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What’s new on Showmax in April 2020
It’s a month made for binge-watching, and, no matter your taste in TV, Showmax has you covered with top-notch new series, movies, documentaries and kids’ shows.
Here is our pick of the highlights, followed by the listing in date order.
The Outsider S1 | Thursdays after 23:30, from 23 April
Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, HBO miniseries The Outsider follows police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn from Bloodline), who is still grieving the recent death of his own son when the mutilated body of 11-year-old Frankie Peterson is found in the Georgia woods.
The mysterious circumstances surrounding the horrifying crime lead Ralph to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo, nominated for two Oscars and two Golden Globes this year for Harriet), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.
Plum Pick cred: The cast also includes Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman (Ozark), who is also one of the directors. Creator Richard Price was also behind the Emmy-winning The Night Of and was a writer for The Wire and The Deuce, among others.
IMDB rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 82%
Sanditon S1 | Binge from 1 April
Sanditon’s a place that’s changing fast. This once-sleepy fishing village is transforming into a fashionable spa resort. Changing alongside it is the impulsive and unconventional Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams from Reign), who swaps her quiet rural home for the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make.
Plum Pick cred: Indiewire says, “Sanditon is sexy escapism for winter, tart and political, gorgeous and honest. Austen would have loved it.”
IMDB rating: 7.6/10
I’m Sorry S1 | First on Showmax | 1 April
Andrea is a seemingly confident comedy writer, wife, and mom, with zero filter and a tendency to put her foot in it. I’m Sorry comically exposes her inner immaturity and neuroses in this laugh-out-loud series, inspired by the life of creator and star Andrea Savage (Veep, Step Brothers, Episodes). Tom Everett Scott (13 Reasons Why) plays Andrea’s husband Mike, while Golden Globe winner Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, Edward Scissorhands), Golden Globe nominee Allison Tolman (Emergence, Fargo), Jason Mantzoukas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place), and Screen Actors Guild nominee Judy Greer (Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men) co-star in this series that scored 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Plum Pick cred: Los Angeles Times says, “This is a show about what happens when the compulsively comic mind meets the casually funny (or humorless) one, and what can seem the astonishing willingness of the professional comedian to violate taste and decorum.”
IMDB rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 90%
Hackerville | Binge from 9 April
HBO’s first European co-production, this subtitled German crime drama series is high on action and even higher on tension. Set on the front-line of one of the biggest modern-day threats, the series follows a German cyber-crimes investigator sent back to her hometown of Timisoara, Romania, to track down a brilliant hacker after an attack on a German bank. But what she finds may be more important than anyone expected, and could put innocents in the line of fire.
Plum Pick cred: Decider praises the series for “hitting all the prestige-TV bases: complex leads… big-screen-style cinematography and some compelling, potentially dark subtext… Tightly written… Crisply edited… Nicely understated… Impressive…”
IMDB rating: 7.5/10
Primal S1 | First on Showmax | 13 April
The Emmy and Annie-winning mega-brain behind Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, writer-director-producer Genndy Tartakovsky brings Adult Swim fans this brutal five-episode visual feast, with zero dialogue and gouts of raw emotion. A caveman at the dawn of evolution. A dinosaur on the brink of extinction. Bonded by tragedy, this unlikely friendship is their only hope in a violent, primordial world, where the first and only imperative is survival.
Plum Pick cred: Primal has an 8.7/10 score on IMDB and a 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Epic in every sense, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal is a stunning feat of visual storytelling.”
IMDB rating: 8.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
Insecure S4 | Mondays after 22:30 from 13 April
Created by A Black Lady Sketch Show exec producer Issa Rae and Black-ish exec producer Larry Wilmore, Insecure finds the funny in the black female experience. Written by Rae, and partly based on her acclaimed web series Awkward Black Girl, Insecure centres on Issa (Rae in a Golden Globe, Emmy and Critics Choice nominated performance) and Molly (Black Reel awards nominee Yvonne Orji), two friends dealing with life, love and the everyday challenges of young adulthood, along with the complex and often uncomfortable racial experiences they encounter.
Plum Pick cred: Rotten Tomatoes’ critics consensus calls the show “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.”
IMDB rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%
Shazam! (2019) | 19 April
Every kid dreams of having superpowers. Billy Batson is a teenage foster kid with a track record of running away and looking out for himself, until he takes a stand against the school bully for his foster sibling Freddy, an act that leads to a strange encounter with an ancient wizard and some er… unexpected physical changes. Like turning into grown-up superhero Shazam, and discovering he now comes with an a la carte menu of superpowers. Of course, with great power comes the inevitable great enemy, and Billy, aka Shazam, needs to get a handle on his abilities ASAP if he’s to fight the evil Dr Thaddeus Sivana.
Plum Pick cred: “An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre’s real power: joyous wish fulfillment,” says Rotten Tomatoes’ critics consensus. It’s a four-star Common Sense Media Selection, rated 12+ (with a warning for some scary and violent scenes). “This refreshingly delightful, lighthearted entry in the DC Extended Universe has enough charm for the whole family thanks to standout performances, broad humor, and positive messages.”
IMDB rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%
The Sisters Brothers (2018) | 9 April
Eli (Oscar nominee John C Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix) are very bad men, who are very good at what they do. And what they do is mostly killing. Infamous assassins in 1850s Oregon, they’re the last people chemist Hermann Kermit Warm (Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner Riz Ahmed from The Night Of) and scout John Morris (Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal) want on their trail, but with gold rush fever in the air, the West is a dangerous place to be a clever man.
Plum Pick cred: This award-winning Western drama is based on the novel by Patrick deWitt. Rotten Tomatoes calls The Sisters Brothers “a dangerous, witty, and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man.”
IMDB rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 87%
Crawl (2019) | 23 April
If the storm doesn’t get you… they will. And by “they”, we mean a pair of six-metre alligators who take up residence in the crawl space of a run-down house in Florida, following a Category 5 hurricane. With the house rapidly flooding, competitive swimmer Haley and her estranged father, Dave, find themselves trapped in the maze of the basement, where every shadow conceals the waiting jaws of a brutal apex predator.
This excellent schlock creature-feature horror with real monsters demands lots of popcorn, the lights off, and feet pulled up on the couch.
Plum Pick cred: “Crawl is a great example of a simple story exceedingly well-told,” says Vulture. “It’s a bloody adventure full of teeth-gnawing turns of fortune, mordant wit, vicious gator kills, and surprising tenderness — that clocks in at a blessedly fleet 87 minutes. It’s a perfect horror film for the summer, as much an ode to the cataclysmic, humbling aspects of Mother Nature as it is a love letter to father-daughter relationships.”
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 83%
Colette (2018) | 23 April
This sumptuous art-house drama is based on the true story of French novelist Colette, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. In late 19th-Century Paris, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Oscar nominee Keira Knightley) marries popular but penniless writer Willy (Golden Globe nominee Dominic West from The Affair and Les Misérables), who convinces her to ghost-write for him.
What follows is a series of best-selling semi-autobiographical novels about a bold country girl named Claudine, but despite (or because of) their success, Willy refuses to reveal their true authorship to the world. Colette is the story of an artist’s fight for creative ownership and one woman’s challenge to society’s gender norms and sexual mores.
Plum Pick cred: Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus says, “A brilliant match for its lead, Colette is a thoroughly entertaining biopic and an overdue testament to Keira Knightley’s underrated gifts.”
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 87%
McMillion$ | 1 April
Revenge, drugs, greed and Ronald McDonald… HBO’s brand-new true crime documentary series constructs a detailed account of the McDonald’s Monopoly game scam during the 90s that saw the contest’s promotion agency security head “Uncle Jerry” Jacobson and his accomplices rake in $24m in fraudulent profits. The story is told by the participants in the case, including the prizewinners and the FBI agents involved. The series is exec produced by Mark Wahlberg and Emmy-nominated Ballers producer Stephen Levinson.
Plum Pick cred: The Wall Street Journal calls it “a terrific story and a captivating, snowballing, six-part docuseries”.
IMDB rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 87%
Every year, hundreds of children of all ages take to the stage at the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest, a public speaking competition where they perform poetry and speeches inspired by the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the American Civil Rights Movement. Directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Amy Schatz (In the Shadow of the Towers) and executive produced by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book, True Detective), We Are The Dream covers the months leading up to the 40th annual festival, as schools across the city send their top-placing students to compete.
It is a portrait of young people from across the diverse cultures and religions of America who raise their voices about issues they care about, and of the unique community that celebrates and supports them.
Plum Pick cred: BlackGirlNerds praises the documentary as “adorable yet inspirational”.
The Case Against Adnan Syed | 10 April
Eighteen years after he was sentenced to life plus 30 years in jail, this true-crime investigation takes a fresh look into the case against Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The four-part HBO docuseries from Oscar, Emmy and Bafta-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil) follows on the success of the investigative journalism podcast Serial, which brought international attention to the trial and to Syed’s continued insistence that he did not kill Hae.
Plum Pick cred: “As testament to a tragedy, Berg’s documentary was wrenching. As a quiet indictment of true crime and its ghastly razzmatazz, it was devastating,” says Daily Telegraph (UK).
