Six Reasons ‘Harlots’ Is The Best Show You’re Not Watching

Season two of Harlots, Hulu’s critically acclaimed series about warring brothels in 18th-Century Georgian England, is now first and only on Showmax. If you’re late to the show that Variety described as “Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones,” Harlots follows Margaret Wells as she struggles to reconcile her roles as brothel owner and mother to daughters Charlotte and Lucy – while fighting off Lydia Quigley, a rival madam with a ruthless streak. GQ recently called Harlots “the best show you’re not watching… If you haven’t been keeping up, then you’re missing out.” Here are six reasons why:

1. The cast features two Oscar nominees; Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey; and now Liv Tyler

Harlots’ cast includes Oscar-nominees Samantha Morton (In America, Sweet and Lowdown, The Walking Dead) and Lesley Manville (The Phantom Thread, River) as the rival brothel owners. Screen Actors Guild winner Jessica Brown Findlay (aka Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey) plays Charlotte Wells. And now another Screen Actors Guild winner Liv Tyler (aka Arwen in Lord of the Rings) has joined the cast as Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam, heiress of Blayne.

2. You’ll realise just how bad things used to be for women – and that things are improving

In Georgian England, the age of consent was 12. If a woman (or child) married, her body was considered her husband’s property, as was her actual property. Even if she inherited money, like Lady Fitzwilliam, she couldn’t control it – a male relative would keep it for her until she married, when it would pass to her husband. So perhaps it’s understandable that one in five women made a living selling sex in London in 1763; as Eloise Smyth, who plays Lucy Wells, says, “Being a prostitute was the only way for young women to make their own money and have ownership of their money.”

3. It’s a rare show entirely written, directed and produced by women

Harlots is driven by a rare all-female creative team of writers Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre) and Alison Newman; Oscar-nominated executive producers Alison Owen ((Elizabeth, Anne With An E) and Debra Hayward (Les Misérables, Love Actually), with Alison Carpenter; BAFTA-nominated lead director Coky Giedroyc (The Killing, Seven Seconds); and BAFTA-winning producer Grainne Marmion (The Borrowers, Doctor Foster).

The result? It’s been praised for its “whore’s eye view” by Vanity Fair; hailed as “one of the few shows on television to master feminist sex scenes” by Decider; and celebrated as “a much-needed break from the male gaze” by Bustle.

As Liv Tyler says, “Harlots could go in a totally different direction, I think, if it was written by a man.”

4. Georgian England was ‘very rock ‘n roll’

“The Georgians were pretty rock ‘n roll,” says Eloise Smyth, who speaks with authority on rock ‘n roll comparisons, since her dad was Cathal Smyth – Chas Smash in the British band Madness. “It was only when the Victorians came that we got that British ‘stiff upper lip’ thing. The Georgians were pretty punk and cool and had great parties, wore lavish clothing and were quite bawdy.”

Samantha Morton agrees, adding that she’d love to see the male fashion from the era make a comeback. “I love it. I really do. I think if you are a man in society today and you want to be flamboyant, it is really suppressed. Back then it didn’t affect your masculinity at all if you had a nice jacket or a bit of a heel on the shoe. That’s why I loved Prince because he did all that. Pop musicians get away with it but for men in today’s society, they go to the shops and what is there for them?”

5. Despite the dark subject matter, it’s funny and warm

As AVClub says, “Rarely has a show about such wretched people been so delightful to watch… Harlots is never as dark as it could be – and is often grimly funny – because it’s never only about the fact that the fight is unwinnable. It’s about the people you can fight beside. Even in a world held under the thumb of powerful men, family is possible. Connection is possible. You can endure.”

6. Critics love it

Harlots currently has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

As Refinery29 puts its, “The show’s premise involves a difficult balancing act. It must depict sex work without glamorizing it, deliver on a world of intrigue and power struggles without getting too bogged down in historical nitpicking, underscore these ladies’ crackling wit and joie de vivre without glossing over the very real dangers they face, all with a healthy dose of camp aided by a lavish costume budget. And good thing for us, [Harlots] delivers on all of the above. Inspired by the story of real women, Harlots is a story about sex workers, yes – but it’s also about family, female friendships, gender dynamics, and money… All in all, it’s the perfect way to escape the increasingly Handmaid’s Tale world we’re living in. Forget Gilead – Georgian London is where it’s at.”

Both Vox and The Guardian described the feminist workplace drama as “addictive,” with Vox pitching it as “what would happen if The Sopranos and Gossip Girl had filthy, complicated sex” and The Guardian calling it “TV stuffed to the heaving bosom with sex, gin and glorious insults… Expertly evokes the sleaze and virginity-auctioning of the Georgian age… A fully realised, filthy and believable world, which also happens to be hugely entertaining to watch.”

You can now binge-watch Harlots first and only on Showmax in South Africa.

Two Comics Choice Winners To Appear On Trevor Noah’s New Showmax Show This Month

September is turning into a great month for comedians Tsitsi Chiumya and Phil De Lange. Not only did Tsitsi win Best Newcomer and Phil the Next Level prize at this weekend’s Comic Choice Awards, both comedians are featured in Trevor Noah presents NationWild, a 13-part comedy showcase coming to Showmax this Heritage Day, 24 September 2018.

