Ring the changes in the new year and try something you haven’t done before. Maybe a doccie about a sporting icon? Maybe a comedy series featuring two 31-year-olds pretending to be teens? Perhaps a South African movie about a young man very much out of place in the middle of a war? It’s all here on Showmax.
The Real Housewives of Durban | First on Showmax | Weekly episodes from 29 January
Get a glimpse into the glam lives of six Ethekwini queens with business empires, lavish lifestyles, high fashion and parenting challenges.
Nonkanyiso Conco, bride of former President Jacob Zuma, owns beauty brand Laconco Naturals; Ayanda Ncwane, the widow of gospel legend Sfiso Ncwane, is CEO of Ncwane Communications and president of The Africa Gospel Awards; Sorisha Naidoo, a former Miss India South Africa, imports around 25 beauty products through her company SSBO, is married to billionaire Vivian Reddy; Kgomotso Ndungane, wife of former Springbok Odwa Ndungane, owns an events and floral business called Oak Celebrations and recently launched her own luxury home, body and bath product line, Lelapa; Nonku Williams, divorced mom of three, is founder of Ashes to Beauty Winery and has business interests in construction; and Annie Ludick, planning her wedding to businessman Kgolo Mthembu, owns Durban’s luxury beauty salon Annaesthetic, as well as an events and marketing company and a dance agency.
New episodes arrive every Friday night only on Showmax from 29 January 2021.
PEN15 S2 | First on Showmax | Binge from 8 January
PEN15 is an R-rated traumedy set in middle school as it really happened in the year 2000. Real-life 30-somethings Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine play versions of themselves as 13-year-old outcasts, surrounded by actual 13-year-olds.
Season 2 is an even bigger hit than its Emmy-nominated first season, with a 93% rating on Metacritic, where it’s #1 on the top-scoring TV shows of 2020. Season 2 also has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where it’s currently #3 on their list of the best TV shows of 2020.
As The Washington Post put it, “If one has to choose only one millennial-made TV series that ventures into adolescent angst in the AOL era, please make it this one.”
Euphoria Special Ep1-2 | First on Showmax | Part 2 express from the US on 25 January
Zendaya’s triple-Emmy-winning HBO drama series Euphoria put a surprise in our Christmas stockings at the end of 2020 with Trouble Don’t Last Always, the first episode of a two-part special bridging the COVID-19-enforced gap as we wait for Season 2.
The first episode picked up directly after the Season 1 finale, following Rue into Christmas in the aftermath of the train station and falling back into old habits. In Part 2, coming to Showmax express from the US in January, we’ll finally get Jules’s side of the story and catch up with her over the holidays as she reflects on the year behind her.
Vikings S6B | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 January 2021
In the second half of the final season of HISTORY’s breakout TV series, all your questions will be answered. Is Bjorn still alive? What happened to Floki? Who will take the throne of Kattegat? And which of our favourite characters is going to die next?
After six seasons, Vikings still has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.5/10 rating on IMDb, where it’s on their Top Rated TV of All-Time list.
Fargo S4 | Same day as M-Net, Tuesdays at 23:30 from 12 January
A spin-off of the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning classic movie, Fargo has won three Golden Globes, six Emmys and a Peabody Award. It’s #36 on IMDb’s Top Rated TV list, with an 8.9/10 score, and holds a 92% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Season 4, which is Complex’s TV show of the year, is set in Kansas City in 1950, with four-time Emmy-winning comedian Chris Rock starring as Loy Cannon, the head of the African American crime family who trades sons with the head of the Italian mafia as part of a tenuous truce.
“Fargo, as in past seasons, manages to be both more dramatic, and more comic, than almost any other show on TV right now,” says NPR.
The Good Lord Bird S1 | Binge from 15 January
Four-time Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke (Stockholm) stars in The Good Lord Bird as militant slavery abolitionist John Brown, who is credited with instigating the American Civil War. It’s told from the point of view of Henry “Onion” Shackleford, an enslaved boy who joins Brown’s family of abolitionist soldiers.
Onion is played by rising star Joshua Caleb Johnson, who co-stars along with Grammy winner Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting, Hamilton). The Good Lord Bird is #5 on Rolling Stone’s list of the best TV of the year and has a 97% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Curb Your Enthusiasm S10 | Binge from 1 January
After a dry spell of just one precious season in the past nine years, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David is back to rain on everyone’s parade with Season 10 of the grand-daddy of cringe comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Plus, Curb is turning 100 (episodes that is), which might explain why Larry’s crankier than ever.
