The plum picks in this roundup are gathering flies. View the freshest plums here:
What’s new on Showmax in South Africa in December 2020
Showmax is releasing a new Christmas special every day until 27 December, including over 30 international movies, Christmas specials of some of your favourite shows, and eight local twists on everyone’s favourite season. See the full collection here.
And if Christmas ain’t your thing, there’s plenty of non-festive A+ international and local content to keep you – well, content.
Here are our highlights, followed by the listing in date order. Happy December, and happy streaming!
Herb & Moon | First on Showmax | 5 December
Directed by SAFTA winner Tim Greene (Skeem, Hard Copy), Herb & Moon follows Herbert (SAFTA winner Robert Whitehead from Legacy), who plans to break out of his retirement home to give his granddaughter her Christmas gift.
Posbus 1 | First on Showmax | 1 December
Directed by Silwerskerm winner Nico Scheepers (Die Maan Val Bewusteloos), Posbus1 follows Ben (Carel Trichardt from Rhodes), who receives thousands of mails from hopeful children after his address is given out as Santa’s. When his wife dies, he burns every letter except one, which sends him on a journey of healing.
Somerkersfees | First on Showmax | 1 December
Directed by SAFTA nominee Jaco Bouwer, Somerkersfees follows one dysfunctional family’s Christmas beach holiday as they come to terms with each other. The Christmas movie stars the likes of Milan Murray (Liewe Kersfeesvader, Waterfront), Edwin van der Walt (Wonderlus) and SAFTA winner Lionel Newton (Triomf).
Euphoria, Robot Chicken, Last Christmas and more
Sneaking some grown-up time? Catch Emmy winner Zendaya in HBO’s Euphoria Christmas Special from 7 December, or dive into the weird and wonderful with Adult Swim’s 2020 Emmy nominee Robot Chicken: Santa’s Dead (Spoiler Alert) Holiday Murder Thing Special, or cuddle up from 21 December with the blockbuster romcom-drama movie Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians).
And now, for some non-festive-season shows and movies!
Lebo M – Coming Home | Showmax Original | first batch of episodes 2 December; second batch 9 December; third batch 16 December 2020
He’s the first voice you hear in The Lion King. He’s a Grammy winner and a Tony nominee. Now, the Soweto-born legend is back in South Africa with his latest production: the Showmax Original reality series Lebo M – Coming Home.
The 10-part series promises fans a front-row seat to his career as he creates new music with the likes of Zahara, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Judith Sephuma, and his daughter Refi, but it also turns the spotlight onto his biggest dream: bringing his family together.
Along the way, he’ll share the stories of his life: how he got his musical break as a nine-year-old, his memories of the 1976 Soweto uprising, his “accidental” exile in Lesotho as a teenager, his time living on the streets in the USA, and how he’s stayed clean since overcoming his alcohol addiction, as well as insider stories from his legendary career.
Industry S1 | First on Showmax | Binge episodes 1-4 from 2 December 2020, with weekly episodes every Wednesday
Industry is an exhilarating dive into the world of international finance, as seen through the eyes of ambitious twenty-somethings struggling to secure their futures. The BBC-HBO series follows a group of young graduates competing for a limited set of permanent positions at a top investment bank in London – but the boundaries between colleague, friend, lover, and enemy soon blur as they immerse themselves in a company culture defined as much by sex, drugs, and ego as it is by deals and dividends. As members of the group rise and fall, they must decide whether there’s more to life than the bottom line.
Created by former bankers, the eight-episode drama series lists Golden Globe winner Lena Dunham (Girls) as director of the first episode.
The Third Day | Mondays from 23:30 from 7 December, same day as M-Net
Co-created by Dennis Kelly (Utopia), this tense mix of mystery, thriller and drama is divided into two parts. In the first half, a man (Jude Law from The New Pope) visits a mysterious island off the British coast and discovers a group of inhabitants intent on preserving their home at any cost. In the second half, a strong-willed outsider (Naomie Harris) comes to the island seeking answers — but instead triggers a battle to decide its fate.
Time praised the six-part HBO thriller as “a riveting psychological thriller and a stunning showcase for Jude Law…eerily beautiful.”