Trevor handpicked all 13 comedians featured. Each episode features a short introductory set by Trevor as the host, an interview with the featured comedian about their ladder to success, followed by that comedian’s set. “In each episode, we’re going to meet some of the brightest emerging comedians in Mzansi,” says Trevor.

This year’s Comic Choice Awards back up that claim: to win Best Newcomer, Tsitsi beat out three other comedians featured on Trevor Noah presents Nationwild: Bongani Dube, Gilli Apter and Lindy Johnson, while one of Phil’s primary challenges for the Next Level award came from Eric Jansen, who is also featured on the show.

This is the second major award this year for Tsitsi: he also won a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) for Scriptwriting – TV Comedy as part of the Puppet Nation team.

The comedian hails from Lebowakgomo, a small township in Limpopo. He only “officially” learned English in 2006 when he came to Johannesburg. “I went to the only English school in Lebowakgomo; we spoke really bad English there,” says Tsitsi. “I thought I knew what English was before I came to Johannesburg, which was really embarrassing, because I had so much confidence. I’m a pretty awkward guy so it was really weird for me to start learning English, especially when you come to the big city and you always thought that you would fit in, and then you can’t speak the language that people are using to communicate…  From not being able to speak English, to the point that I’m performing with one of the biggest comics in the world, in English, it confirms to me that I’ve conquered this language.”

Phil was born and bred in Bloemfontein but now lives in Cape Town, where he co-hosts The Smile 90.4FM Comedy Hour between 9 and 10 pm on Saturday evenings with Angel Campey. His dry, self-deprecating comedy set blends stand-up and ukulele.

“My first comedy set I ever did was at the Armchair Theatre in Cape Town,” remembers Phil. “I was the first person I think  in Cape Town to ever perform comedy with a ukulele. People laughed at me, not at my jokes, because my mic kept falling out of the mic stand and I broke my ukulele on stage. I was quite terrible to be honest.”

Getting handpicked by Trevor Noah and winning the Next Level award is proof of how much that’s changed. “I don’t actually like attention at all,” says Phil, but he may need to get used to it quickly.

Considering that Trevor’s already given fellow African comedians like David Kibuuka and Loyiso Madinga regular work on The Daily Show, anything’s possible for Phil, Tsitsi and the other stars of Trevor Noah presents NationWild, who include Gavin Kelly, Keenan Cerff, Kraai Du Toit, Mbu Msongwela, 2017 Best Intermediate Comics Choice Award nominees Noko Moswete and Tshireletso ‘Mo’ Mothebe, and 2016 Comics Choice Breakthrough Comic Award winner Virgil Prins (aka Prins).

Trevor is in line for awards himself this month: on 17 September 2018, he could become the first black host to ever win an Emmy for Best Variety Talk Series for The Daily Show.

“Trevor Noah’s global success proves that  SA’s comics are among the best in the world,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “We’ve worked hard to make Showmax the home of South African comedy, so we’re delighted to add Trevor Noah presents NationWild to our lineup of hilarious shows, which includes The Roast of Somizi and comedy specials with the likes of 2018 Comics Choice Comedy G award winner David Kau and nominees like Marc Lottering and Mpho Popps.”

Binge all 13 episodes of Trevor Noah presents NationWild only on Showmax from Heritage Day, 24 September 2018.

Five Reasons You Should Be Watching ‘The Magicians’

Season three of The Magicians, Syfy’s cult adult fantasy series, is now first and only on Showmax. If you’re late to what The Verge describes as “one of the most consistently entertaining shows on TV,” The Magicians is about Quentin Coldwater, a 20-something obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child about a magical land called Fillory. When he’s admitted to a secret, exclusive collage of magic in New York – and then discovers that Fillory is real – it’s all like a dream come true, but magic doesn’t bring the happiness and meaning that he thought it would. Here are five reasons you should be watching The Magicians, which has been nominated as Best Fantasy Series by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Movies for three years in a row.

1. It’s like Harry Potter meets Narnia for adults

The Verge described the TV series as “Harry Potter meets The Chronicles of Narnia meets the cold, harsh realities of real life.” The Magicians is based on the award-winning trilogy of New York Times bestselling fantasy novels by former Time magazine technology writer and book critic Lev Grossman. The first series felt like Grossman had asked what would happen if Harry Potter had only discovered magic was real as an adult, and if Hogwarts was a university full of twenty-somethings who liked booze and sex. Season two feels like he asked what would happen if Narnia really had been ruled by immature humans (clue: it turns out about as well as you’d expect).

2. It’s ‘the most sexually aware show on TV’

io9 praised The Magicians for “becoming the most sexually aware show on TV” with  its “smart, thoughtful and progressive portrayal of sex” in its myriad forms. “There’s no judgment on The Magicians… everything is permitted. Quentin and Eliot have openly explored their bisexuality (from opposing sexual preferences), Margo is straightforward and unapologetic about her desires, and Alice and Quentin took refreshingly open steps to help her orgasm. Group sex and orgies are a repeat occurrence, along with sessions of casual sex… Might be one of the most forward-thinking shows on television right now, because it’s exploring a great many aspects of consenting adult relationships in a remarkably honest — and mature — way.” No one ever said that about Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia…

3. It’s fantasy for fantasy lovers

AVClub hailed The Magicians as “a fantasy show for people who love fantasy shows.” