February saw the release of four Showmax Originals across Africa, including the launch of reality TV show, I Am LAYCON, based on the life of Big Brother Naija season 5 winner, Lekan Agbelese.
The show was the first Showmax Original shot locally and went on to break first-day streaming records on the platform in Nigeria.
Crime and Justice, the first Showmax Original shot in Kenya, also launched this month, while South Africans welcomed DAM, a psychological thriller, and smash-hit mockumentary Tali’s Baby Diary.
With four brand-new African originals among many other exciting shows, it’s definitely a good time to have a Showmax subscription.
That said, here are 7 African shows worth adding to your weekend bingelist.
1. Crime and Justice
Starring Sarah Hassan, who Nigerians will remember from the Kenyan/Nigerian romcom, Plan B opposite Daniel Etim Effiong, Crime and Justice follows one ripped-from-the-headlines case per episode, all the way through to the courtroom verdict.
Hassan plays Makena, a Nairobi Metropol Police detective, opposite Alfred Munyua (Poacher, The First Grader, Sense8), as the pair investigate some of Nairobi’s most shocking crimes.
The police procedural and legal drama is both Kenya’s first Showmax Original and Showmax’s first co-production with global broadcaster CANAL+.
Directed by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff, working with an all-Kenyan production crew, Crime and Justice is written by Pauline Inda, Anthony Nero and award-winning Kenyan filmmakers Brian Munene (Watu Wote: All of Us, Morning After), Njue Kevin (18 Hours, Intellectual Scum) and Serah Mwihaki (Nairobi Half Life, Kidnapped).
Crime and Justice has new episodes out every Monday.
Prepare for some chills with this psychological thriller. Set in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, the eight-part series follows Yolanda Fischer (Silwerskerm Best Actress winner Lea Vivier) who returns from Chile to bury her father, only to be tormented by spirits in the farm house she has inherited. But with her mother institutionalised, and her own meds running out, Yola has to wonder if the spirits are real or just in her head?
Alex Yazbek (The Wild, Unmarried, Isibaya), a four-time SAFTA winner, wrote and directed the series that he says is “the story of a family – and a town – with dark secrets, and about how what you push down will eventually rise up.”
TVMzansi says, “DAM is loaded with compelling performances and moments that will leave your skin crawling… From the very start, it promises to stand out from the TV pack,” and GQ writes, “This new show is going to be seriously epic.”
Season 1 of DAM is now available for binging.
3. The Real Housewives of Durban
There’s no dull moment as the glam and drama are unleashed on The Real Housewives of Durban.
The show centres around six Durban-based queens who are successful business women in their own right. We get a glimpse into their glamorous lives, gorgeous homes and relationships.
RHOD is the 24th international – and second South African – instalment of The Real Housewives franchise, which is distributed internationally by NBCUniversal Formats, a division of Universal Studio Group. The show premiered on January 29 with new episodes showing every Friday.
4. Tali’s Baby Diary
There’s more reality TV drama with the mockumentary Tali’s Baby Diary, a follow-up to Tali’s Wedding Diary, the first ever Showmax Original that went on to become the most awarded comedy at the 2019 South Africa Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), taking home five prizes, including Best Comedy.
Tali’s Wedding Diary introduced viewers to Tali Shapiro (Julia Anastasopoulos), aka South Africa’s most famous bridezilla, a self-obsessed Joburg princess who just moved to Cape Town and is filming the build-up to her wedding to her property-agent fiance Darren (Anton Taylor).
Now in Tali’s Baby Diary, an unexpected pregnancy forces Tali into a desperate pivot from Insta-influencer to wholesome momfluencer. Enjoy stunning views of Cape Town as Darren and side-kick, Rael navigate the choppy waters of the city’s property game. But as the nine-month clock ticks down, Tali and the boys are forced to face the bigger questions about life, love and parenthood.
Travel to Kenya with this entertaining soap opera which stars Brenda Wairimu (Disconnect, Subira) in the titular role of Monica.
The show follows Monica, an ambitious young woman from the ghetto who schemes and lies her way to the top. To achieve this, she inserts herself into the lives of the affluent Jiwes, who are impressed by her, not knowing who she really is.
The show earned Wairimu a Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama nomination at the 2019 Kalasha Awards.
Monica is produced by Scolly Cheruto and directed by Neil Schell, who’ve both previously worked together on another Kenyan drama, Twisted, and Kenya’s first animated superhero series, Machismo.
6. The Corner
The Corner follows a group of young men who meet at “the corner” – a credit vendor’s place, to reflect about their lives, dreams, girls and everything going on around them.
Here you’ll meet a diverse cast of characters that make up the neighbourhood like Patu (Solomon Fixon-Owoo), the area gossip who’s quick to spread his rumours or truths; Romanus (Foster Romanus), the dreamer who wants to become a musician; The Lord (Daniel Delong), the credit vendor who won’t stop reciting the scripture and trying to live by it; Bed Braker (Jerry Amenyo), the resident womaniser; and Aweegnaa (Isaac Abrefa), the man who has a taste for girls younger than him.
And even though this crew of interesting characters engage in a lot of shenanigans, The Corner is more than just comedy as it offers a social commentary and highlights serious issues experienced by the youth in Ghana. From religious expression to unemployment to safe sex to teenage pregnancy, there is no topic that is off limits.
The Corner is written, directed and produced by award-winning Ghanaian actor and filmmaker Eddie Nartey, whose previous films include Shattered Romance, a collaboration with Juliet Ibrahim (Every Woman Has a Story); Could This Be Love, Royal Diadem, In April and more.
From Zambia comes Makofi, which tells the story of Annaa, a young girl who travels down the path of most resistance to follow her dream of becoming a champion boxer. David, Anna’s father is wholly opposed to his daughter’s desire to become a boxer, while her mother is very supportive. She encourages Anna to chase her dream while trying fruitlessly to keep David in the dark.
Makofi also launched this February and has new episodes available for binging on Showmax.