THE day has finally arrived. It’s been a gentle jog for the past few weeks but suddenly a massive sprint to the finish line. Have you seen all the new content? It’s mind-boggling. Viewers over the past weekend would have been treated to some early bird specials with episodes sneaking in before the official launch date today. Very nice, thank you Showmax, but I’m now the person who looks at the end date when I can binge entire series. But that’s just me.
Last week, I gave you a rundown on the new international content; today we look at the phenomenal list of local original programming. I love that the newcomers are all “season one”, which implies there will be more.
- Catch Me A Killer season one, new episodes on Wednesdays
After Spinners made history as the first African series at CanneSeries last year, Catch Me A Killer has just been named the first South African series to crack the equally prestigious SeriesMania, which called it, “A female Mindhunter in the guise of a wonderfully-produced true-crime series.” It’s in great company.
Charlotte Hope, who played Myranda in Game Of Thrones and headlined Starz’s The Spanish Princess as Catherine of Aragon, stars in Catch Me a Killer as Micki Pistorius, South Africa’s first serial-killer profiler.
Adapted from Pistorius’s memoir, the true crime series is set in the mid-’90s and traces Pistorius’s quest, as a newly-qualified forensic psychologist, to track down South Africa’s most feared killers. At this time, the country was gripped by an epidemic of rising crime and murder. Each episode looks at another of her cases, from the Station Strangler to the Cleveland Killer to Stewart ‘Boetie Boer’ Wilken.
A co-production between Showmax and Germany’s Night Train Media, Catch Me A Killer’s directors include SAFTA winners Rene van Rooyen (Oscar entry Toorbos, Alles Malan, Summertide) and Brett Michael-Innes (Fiela Se Kind), as well as Tracey Larcombe (Silent Witness), while writers include SAFTA winner Amy Jephta (Oscar entry Barakat, Devil’s Peak, Showmax Original Skemerdans), Sarah Hooper (Shameless), Jessica Ruston (Harlots) and Oliver Frampton (Sister Boniface Mysteries).
Apart from Steven Ward (One Piece) and newcomer Donna Cormack-Thomson as series regulars, the supporting cast changes each episode. Look out for guest appearances from the likes of Lemogang Tsipa (Shaka iLembe), Waldemar Schultz (Die Byl), Ivan Zimmermann (Alles Malan), and Frank Rautenbach (Lioness, Summertide), not to mention Silwerskerm winner Carel Nel (Gaia), and SAFTA winner Louw Venter (Swartwater). SAFTA nominees Albert Pretorius (Spinners) and Sean Cameron Michael (Fried Barry) play Stewart ‘Boetie Boer’ Wilken and FBI profiler Robert Ressler respectively.
- Red Ink season one, new episodes on Tuesdays
Author Angela Makholwa-Moabelo exec produces and co-writes the Showmax Original adaptation of her bestselling debut novel Red Ink. The eight-part thriller tells the story of a journalist turned publicist, Lucy Khambule, who is approached by an imprisoned serial killer to tell his story.
SAFTA nominee Nqobile Nunu Khumalo (Nqobile, The Herd) plays Lucy, with SAFTA winner Bonko Khoza (Mqhele in The Wife) as Napoleon Dingiswayo, nicknamed The Butcher of Soweto by the media.
Red Ink is a partnership between Makholwa’s Britespark Films and Bomb Productions. This marks the first Showmax Original from Bomb, which made DStv’s most-watched drama, Shaka ILembe, as well as classics like Venice winner Yizo Yizo, Oscar nominee Mandela, Sundance winner Amandla: A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony and SAFTA winners like Isibaya.
Red Ink reunites Khoza on screen with two of the other Zulu brothers from The Wife: DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice winners Kwenzo Ngcobo (Qhawe) and Abdul Khoza (Nqoba). The all-star cast also includes Outlaws’ breakout star Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku, SAFTA winners Lorcia Cooper (Lockdown), Bongile Mantsai (Inxeba: The Wound), and Jo-Anne Reyneke (Black Tax), and the likes of Tsholofelo Maseko (Intersexions).
- Wyfie , season one, two episodes every Tuesday
From multi-award-winners Homebrew Films (Trompoppie, Magda Louw), Wyfie follows four mismatched first-year roommates at Pantera res at the fictional Eike university.
Directed by SAFTA winner Johan Cronje (Wonderlus, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap), the edgy series stars Beata Bena Green (Arendsvlei, Die Spreeus) as Shay, Celeste Loots (One Piece, Trompoppies) as Amanda, Kristen Raath (7de Laan) as Kyla and Mienke Ehlers (Dinge van ‘n Kind) as Mia, opposite the likes of Marguerite van Eeden (Vaselinetjie), Elzet Nel (Trompoppie), Adrian Steyn (Die Onderonsie), and Chelsea Thomas (Amber in Spinners).
Listen out for the haunting soundtrack from Peach van Pletzen, including the last recorded song from the hugely talented Angie Oeh, who tragically passed away from cancer in August 2023, aged just 24.
- Youngins season one, three episodes every Thursday
Off the back of creating two successful Showmax Originals in 2023 (Adulting and Outlaws) Tshedza Pictures kicks off the new year with its third Showmax Original and first teen drama, Youngins.