The new season promises to take on Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Make America Great Again and #MeToo, but they still have less to worry about than Larry’s ex, Cheryl (Emmy nominee Cheryl Hines), as Larry sets his sights on reuniting with her.
Season 10 was nominated for four Emmys, including Best Comedy, and holds a 95% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine S7 | Binge from 1 January
Police station comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns for its seventh season, which sees Holt going back to the beat, while Jake and Amy consider starting a family.
The beloved ensemble cast is led by Golden Globe and Emmy winner Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street).
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a 95% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s won two Golden Globes, two Emmys, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. In 2020, Season 6 received nominations for two Emmys and a GLAAD Media Award, among others. It’s been renewed for an eighth season.
Black Monday S1-2 | 1 January
If you don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the state of the world’s economy right now, trust us, laughing is healthier. Set in 1987, Black Monday is a comedy about a motley crew of ambitious underdogs who cause the worst stock market crash in Wall Street history.
Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) was nominated for 2019 and 2020 Emmys for his starring role as the high-rolling Mo, and won two Black Reel Awards, with Regina Hall (The Hate You Give) nominated for a further two. Emmy nominees Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (The Boys) executive produce (alongside Cheadle) and also directed the pilot.
Wall Street Journal calls Black Monday “very funny, very clever about incorporating 1980s cultural references, and very vulgar.” Black Monday has been renewed for a third season.
Why Women Kill S1 | 1 January
This ten-episode anthology series follows the stories of three women, one house, and multiple infidelities. Though separated by decades, picture perfect 60s couple Beth and Rob, 80s socialite Simone and her third husband Karl, and modern day attorney Taylor and her open-marriage husband Eli share a Pasadena mansion – and a propensity for keeping secrets.
Globe and Mail calls it “bonkers”, “brilliant” and “recommended”.
Room 104 S4 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 January 2021
Room 104 is a cult HBO anthology series which tells tales of the characters who pass through a bog standard hotel room. The genre, the characters and even the era change each half-hour episode – perfect for anyone burnt-out on bingeing. The fourth and final season even includes animated and musical episodes.
Look out for Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Harvey Guillén (What We Do In The Shadows), Kevin McKidd (Grey’s Anatomy), Gary Cole (The Good Fight), and Mark Duplass (The Morning Show) – among many others.
After four seasons, Room 104 still has an 88% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Collider calls Season 4 “the show’s most ambitious, surreal season yet.”
Charmed S2 | 1 January
This teen favourite reboot of the popular original series follows three sisters, Macy, Mel and Maggie who, following the death of their mother, discover they are a powerful trio of good witches, known as The Charmed Ones. With the help of their guide, a Whitelighter, the three must embrace their destiny to protect the innocent from the forces of evil.
The series was nominated for two 2019 Teen Choice Awards as well as a 2019 Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Television Series. Charmed has been renewed for a third season.
Knives Out | 25 January
The unexpected death of a wealthy patriarch brings out the worst in his eccentric family as the arrival of a shrewd detective makes everyone a suspect in this acerbically funny and deliciously twisty murder mystery.
Knives Out earned writer-director Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) a 2020 Oscar nomination and a BAFTA nomination for Best Screenplay. The film was also nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 2020 Golden Globes, where Emmy and BAFTA nominee Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas (No Time To Die) also nabbed Best Comedy Actor nominations.
The all-star cast also includes Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson and Chris Evans.
Dolittle | 7 January
Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) stars as Doctor Dolittle, the famous vet who can talk to animals. Called upon to save the Queen, Dolittle sets off on an adventure across the seas, aided by his animal companions and young apprentice Tommy (newcomer Harry Collett), but Dolittle’s lifelong rival, Dr. Blair Müdfly (Michael Sheen, The Good Fight) is hot on their tails.
Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas and Oscar winner Jim Broadbent co-star, along with an astonishing voice case that includes Oscar winners Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, and Marion Cotillard, and Oscar nominees Ralph Fiennes and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), and more.
Waves | 18 January
Waves is a critically acclaimed drama that traces the journey of a suburban family – led by a well-intentioned but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of loss.
It’s won several awards, including a 2020 Black Reel, three African-American Film Critics Association Awards and three Hollywood Critics Association Awards.