IMDB rating: 82%
The Amazing Race S31 | 10 April
It’s a reality showdown in the latest season of The Amazing Race, where eleven teams of contestants from past seasons of Survivor, Big Brother and The Amazing Race compete against one another in a race across the globe, from the US to Japan, Uganda, Croatia, The Netherlands and the UK. With host Phil Keoghan and the $1m prize waiting for them, the teams face challenges from a 120m free-fall into the Gletscherschlucht Glacier in Switzerland, to fishing for prawns in Vietnam to… karaoke?
Plum Pick cred: The Amazing Race has scored 145 award nominations and 41 wins, including 15 Emmys.
Uhambo (2019) | 6 April
In this local drama, Vusi Sibanyoni is a laidback taxi driver with a beautiful wife, a roving eye and a number of mistresses. He’s happy with his lot in life – until the husband of one of his lovers murders him. Unfortunately, Vusi does not realise that he is dead, and the only person who can see him is nyaope addict Zweli, who takes the drug to avoid seeing ghosts. Will Vusi learn his lesson in time or will he be forever doomed to eternal punishment?
How to Steal a Country (2020) | First on Showmax | 23 April
How to Steal a Country documents the Gupta family’s rise from flea market shoe salesmen to owners of a controversial business empire in South Africa in less than ten years. It’s a suspenseful detective story uncovering one huge bribery scandal after another, involving the top echelons of political power and several well-known multinational corporations.
Plum Pick cred: How to Steal a Country is the latest offering from multi-award-winning documentary filmmakers Rehad Desai (Everything Must Fall) and Mark J Kaplan (The Lion’s Trail).
Madam and Mercy S1 | Express from Mzansi Magic, Wednesdays from 8 April
Evodia “Madam” Mogase and her daughter, Mercy, totally stole the show when we first got to know them on The Real Housewives of Johannesburg (RHOJ), so fans of the glam pair were thrilled when it was announced late last year that Mzansi Magic would be giving them their very own spin-off show. Well hunnies, it’s here!
The RHOJ Season 1 favourites’ exclusion from Season 2 caused an outcry on Twitter but, as Madam promised on Instagram, “MADAM and MERCY are finally coming back.” Evodia, a former teacher and caterer, is well-known for her lavish lifestyle and collection of luxury cars, while Mercy is herself a businesswoman and model.
Paddington 2 (2018) | 9 April
Paddington 2 is not only a blockbuster hit, but also one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time, across all genres. The sequel to the 2014 movie centring on Michael Bond’s beloved character, it’s widely regarded as being even better than its predecessor, and Hugh Grant said in an interview with Vanity Fair: “I genuinely believe it may be the best film I’ve ever been in.”
Golden Globe winner Ben Whishaw voices Paddington, Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton plays Aunt Lucy, and Golden Globe nominee Michael Gambon is the voice of Uncle Pastuzo. Hugh Grant is the OTT villain, Phoenix Buchanan, Golden Globe nominee Hugh Bonneville and Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins play Mr and Mrs Brown, and Oscar nominee Dame Julie Walters is Mrs Bird.
Plum Pick cred: “Paul King did the unthinkable and made a sequel to his insta-classic, yet more charming, inventive and across-the-generations entertaining,” says The Guardian. “It’s humour with the citrus tang of top quality thick-cut marmalade.”
IMDB rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
Hey Duggee S3 | 30 April
The Squirrels are a group of fun-loving tots who meet at the clubhouse, with Duggee the dog in charge of piling on the fun and games to help them earn different badges on their adventures. Each episode includes a simple little lesson, and ends with a warm Duggee hug before the parents arrive to fetch their Squirrels.
This great, simple little show gets it so right. It’s lovely for the littlies, and its clever, silly and sometimes absurd humour will have even the grown-ups giggling. Each episode of this acclaimed British preschool series is just seven minutes long, making it the perfect bite-sized snack time entertainment for fans of Peppa Pig and Kiri & Lou.
Plum Pick cred: “This charming preschool series shows kids doing what they do best – learning life skills through play and simple problem-solving tactics,” says Common Sense Media, who gave it a four-star Common Sense Selection seal.
IMDB rating: 8.9/10
Watch while you wait
What else is coming?
Look out for our Plum Picks in bold.
- Will & Grace S1-2
All Night S1
The Hottie & The Nottie
- Chemo Club
Kom Ons Braai S14
LEGO Friends: Girls On A Mission S1-2
Run as One
The Boy Next Door
A Million Ways To Die In the West
LEGO Ninjago: Secrets of Forbidden Spinjitzu S1
The Last Word
- Robot Chicken S7-8
Army of One
Just Getting Started
Please note that dates and titles are subject to change.