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What’s new on Showmax in August 2020
Get a glimpse of the glamorous life of one of our country’s most talked-about music stars in reality series Life with Kelly Khumalo, exclusive to Showmax, before finding a new binge-watch obsession, whether that’s Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed show, I May Destroy You; the second season of horror-comedy series What We Do In the Shadows; HBO’s romcom anthology starring Anna Kendrick, Love Life; the latest season in the beautiful My Brilliant Friend saga; or new instalments of fan-favourites Vida, Future Man and The Walking Dead.
Here is our pick of the highlights, followed by the listing in date order.
Life with Kelly Khumalo S1 | Showmax Original | All episodes ready to binge-watch
A household name by 21, Kelly Khumalo is one of South Africa’s biggest music stars. She’s been named Best Female Artist at the South African Music Awards, sold millions of albums, opened for Grammy winner Missy Elliott, and has over 1.7m followers on Instagram alone.
But in recent years, her stardom has been dogged by controversies, from her turbulent relationship with her son’s father, hip hop star Jub Jub, and the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of her daughter’s father, Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa, to her recent “divorce” from her sister, Zandie.
Life With Kelly Khumalo offers an intimate glimpse of the woman behind the headlines: a single mother of two, juggling parenting with the build-up to the release of not just her new album, Undithatha Kancinci, but also her first gin, appropriately titled Controversy – both threatened by South Africa’s unprecedented Covid-19 lockdown.
“I’ve always been an authentic person,” says Kelly. “So this reality show is not so much about trying to explain myself or trying to win people over. I just want people to see me for who I am. All I can do is live my truth and let people be inspired by that.”
I May Destroy You | Wednesdays at 22:30 from 26 August | Same day as 1Magic
I May Destroy You centres on Arabella (BAFTA winner Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum), a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when her drink is spiked with a date-rape drug, she questions every element of her life.
I May Destroy You is #23 on Rotten Tomatoes Best TV of 2020 (So Far), with a 97% critics rating.
Including it in their roundup of the 10 Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far, The Hollywood Reporter called it, “The most ‘2020’ show of 2020”, adding its “representative of the mood of the moment — the combination of anger, confusion, uncertainty and unexpected humor; the exploration of intersections of gender and race, sexuality and violence, youth and hard-earned experience.”
What We Do In The Shadows S2 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 August
From multiple Emmy nominee Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords) and 2020 Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok), the hit mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows is a look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires who’ve lived together in New York for over 100 years – plenty of time to get on each other’s nerves.
Season 2 is the ninth best-reviewed show of 2020 so far on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 100% critics rating and a consensus that reads, “What We Do In the Shadows loses no steam in a smashing second season that savvily expands its supernatural horizons while doubling down on the fast flying fun.”
The series was nominated for two 2019 Emmys and has already been renewed for Season 3.
The Walking Dead S10 | Binge from 1 August
The Walking Dead is the definitive zombie show, having won 77 awards globally.
Season 10 has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus is, “A few changes in front of and behind the camera allow The Walking Dead to create space for compelling new stories and some seriously scary new adversaries.”
Norman Reedus and Danai Gurira returnas Daryl and Michonne, as does Melissa McBride as Carol. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is also still alive as Negan, but the bigger threat this season is two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (Harlots, Minority Report) as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, who wear the skins of zombies, and live among them…
Vida S3 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 August
The bar the Hernandez sisters inherited is booming and their love lives are actually flourishing — until they discover another long-buried family secret, which leaves them wondering if they can continue together as a family or if they should each move on alone — for good this time.
Vida has captivated the critics, earning itself a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes for all three seasons, and fourth place on Time Magazine’s Best of 2019 list for Season 2.
As AVClub says, “Vida is rightly lauded for its excellent performances, incisive writing, and commitment to centering queer, female and non-binary, and Latinx voices both in front of and behind the camera. But you know what? It’s also one of the best-looking shows on TV. The cinematography is top-tier. The direction is impeccable. It’s beautiful, immersive, often dreamlike filmmaking.”
Future Man S3 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 August
Four-time Teen Choice winner Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) stars as Josh Futturman, a janitor by day, gamer by night, who is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time in order to prevent the extinction of humanity at the hands of an imminent super-race invasion.
Seth Rogen plays Susan and is also a director and executive producer on the series, but the real stars are Eliza Coupe (Casual) and Derek Wilson (Rectify) as fan favourites Tiger and Wolf.
The sci-fi comedy has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Den of Geek hailing it as “a modern classic” that “ends with one of the funniest gags that I’ve ever seen a show go out on.”
Briarpatch S1 | Mondays from 3 August
Senator’s aide Allegra Dill (Rosario Dawson, Sin City) returns to her border-town Texas home to investigate the death of her sister – a local cop killed by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring her corrupt hometown to its knees.
Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) and Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class) co-star in this latest offering from Emmy nominated writer/producer Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot, Homecoming).
Briarpatch is #86 on Rotten Tomatoes Best TV Shows of 2020 (So Far), with a 78% critics rating and a 88% audience score.
Love Life | 21 August | First on Showmax
Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Pitch Perfect) stars as Darby in this eight-episode HBO romcom anthology series that traces the journey from first love to lasting love, and how the people we’re with along the way make us into who we are when we finally end up with someone forever.
“There is formidable charm and poignancy here because Darby seems so ordinary,” Globe and Mail says. “The high drama is never amplified and comes in small moments of joy and pain.”
Love Life has an 81% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and was recently renewed for a second season, which will centre on a whole new love story.
My Brilliant Friend S2: The Story of a New Name | Binge from 29 August
Set in Naples and based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novels, My Brilliant Friend is the story of a friendship spanning 60 years. Season 2, based on the second novel in Ferrante’s series, sees Lila stuck in a brutal marriage to the wealthy Stefano Caracci, while Elena dallies with suitor Antonio Cappuccio and explores her growing attraction to the magnetic Nino Sarratore.
My Brilliant Friend has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was recently renewed for a third season.
The Hollywood Reporter included it in their roundup of the 10 Best Shows of 2020 So Far, saying the series “portrays postwar young-womanhood in all its victories, devastations and frailties. This season’s story, told with seemingly no expense spared, is where the girls’ paths start to truly diverge, as one pursues dreams beyond their impoverished neighborhood and the other finds herself irretrievably chained to it.”
Bombshell (2019) | 10 August | Express after M-Net Sunday Night
Based on the true story, this blockbuster drama is superbly led by Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, and Oscar nominee Margot Robbie, all three of whom, Rolling Stone says, “come out blazing in this tale of how the women of Fox News brought down a predatory CEO,” adding, “It’s explosive entertainment that means to make a difference.“
Bombshell grossed almost $60m at the global box office. It won a 2020 Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Makeup, with Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Lead Actress (Charlize) and Best Supporting Actress (Margot).
Los Angeles Times calls it, “a ferociously entertaining dramatization of how an unlikely group of women exposed and deposed media titan Roger Ailes… as harrowing as it is triumphant in its depiction of the way it all came to pass.”
Ma (2019) | 6 August
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) kicks her Oscar-winning actress mould to the curb and stomps on it with her first starring role in this bonkers horror flick, with a little help from her best friend and former housemate, BAFTA-nominated writer/director Tate Taylor (The Help, The Girl on the Train), who hand-picked the stereotype-smashing role at her request.
The movie centres on a group of teens who luck out when middle-aged singleton Sue Ann (aka Ma) offers them her basement to hang out and party in. But just as it seems things couldn’t get sweeter, they begin to suspect there’s something a little off about Ma…
Produced by Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning producer Jason Blum (Get Out, Us, BlacKkKlansman), Ma grossed over $60m at the global box office, and scooped nominations at both the Teen Choice and Saturn Awards last year.
“Audiences will walk out with that good chiropractor feeling,” says San Francisco Chronicle, “the one that says, ‘Yes, I have been manipulated. I have been nothing but manipulated and pounded on for the last 90 minutes. And it was a very satisfying thing.’”
Destroyer (2018) | 13 August
Destroyer is a heavy-weight, neo-noir crime drama starring Oscar winner Nicole Kidman in a 2019 Golden Globe-nominated performance as a damaged ex-LAPD cop with a score to settle, some wrongs to right, and a history to set straight. As Variety says, “Nothing Nicole Kidman has done can prepare you for Destroyer”.
In a traditionally male-dominated genre, “Kidman’s talents are unleashed with unexpected fury,” says The Wrap, adding that Cannes and sundance award-winning director Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux) is “a cinematic force.”
The Verge calls Destroyer, “A tremendous piece of filmmaking, fueled by Kusama’s fearless creative vision and Kidman’s transformative performance.”
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile | 20 August
This biographical crime thriller about one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy, is based on the memoir The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, penned by Bundy’s former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall.
Zac Efron plays Bundy in a performance Variety calls, “controlled, magnetic, audacious, committed, and eerily right.”
Oscar nominee John Malkovich plays the presiding judge at Bundy’s trial, with Kaya Scodelario (Crawl) as Bundy’s wife Carole Ann Boone. The cast also includes Golden Globe nominee Lily Collins (Les Misérables); Oscar nominee Haley Joel Osment (Future Man); Metallica frontman James Hetfield and Golden Globe winner Jim Parsons (Sheldon in Big Bang Theory).
Love Island UK S6 | 5 episodes every Saturday from 8 August
For South African fans dying to see the latest season of the BAFTA-winning reality show Love Island UK, the long wait is finally over. And it’s all the more delicious because this is the season that was filmed at a villa in Constantia, Cape Town.
Laura Whitmore of Strictly Come Dancing fame is this season’s new host for the drama-packed reality show that sees single hopefuls complete tasks, couple up and get voted out week by week.
The Addams Family | Express after M-Net, Sunday 23 August
The world’s kookiest family is coming to town, and this poor, little New Jersey suburb has no idea what’s about to hit it. When Wednesday Addams befriends the daughter of reality TV host Margaux Needler, who’s hell-bent on building the perfect planned community, the Addams family find themselves way out of their league when it comes to “Assimilation”.
This animated kids’ version of the cult classic features an all-star voice cast, including Charlize Theron as Morticia; Oscar Isaac (Star Wars’ Poe Dameron) as Gomez; Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) as Wednesday; and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as the death-defying, gene-pool-skimming Pugsley.
PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Movie | 20 August
This mini-movie special spin-off of the hugely popular PAW Patrol series is sure to delight little ones in search of high adventure.
Mighty Pups sees our favourite PAW Patrol pups gain superpowers after a meteor crashes to Earth – but will their new abilities be enough to defeat the nefarious Mayor Humdinger and his nephew Harold? Marshall and the team have saved Adventure Bay before – now it’s up to the pups to save the world as this mighty adventure unfolds!
PAW Patrol Mighty Pups has a four-star rating on Common Sense Media, where it’s recommended for ages 3+.
The Endless River | 17 August
A young waitress (SAFTA winner Crystal-Donna Roberts from Arendsvlei) welcomes her husband home to the small South African town of Endless River after his four-year jail sentence. At first it appears their plans for a new life together are finally being realised. But when the family of a foreigner living on a nearby farm (three-time Cesar nominee Nicolas Duvauchelle) is brutally murdered, the young woman and the grieving widower begin gravitating towards each other. Trapped in a cycle of violence and bloodshed, the two form an unlikely bond seeking to transcend their mutual anger, pain and loneliness.
Directed by festival favourite Oliver Hermanus (Moffie, Skoonheid, Shirley Adams), The Endless River screened in competition at Venice.
The Essentials | 17 August
The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating effects on humanity across the globe, but it hasn’t stopped us from standing up to unite against an invisible enemy.
This brand-new documentary follows the lockdown experiences of ordinary South Africans, following filmmaker Dirk Smit’s journey as he discovers glimmers of hope, creativity and resilience in South African people.
The Train of Salt and Sugar | 20 August
The Train of Salt and Sugar was Mozambique’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Film in 2018 and won Best Director at Cairo International Film Festival, Best Director at Carthage, and Best Film at Joburg Film Festival, where the jury noted the film’s triumph “in showing the resilience of the human spirit.”
Set in northern Mozambique in the 1980s, the story follows a train transporting passengers and goods 500 miles through guerrilla-held territory during the Mozambican civil war. As rivalries form between the soldiers of the train’s military guard and friendships are forged between the passengers, violence threatens both on board and from the rebels. And with the threat of battle looming, romance blossoms against the stunning backdrop of the African bush.
Mother to Mother | 24 August
Twenty-seven years after American Fulbright Scholar Amy Biehl was brutally murdered in Gugulethu, SAFTA-winning documentarian Sara CF de Gouveia (The Sound of Masks) takes a closer look at South African literary giant Doctor Sindiwe Magona’s powerful novel Mother to Mother, and at a society that has lived, and continues to live, with its story.
Magona’s fictional lament, one mother to another, gave rise to the acclaimed one-woman stage-play directed by Janice Honeyman and performed internationally by South African singer, actress and playwright Thembi Mtshali, who reprises her performance for the documentary.
With Magona’s novel now part of the South African school curriculum, the documentary asks today’s youth a pivotal question – has democracy brought meaningful change to their lives?
Hunter Killer | 31 August
SAFTA-winning South African director Donovan Marsh (iNumber Number) makes his Hollywood directorial debut with this high-tension action thriller starring Gerard Butler (300), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Best Original Song Oscar winner, rapper/actor Common (Selma).
Hunter Killer follows American submarine Captain Joe Glass, who is searching for a vessel in distress when he accidentally stumbles upon an attempted Russian coup, plunging him into a high-stakes rescue mission with an elite squad of Navy Seals in a bid to prevent WWIII.
What else is on?
Look out for more Plum Picks in bold.
- 21 And Over
Big Papi Needs A Job S1 | Ready To Love S1 | Reckoning S1 | Rig 45 S2 | Yoko S1 | Corn and Peg S1
Droomdag | Please Step In
My Father’s War | On the Basis of Sex | The Recce
Eet Kreef! Herleef vanaf Sunset Studios | Sex and Violence | Good Witch S5-6
- Maak My Famous S2
Agent 2000 | Alpha and Omega | Seng’khathele S2 | Rise of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S1
Playing with Fire | Balbesit
Papa Penny Ahee S4 | Umphefumlo | Wallykazam S1
Made in Mara
Please note that dates and titles are subject to change.