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with London Evening Standard calling it “the most enjoyable period drama we’ve had in years… a love letter to women who want more, and a celebration of the right to be different. Nancy Mitford would approve.”
In their five-star review, The Guardian called it “a classic in its own right” and “a treat for all,” while Rolling Stone said, “This had better be just the first entry in a long directorial career for Emily Mortimer. What a joy The Pursuit of Love is.”
Domina S1 | Binge from 1 November 2021
Domina chronicles the life and rise of Livia Drusilla (Kasia Smutniak from Devils), the powerful wife of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar.
Look out for Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos in Game of Thrones), Claire Forlani (CSI: New York), and Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk), among other familiar faces.
Domina has an 88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As The Guardian says, “This Roman epic fills a gory, horny, Game of Thrones-shaped hole. The show has a great cast, a big budget and is full of carnage and backstabbing. Plus people say ‘My liege!’ a lot. What’s not to like?”
For Life S2 | 12 November
Season 2 of the drama series For Life picks up the story of once wrongfully-accused prisoner Aaron Wallace, now a free man and hard-working lawyer trying to piece his life back together and find justice for those the system has failed.
Nominated for Outstanding Drama at the 2020 Black Reel Awards, where star Nicholas Pinnock was also nominated for Best Actor, For Life is executive produced by Grammy winner Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson (who also exec produces and stars as Kanan in Power).
Season 1 of For Life drew an 86% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “Guided by Nicholas Pinnock’s powerful performance, For Life eschews procedural pitfalls with a sturdy, empathetic script and an impressive ensemble to bring it to life.”
Palm Springs | 15 November | First on Showmax
The wonderful indie romantic comedy Palm Springs follows two strangers who meet at a wedding in Palm Springs, only to get stuck in a time loop.
The movie stars Emmy and Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Jake) and Cristin Milioti (Fargo, How I Met Your Mother), who respectively won Best Actor and Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie at the 2021 Critics Choice Super Awards, where the film also won Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie.
Palm Springs won the 2021 Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy, and holds a 95% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with IndieWire calling it,“Sweet, funny and demented.”
Charm City Kings | 18 November
Torn between the straight path and gang life, fourteen-year-old Mouse is desperate to join the Midnight Clique, an infamous group of dirt-bike riders who rule the streets of West Baltimore. During one eventful summer, Mouse must steer his way through two father figures, a first girlfriend, and the illegal but irresistible thrill of stunt-riding. It’s exec produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
RogerEbert.com called it “an incredible triumph from a slew of fresh talent.”
The Marksman | 29 November 2021
Oscar nominee Liam Neeson stars in The Marksman as a rancher (and former US Marine) living on the Arizona border who becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy fleeing cartel assassins. Directed by triple-Oscar nominee and Clint Eastwood-collaborator Robert Lorenz (Mystic River).
Alone | 1 November | First on Showmax
Jules Willcox (10,000 Days) stars in Alone as a recently widowed traveller who is pursued through the wilderness by a ruthless killer.
The gripping survival thriller holds a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “Alone’s minimalistic approach makes this heightened thriller a gripping and suspenseful experience,” while AV Club praises the film’s “already stripped-down cat-and-mouse scenario that becomes dirtier and more elemental as it goes along, tracing a devolutionary arc from the rules of the road to primeval combat.”
Unhinged | 11 November
In Unhinged, Russell Crowe is straight-up terrifying in his performance as a road-rager gone full-blown psycho.
South African-born actress Caren Pistorius co-stars as the woman who triggers his road rage, alongside Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson (Westworld) and child actor Gabriel Bateman (The Mosquito Coast, Andy in the 2019 film Child’s Play).
Vanity Fair called Unhinged “a dark and gnarly thriller” and “bracing entertainment.”
Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong and Toby Jones star in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the John le Carré Cold War spy thriller that was nominated for three 2012 Oscars, including Best Actor for Oldman as George Smiley.
The hilarious black comedy Horrible Bosses broke the record for the highest-grossing comedy film of all time upon its release in 2011, earning Jennifer Aniston the Best On-Screen Dirtbag award from the MTV Movie + TV Awards (beating her co-star Colin Farrell for the same title), while the sequel earned Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day a nomination for Best WTF Moment. The film also stars Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx, with Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz joining the cast for Horrible Bosses 2.