Ayakha Ntunja (Thembi on MTV Shuga S3), Kealeboga Masango (Zinhle on Rhythm City), Toka Mtabane (young Tau on Five Fingers for Marseilles), Thabiso Ramotshela (Morena on The River) and newcomer Lebohang Lephatsoana lead the cast. Look out for the likes of SAFTA winner Loyiso MacDonald (Kagiso on The Queen) as Principal Mthembu, DStv Mzansi Viewers Choice Award winner Sanna Mchunu (Zodwa on Gomora) as Matron Lulu, and Keneilwe Matidze (Petronella on Reyka) as Pearl “Miss SA” Buthelezi.
Thembi Mfebe (Adulting, Miseducation) directs.
- Matilda en Matthys, 14 February
In Matilda en Matthys, an ambitious young writer and a super-rational tech entrepreneur go on a series of fake dates as research for their novel and their dating app algorithm respectively. But even the smartest people can’t outsmart love.
Matilda en Matthys stars Emma van Heyn (Twintig Tone In ‘n Hangkas, Troukoors) and Adrian Steyn (Die Onderonsie, Wyfie) in the title roles, opposite the likes of Bertha le Roux-Wahl (7de Laan), Pietie Beyers (Die Onderonsie) and comedian Mojak Lehoko.
The romcom is the debut film from writer-director Bibi Slippers (a published poet and SAFTA-nominated screenwriter for Hotel). Industry legend Danie Bester is producing through Film Factory. Bester has produced 35 films in the last 15 years, including the box office smash hit Pad na Jou Hart, the SAFTA Best Film winner Fiela Se Kind, and South African Oscar entry Toorbos.
- Forever Yena, 14 February
In Forever Yena, social media “it” couple Penny and Kwanda accidentally live stream their relationship meltdown just days before Valentine’s Day. Can they get back “perfect umjolo” in time to save each other, their fans’ belief in love, and a lucrative brand deal with a dating app?
Thandi Make (Gomora, The Queen) and Aluve Mjali (How to Manifest A Man) co-star as Penny and Kwanda, opposite the likes of Sikelelwa Vuyeleni (Adulting, 1802 Love Defies Time), Simphiwe Ngema (The Queen, Rockville), Miss SA finalist Luyanda Zuma and multi-award winner Refilwe Modiselle (White Gold).
MultiChoice Talent Factory alumnus Charlie Sampson (Uzobuya) directs the Showmax Original romcom, which is produced by MECA and Warchild.
The debut feature from SAFTA winner Thandokazi Msumza (DiepCity, The Wife), Intlawulo follows Bucks, who falls in love with his dead best friend’s sister while trying to make amends to her family.
Khojane Morai (Umbuso, Abumkhulu) and Kealeboga Masango (Rhythm City) co-star, with Momelezi Ntshiba (Silent Witness, An Act of Defiance) as the dead boy’s father, a pastor who invites Bucks to join his church’s choir. The likes of Phumzile Mlangeni (Lingashoni, Skeem Saam) and SAFTA nominee Thembekile Komani (Knuckle City, Blood Psalms) are also in the cast.
- Widows Unveiled season one, new episodes on Mondays
Widows Unveiled follows five widows who were married to public figures. The reality series documents the journeys of each woman from pain to triumph as they navigate the drama and scandal that followed the death of their husbands.
The cast includes PR specialist and marketing professional Lerato Sengadi, the widow of Motswako legend HHP; businesswoman Mpho Tshabalala, the widow of kwaito legend Mandoza; businesswoman Sikelelwa Ngubane, the widow of SAFTA-winning actor Menzi Ngubane; businesswoman Fundiswa Molefe, the widow of businessman John Molefe; and businesswoman Lerato Maphatsoe, the widow of former Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe.
- The Mommy Club season two from 19 February
The Mommy Club, a reality series about Johannesburg’s glamorous moms who seemingly have it all, is an all-access inside look at the lives of the one percent and the people who help them build their empires and raise their heirs.
Season two introduces two new cast members – Nozipho Zulu and Jabulile Sande – who will be bringing the fabulosity, class, glamour and wealth that viewers love to see. They join returning cast members Hermajesty, Mrs Mops, Nunurai and Ratile.
- The Real Housewives Of Durban, season four, new episodes on Wednesdays
The Real Housewives of Durban follows the lives of affluent housewives and professional women in the exclusive suburbs of Durban. These women open their doors to take us behind the gates to share their daily lives filled with glamour, wealth and of course drama.
Season four includes three new housewives, none of whom is a stranger to the spotlight – fashion television host Zama Ngcobo, Ameigh Thompson and Angel Ndlela. They will fit right in with the OGs from the first season. Returning cast members include Sorisha Naidoo, Nonku Williams, Slee Ndlovu and Maria Val.
- Sadau Sisters season one, new episodes weekly
Sadau Sisters follows the lives of actress Rahama Sadau and her three sisters – Aisha, Fatima, and Zaina. As they navigate the intricacies of sisterhood, not only do they discover gripping facts about each other, but they also get to deal with past family traumas and controversies in hopes of finding healing.
Set against the background of strong religious and cultural beliefs, the debut season will see the sisters reunite in a new home and city – a move that uncovers many secrets about their family.
Each episode will take viewers on a captivating journey of the personal lives of these young northern Nigerian women as they juggle the demands of fame, family and everything in between.