Waves has an 84% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Wrap saying the film “provocatively examines black masculinity and the burden of living up to a societal standard, as well as a parental one.”
Haunt | 18 January
Calling all slasher movie fans: Fangoria Horror Hall of Famer Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) has teamed up with Saturn Award-winning writer-directors Bryan Woods and Scott Beck (who wrote the Oscar-nominated film A Quiet Place) for a scarefest that’ll have Saw fans cheering.
Haunt follows a group of friends whose Halloween party night leads them to an extreme haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. Sounds like a blast, right? But the night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that not all nightmares are imaginary.
Classic movies to binge-watch
Look out for a host of classics, including Oscar winners like Peter Jackson’s King Kong, with Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody, and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, with Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley; Oscar nominees like Steven Spielberg’s The Post (1 Jan), with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, the animation Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (7 Jan) and Ridley Scott’s American Gangster (18 Jan), with Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Chiwetel Ejiofor; the box office phenomenon Jurassic World (11 Jan), with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard; AFI Movie of the Year The 40 Year-Old Virgin (25 Jan), with Steve Carell and Catherine Keener; the BAFTA-nominated The Butler (21 Jan), starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey; the Toronto winner Desierto (11 Jan), starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan; and the multi-award-winning kung fu classic Divergence (14 Jan), with Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands).
Moffie | First on Showmax | 1 January
Currently on the longlist for the Golden Globe’s Foreign Film category, Moffie won the Film Critics’ Special Jury Prize at the 2020 Dublin International Film Festival and has a 100% critics’ rating from Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety raving, “South African auteur Oliver Hermanus makes his masterpiece with this brutal but radiant story of young gay desire on the Angolan war front… establishing him quite plainly as South Africa’s most vital contemporary filmmaker… Both a shiver-delicate exploration of unspoken desire and a scarringly brilliant anatomy of white South African masculinity. It fair takes your breath away.”
Adapted from an autobiographical 2006 novel by André Carl van der Merwe, Moffie is set in South Africa in 1981. Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) must complete two years of compulsory military service, fighting on the Angolan border. But that’s not the only danger Nicholas faces. He must survive the brutality of the army – something that becomes even more difficult when a connection is sparked between him and a fellow recruit.
Fiela se Kind | 7 January
In this new adaptation of Dalene Matthee’s beloved novel, a coloured woman living in the arid Karoo takes in a lost white child and raises him as her own. Nine years later, the boy is removed and forced to live in the Knysna Forest with a family of woodcutters who claim he is theirs.
Fiela Se Kind won Best Film at the 2020 SAFTAs and the Audience Choice at Silwerskerm. It also took home Best Script at the SAFTAs, Best Score at Silwerskerm, and Best Actress for Zenobia Kloppers (Suidooster) at the South African Independent Film Festival.
Mzali Wami S1 | Same time as Mzansi Magic from 4 January
Joyce Khaphayi’s daughter was stolen at Park Station 20 years ago by an unknown woman. Two decades on, Joyce runs an orphanage, but finds herself tangled in a cruel criminal scheme to sell girls, only to discover that one of the girls is her own long-lost daughter, and that the woman who raised her will do anything to get her back.
Local comedy | First on Showmax from 14 January
Showmax continues to strengthen its selection of top SA stand-up comedy shows from Comics Choice winners like Loyiso Gola (State of the Nation) and Celeste Ntuli (Black Tax), and Naledi, Vita and Fleur du Cap winner Marc Lottering (Hashtag Lottering),
There are four new instalments of The Live Series to look forward to as well, showcasing the talents of Lottering, Barry Hilton, Jason Goliath and Joey Rasdien.
Arendsvlei S3 | Daily, 24hrs express from kykNET from 14 January
This addictive telenovela is centred around the fictional Arendsvlei High School on the Cape Flats. While the Cupidos and the Abrahams face more drama than ever, the multiple-SAFTA-winning show continues to go from strength to strength this season, with an extra episode every week. Look out for exciting new faces joining the cast this season.
Slot S1 | Weekly from 12 January, same day as kykNET
Rolanda Marais (Trackers) leads the cast of Slot as a brilliant psychiatrist who develops a drug able to penetrate the subconscious of patients to access underlying trauma. Because the drug is illegal, she only administers it in secret breakaway therapy sessions. What she doesn’t realise is that the following four days will irrevocably change her life and that of her three patients.
“Slot is a riveting thriller that will definitely keep viewers on the edge of their seats,” says SAFTA-winning director Jozua Malherbe (Griekwastad).
The Sound of Masks | 18 January
In The Sound of Masks, Atanásio Nhussi, a compelling storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, takes us on a visually dramatic journey through Mozambique’s past and present, tracing the rhythms that give us life.
This feature-length documentary premiered at IDFA 2018 and was selected for Hot Docs 2019, among other top festivals. The Sound of Masks won Best Cinematography – Feature Documentary at the 2020 SAFTAs and was also nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Best Editing. It was also named Best Feature Documentary at the 2019 Plateau International Film Festival.
Boer Soek ‘n Vrou S13 | Weekly express from kykNET from 22 January
One of South Africa’s favourite dating shows, Boer Soek ‘n Vrou has been going since 2008. Over 12 hugely successful seasons, the show has brought many of its participants love, marriage and families, and earned a devoted following from viewers eager to see romance bloom in farming communities across the country.
From Kroonstad to Clanwilliam, Laingsburg to Lichtenburg, Season 13’s fresh crop of ten eligible farmers, aged between 24 and 52, are all searching for single ladies ready for love and life as a farmer’s wife.
Due to COVID-19, the show’s annual October release had to be postponed last year, but it’s finally here… with a brand-new presenter! The lovely Marciel Hopkins – former Miss SA finalist, international model, life coach and motivational speaker – will be guiding the five hopefuls who received the most digital love letters through their romantic journey.
eHostela S2 | Express from Mzansi Magic weekly from 3 January
Set in the heart of KwaZulu Natal’s KwaMashu township, eHostela tells the story of two sons whose bond is bound in secrets and sealed by guns.
Wiseman Mncube won a 2020 SAFTA Award for Best Actor for Season 1.
Tiger | First on Showmax | Express from the US | 11 January & 18 January
HBO’s eagerly anticipated Tiger Woods documentary, Tiger, offers a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of the global golfing icon. The series paints an intimate picture of the prodigy whose dedication and obsession with the game of golf brought him unimaginable fame and success, but also led him down a dark, spiraling path, and ultimately, to his legendary comeback, culminating in his victory at the 2019 Masters.
The two-part documentary features never-before-seen-footage and interviews with those who know Tiger Woods best, including golf legend Sir Nick Faldo; Tiger’s first true love, Dina Parr; and Rachel Uchitel, the woman at the center of the sex scandal that forever altered Tiger’s world.
Temptation Island USA S2 | 4 January
Reality show Temptation Island sees couples travel to a tropical paradise where they put their relationship to the ultimate test: living separately while dating singles looking for love.
A reboot of the Teen Choice-nominated 2001 reality series, Season 2 finds four new couples – including Miss Universe US Virgin Islands 2017, Esonica Veira – testing their love in Maui, Hawaii.
What else is on?
Look out for our Plum Picks in bold!
- Die Heuwels Fantasties: 2021 Live
Filthy Rich S1 | Next S1 | The Break-Up
- Bhai’s Cafe
An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success | An American Girl: Lea to the Rescue | The Barefoot Bandits S1 | Wife Swap S13
Mnakwethu Happily Ever After S2
Left Behind | Net Koffie S1 | R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: The Cabinet of Souls | Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas | The Ranakas S4 | Vampire Academy
- Also for Grownups: Emerging Voices in South Africa Animation
After the Wedding | Barbie Fairytopia | Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow | Ingane Yam S1 | The Current War | The Space: Theatre of Survival
Barbie: The Princess and the Pop Star | City of Lies | Day Zero: A city without water | Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens of Heavenly Mountain | The Fast and the Fierce | Klikkerland: Lag ’n slag!/Laugh Out Loud! | Line Walker | The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson | Shaolin Kung Fu Kids | Sing Along with Barbie | Southpaw
- Kingdoms of Fire | Ice and Fairy Tales – Afrikaaans version
Barbie Mariposa and her Butterfly Fairy Friends | Barbie Mariposa and the Fairy Princess | Vêr in die Wêreld: Iceland
American Ultra | Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper | The Cuddler | I was Blind | Miracle | Lost Tongue | The Poison Rose | Pretty’s Daughter | Shaka’s Mask | Slumber Party | Unknown No | Uye & Kholi
A Score to Settle | Sleeping With Other People | This is 40
Cruel Peter | I Still Believe | The Great Wall
Please note that dates and titles are subject to change.