In The Spy Who Dumped Me, which won the 2018 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedic Movie, best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy after Audrey’s ex-boyfriend (played by Justin Theroux) turns out to be a real-life spy.
Based on the true story of the relentless 1970s rivalry between Formula One legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Rush won a 2014 BAFTA and was nominated for two Golden Globes – Best Drama and Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Brühl. Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, and Natalie Dormer co-star in this IMDb Top Rated Movie directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13), and scored by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer.
Based on the life and career of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady won two 2012 Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Meryl Streep (her third), who stars alongside fellow Oscar winner Jim Broadbent. Also look out for Olivia Colman, Richard E Grant, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Anthony Head and Iain Glen.
Tim Burton’s biographical drama Big Eyes is based on the true story of the phenomenally successful 50s painter Margaret Keane and her husband, Walter, who took credit for her work. Written by the Golden Globe-winning team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (American Crime Story, The People vs. Larry Flynt), the film earned six-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams a 2015 Golden Globe for Best Actress, with double Oscar winner Christoph Waltz nominated for Best Actor.
An independent Romeo & Juliet-style thriller set in the American heartland, The Violent Heart was nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. The film’s cast includes Emmy nominee Jovan Adepo (Watchmen, When They See Us), Grace Van Patten (Nine Perfect Strangers), Black Reel and Critics Choice Super Award Award nominee Cress Williams (Black Lightning), Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Charm City Kings), and Oscar nominee and multiple Grammy winner Mary J Blige.
Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger (Arnie’s son) star in Midnight Sun, the multiple Teen Choice- and People’s Choice Award-nominated love story of a 17-year-old girl who can’t go out in the sunlight, and the boy who lights up her world.
The Edge of Existence | 12 November
Filmed in Tanzania over three years, The Edge of Existence takes viewers into the heart of the growing human-wildlife conflict in the western corridor of the Serengeti. Named Best Humans and Nature Film at the 2020 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, The Edge of Existence is directed by South Africans James Suter and Charlie Luckock.
While the urgent need for conservation has been widely publicised, there’s been less awareness about its cost to the neighbouring communities, from farms getting trampled just before harvest to livestock – and even humans – being killed by predators. As The Guardian said in their review, “If you thought your commute was stressful, imagine sharing it with an elephant herd.”
Elders: Namibie S1 | 29 November
Award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and everyone’s favourite travel guide, Erns Grundling, takes us on a journey to the epic landscapes of Namibia, where he’ll share our neighbouring country’s endless vistas, breathtaking natural beauty, wildlife and, of course, the oldest desert in the world.
In the latest edition of his SAFTA-winning Elders travel show, join Erns as he walks, drives and flies through Namibia, encountering diverse people, quirky characters and friendly hospitality along the way.
Survivor SA: Immunity Island | Binge from 4 November
In a year where conversations about survivors, immunity and even buffs got wa-a-ay too real for most of us, the ultimate escapist reality show, Survivor SA, survived the pandemic delay to lock down 20 brand-new islanders on the Wild Coast in a bid to outwit, outplay and outlast one another for the title of Sole Survivor.
Nominated for three SAFTAs, Season 8 of the South African edition the global phenomenon is once again hosted by Nico Panagio and promises all the drama, the triumphs and the tears… plus, a couple of added little twists designed to test the islanders to their limits.
Hosted by polygamist and Uthando Ne’sthembu star Musa Mseleku, the popular Mzansi Magic reality show Mnakwethu shares the stories of married men introducing polygamy into their relationships, and looks at how it affects both their first wives and would-be second wives. Binge the Season 2 boxset now.
The United Way | 20 November
Manchester United is one of the most iconic sports teams in the world. Yet their story transcends the sporting field. It is a story of tragedy and triumph, of despair and hope, of romance and fantasy. It is the story of a sporting dynasty, the story of a family brought together by a common goal. It is the story of our times.
Told by football legend Eric Cantona and featuring previously unseen footage, the doccie looks at the iconic club’s roots, tracing their historical journey before the turn of the century through candid conversations with stars like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and others.