Power Book II: Ghost S1 | Binge the first five episodes from 1 December
Power Book II: Ghost picks up shortly after the earth-shattering events of Power (binge all six seasons on Showmax) as Tariq St Patrick (BET Award nominee Michael Rainey Jr.) grapples with a new world order: his father dead and his mother, Tasha, facing charges for the murder her son committed.
Executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (who also produced Power and For Life), Power Book II: Ghost has already been renewed for a second season. “If you liked Power, you’ll like this,” says Decider. Which is more than enough for us.
For Life S1 | Binge from 1 December
For Life was nominated as Outstanding Drama at the 2020 Black Reel Awards, where star Nicholas Pinnock was nominated for Best Actor for his performance as a prisoner who becomes a lawyer and fights to overturn his life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.
Executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (Power), For Life has 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.”
The Good Fight S4 | Binge from 1 December
Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski in an Emmy-nominated role) and Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo in a Critics’ Choice nominated role) continue the fight for justice in The Good Wife spin-off series, The Good Fight.
Season 4 finds Reddick/Boseman/Lockhart navigating a very different landscape. After they lost
their biggest client and their founding partner’s name was tarnished, they were
forced to accept an offer by a huge multinational law firm, STR Laurie, to be a small subsidiary.
Suddenly all of their decisions can be second-guessed by the giant firm that is literally on top of
Nominated for Outstanding Drama at the 2020 Television Critics’ Association Awards, the seven-episode fourth season has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Bold Type S4 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 December
The Bold Type follows the lives and loves of three young women who work at a fashion magazine. Beneath the glam, this forthright millennial-favourite drama series is a story of real friends sticking together, working their butts off and finding their way in the world as young adults.
Aisha Dee, Katie Stevens and Meghann Fahy have all been nominated for Teen Choice Awards as Kat, Jane and Sutton respectively. Emmy nominee Melora Hardin (The Office) plays Scarlett’s editor Jacqueline. The third season ended on a bombshell, so we can’t wait to see how the women pick up the pieces.
The Bold Type has a 95% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an 8/10 score on IMDb. Glamour calls The Bold Type “one of the most delightful shows on TV,” while The New Yorker says it’s “a show to warm a jaded heart.”
A Million Little Things S2 | 1 December
Drama, comedy, romance and friendship come together in this story of a group of friends who are drawn together after a tragedy claims the life of one of their own. A Million Little Things has an 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Affair S1-5 | Binge from 1 December
A struggling novelist and a young waitress strike up an extramarital relationship, but perspective is everything in this tale of instant attraction told from the contradictory points of view of the people drawn into a complex web of intrigue and deceit that follows.
Now on its fifth season, The Affair has won three Golden Globes: Best Drama and Best Actress for both Ruth Wilson (His Dark Materials) and Maura Tierney (E.R.). The series also stars Dominic West (The Wire) and Joshua Jackson (Little Fires Everywhere, Dawson’s Creek).
The Affair holds an 86% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
1917 | 17 December
Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning director of Skyfall, Spectre and American Beauty, brings his singular vision to his World War I epic, 1917, which won three 2020 Oscars and two 2020 Golden Globes, for Best Drama and Best Director.
At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake, are given a seemingly impossible mission: they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers – Blake’s own brother among them.
1917 is IMDb’s 98th highest-rated film of all time, and has an 89% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which says: “Hard-hitting, immersive, and an impressive technical achievement, 1917 captures the trench warfare of World War I with raw, startling immediacy.
The Song of Names | 10 December
The Song of Names tells the story of Jewish violin prodigy Dovidl and his adoptive brother, Martin, who are bound together as World War II changes their lives forever. On the eve of his first solo concert, Dovidl disappears without a trace. Forty years on, a clue in the performance of a young virtuoso sets Martin on a path to find his childhood friend.
The film stars Oscar nominees Tim Roth and Clive Owen. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) adapted Norman Lebrecht’s Whitbread-winning novel for director François Girard (The Red Violin). The Los Angeles Times called it “a profound, affecting and beautifully told chronicle of faith, family, obsession and the language of music.”
A Rainy Day in New York | 28 December
This romantic comedy directed by Woody Allen follows a young couple arriving in New York for a weekend, where they are met with bad weather and a series of misadventures.
Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning star alongside Jude Law, six-time Golden Globe nominee Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) and Selena Gomez.
Rogue | 3 December
In Rogue, Teen Choice winner and People’s Choice nominee Megan Fox (Transformers) stars as Samantha O’Hara, who leads a team of mercenaries on a mission to rescue a group of kidnapped girls. When their plan goes south, the mercenaries find themselves out of ammo and lost in the bush, having to defend themselves against both the kidnappers and an angry lion.
MJ Bassett (Power, Strike Back) directs the action-adventure film, which also features South African stars Jessica Sutton (Motherland: Fort Salem), Sisanda Henna (Trackers), Brandon Auret (Still Breathing), Kenneth Fok (Warrior) and Greg Kriek (The Recce).
This Showmax Original SA-UK film is a co-production between MultiChoice, Capstone and Mannequin.
As The Guardian wrote about Rogue, “If hit Netflix documentary Tiger King had you championing the big cat cause, here’s the animal rights-respecting action-thriller you should watch next…” They called it “an energetic action thriller” where “the action rattles along.”
Meisies Wat Fluit | First on Showmax | 3 December
Henk and Sofia fell in love too soon, got married too soon, and now they’re getting divorced too soon. As soon as their divorce is over, they end up in bed together – for the first time in over a year. They couldn’t make the marriage work, but maybe a new type of relationship could? As long as they follow the rules…
Parow to Parowfest: The Jack Parow Story | 10 December
Since exploding onto the South African music scene with his smash hit Cooler as Ekke in 2010, Jack Parow managed to achieve something very few other local artists have been able to do: attract a following overseas. This film documents the path of Jack Parow (Zander Tyler), from growing up in the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the moment where he steps on stage at his own festival to thousands of screaming fans in Utrecht, more than 10 000km from home.
Her Mask | 3 December
As the lead in Darrell Roodt’s horror Siembamba, Reine Swart was nominated as Best Actress at both the SAFTAs and the Africa Movie Academy Awards, among other festivals. Now she steps into the director’s chair for a horror of her own: Her Mask (aka Heks).
The edge-of-your-seat film is about a grieving British girl who travels to South Africa to unravel her murdered mother’s secrets. “We thought about the concept ‘everyone wears a mask’ in 2019,” says Reine. “Little did we know that everyone was literally going to wear masks in 2020.”
Showbiz Kids | First on Showmax | 7 December
Written and directed by former Broadway child star Alex Winters (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Showbiz Kids is a raw look at Hollywood and the toll that early success can have on young professionals.
Highlighting the shared experiences of prominent former child stars, the documentary features intimate, revealing interviews with the likes of Henry Thomas (Elliott in E.T.), Mara Wilson (Matilda in Matilda),
Evan Rachel Wood, Jada Pinkett Smith and Milla Jovovich.
Showbiz Kids has a 96% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales | 3 December
Missing travel? Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales will transport you to three of earth’s iconic wildernesses: Yellowstone National Park in America; the Black Forest in Germany; and the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. These are lands where waters boil, trees talk and the skies light up as if they are on fire. Lands where bears and wolves rule, where the planet never forgets to remind us of its power. Timeless lands that reveal what life was like a million years ago.
Presenter Bonné de Bod and film director Susan Scott previously collaborated on STROOP – Journey Into The Rhino Horn War, which won over 30
awards around the world. “Bonné and I were absolutely gutted after making STROOP and felt like we needed to find the wonder that is out there in the natural world,” says Susan. Not that filming Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales turned out to be a holiday for them: they filmed in extremes – from temperatures bordering minus 20º in the Arctic Circle to the scalding thermal vents of Yellowstone’s super-volcano and then onto the immense challenge of bringing trees to life in the densely packed Black Forest.
The result is an awe-inspiring reminder that there is a planet waiting…
Survivor S39: Island of the Idols | 7 December
Presenter Jeff Probst is back with all the mud, sweat and tears that’s kept us hooked on this global phenomenon for over 20 years. Shot in Fiji, the 39th US Survivor season promises all the drama for the 20 castaways of Tribe Lairo and Tribe Vokai, including one of the most controversial evictions ever, one that’s changed the game rules for good.
Plus, legendary Survivor alumni Sandra Diaz-Twine (the only contestant ever to win Survivor twice, on Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains), and Rob Mariano (who won Survivor: Redemption Island), are back, but not to compete – they’ll be living on their own Island and serving as mentors to this season’s contestants.