Influence | 18 November
Who decides what you think? Who decides how you vote?
A South African/Canadian co-production, Influence has just been nominated for a 2021 Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for Best Political Documentary. It also screened in competition at Sundance and was named Best South African Documentary at the 2020 Durban International Film Festival, among other accolades.
The globe-trotting documentary feature Influence charts the recent advancements in weaponised communication by investigating Lord Tim Bell and the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious public relations and reputation management firm: the British multinational Bell Pottinger.
Vulture calls Influence “the kind of story that makes you question everything,” while The Globe and Mail calls it, “extraordinary” and “eye-opening.”
Back On The Record With Bob Costas S1, HBO’S revival of the long-running American sports television talk show, On the Record with Bob Costas, returns, hosted by 20-time Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas and featuring interviews with the biggest names in American sports, entertainment and popular culture, tackling the most topical issues sports faces today.
The four-episode season has an 8.2/10 score on IMDb, and includes guests like tennis legends Billie Jean King and John McEnroe, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and Muhammad Ali’s daughter Rasheda Ali.
Roald Dahl’s The Witches | 22 November
mouse boy and his grandmother go up against a coven of witches and their leader in The Witches, a delightfully dastardly reimagining of the Roald Dahl classic, adapted by Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump), double-Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Kenya Barris (Black-ish).
It stars Oscar winners Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer, alongside Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock and newcomer Jahzir Kadeem as the
mouse child hero of the tale.
Common Sense Media gave it a 4/5 star rating, recommending the film for ages 10+ and saying: “This campy, creepy, fun Dahl adaptation will entertain fans of the author’s quirkily dark tales about kids in peril who get away from terrible adults.”
Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! | 1 November
1 November is a public holiday, which means the Halloween fun doesn’t need to end just yet.
In Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!, Scooby-Doo and the gang gather again to solve a mystery of gigantic proportions and save Crystal Cove, joining forces with Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Elvira to defeat an army of monstrous pumpkins. Along the way, Fred, Velma, Daphne and, of course, the snack-mad Shaggy and Scooby might just find themselves wandering into DC’s Gotham universe…
Common Sense Media recommends the movie for ages 7+, calling it “a silly and fun way to get into the Halloween spirit,” adding “Scooby-Doo fans will find lots to enjoy, as will their nostalgic parents.”
Plus, there’s more fun to be had in the spooky adventure, Scoob!
Mia’s Magic Playground S1 | 29 November | First on Showmax
Join Mia, Tilde, and Oskar on their animated adventures in Mia’s Magic Playground, the colourful show that’s heaps of fun for little ones, and teaches creative problem-solving and social-emotional skills along the way.
The series has 4/5 stars on Common Sense Media, where they say, “This vibrantly animated series is inspired by preschoolers’ sense of imagination, and it’s all kinds of fun to see how the characters’ creativity comes to life in the magical world they visit.”
Also on Showmax in November
Stronger | Die Uitnodiging S2
Made in Italy | Magda Louw | Mike en Mavis | My Kitchen Party S4 | Pin Code S1-2 | Red Room | Wakefield | A Walk Among the Tombstones
The Bang Bang Club | Happily | How to Do Stuff Good S1 | Once Upon a Time in London
The Adderall Diaries | Daniel en Gabriel | Monster In My Kas | Supa Strikas S6-7 | Treehouse Stories S2
Between Friends | Calculating Ada: Countess of Computing | Eternity | Go Buster S1 | Heavy | Long Street | Seven Days in Utopia | Verskietende Ster | Visa Vie
Dreamland | Game of Death | Jiu Jitsu | PA | Porselein | When I Grow Up
The 5th Quarter | Becoming | Catalyst – Bionic Revolution | Catalyst – The Mindfulness Experiment | Little Baby Bum | The Mighty Macs | Under the Stars of Paris
Art with Mati and Dada | Catch Hell | Decoding Annie Parker | Digley and Dazey S1 | Duisend Woorde | In Die Middel Van Nerens | The Stand In
Criminal Activities | Dierepraters S1
Please note that dates and titles are subject to change.