Baby God | First on Showmax | 11 December
If you thought Three Identical Strangers was fascinating, HBO’s brand-new documentary film Baby God will have you glued to the screen.
It examines infamous Nevada fertility specialist Dr Quincy Fortier, a man who deceived countless women struggling to conceive by using his own sperm — without their knowledge or consent — to impregnate them.
Recalling a time before sperm banks, when little was understood about DNA, the film follows several of his biological children as they grapple with their identities, examining the morality of one doctor who used science and status to exploit innumerable women — and further his own genetic legacy — over nearly half a century.
Sonic the Hedgehog | 14 December
Based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog as he embraces his new home on Earth. In this live-action adventure comedy, Sonic and his new best friend Tom (James Marsden) team up to defend the planet from the evil genius Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Sonic the Hedgehog is currently the fourth biggest film of 2020 at the global box office. In a four-star review, Common Sense Media recommends the movie for ages eight and up, calling it “a laugh-until-you-turn-blue fun film for the family to enjoy together.“
Ride Like a Girl | 7 December
This inspiring Australian biographical sports drama is based on the true story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. It stars Teresa Palmer (A Discovery of Witches) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park).
The Guardian says, “The big-heartedness of this film won me over despite my utter ignorance of the racing world.” The movie has a four-star rating from Common Sense Media, which calls it a “gorgeous, exhilarating biopic about a barrier-smashing female athlete.”
With a recommended age of 10+, it’s perfect, uplifting perfect family fare.
We Bare Bears: The Movie | 17 December
The much-loved, four-season animated sensation comes to a big, beary conclusion with a hilarious and heartwarming 70-minute movie worthy of its Emmy-nominated, BAFTA-, Annie and Annecy Award-winning parent series.
We Bare Bears: The Movie sees Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear embark on an adventure to Canada after an agent from the Department of National Wildlife Control tries to put an end to their hijinks once and for all.
Den of Geek praised the movie for reminding us of the series’ true message, saying, “Underneath all the comedic hijinks, We Bare Bears has always been about acceptance and this film makes that message loud and clear.” It’s recommended for ages 8+ by Common Sense Media.
Craig of the Creek S1 | 14 December
For Craig and his friends Kelsey and J.P., the creek is a kid utopia of untamed wilderness in which tribes of children reign over tree forts and dirt bike ramps – the perfect setting for amazing adventures.
Common Sense Media gives it four stars and a 6+ age recommendation, saying the series “has a throwback quality about it that’s really appealing in a time of device overload.”
This animated adventure series from Cartoon Network has already picked up a 2020 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Children’s Animated Series, as well as a 2019 Annie Award nomination.
What else is on?
Look out for our Plum Picks in bold!
A World without NASA | Animalogic S1 | Culture Quest with Mister Otter S1 | Contender S5 | Dexter S1-8 | Full Proof S1 | Magic Numbers: Hannah Fry’s Mysterious World of Maths | Into The Blue | Know it All S1 | Make Me a Super S1 | Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch S1-4 | Operation Ouch S1-2 | Resident Advisors | Science Xplosion S1 | Science Max S3 | Siesta Z S1-2 | Steve Harvey’s Funderdome S1 | Teenage Boss S1 | The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them | Tumbledown | Who’s There S1
- Model S1
Timmy’s Christmas Surprise
- Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe
A.D. : The Bible Continues | Blackspot | Fruitful Emission | Grey Matter | Jexi | The Jellies S2 Joe Pera Special: Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree (Adult Swim) | Moshidi’s Child | My Business | Nantes Kookboek Met Nataniel En Erik S1 | Spoorloos S2 | Thavhazimbi | The Rose | Twelve | uXolile
- Also for Grown-ups: Emerging Voices in South Africa Animation
- Die Ware Naarheid Met Schalk Bezuidenhout S3
- The Space: Theatre of Survival
Line of Duty
Max | Max 2: White House Hero | Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs S1
Where’s Waldo S2
Ben 10 Versus the Universe: The Movie
Legally Blonde | Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde
- Gigolos S3-6
Playmobil: The Movie | Sex Life S2 | The Nut Job | Yours | Mine & Ours
- Coastal Elites
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 | Teen Spirit
Please note that dates and titles are subject to change.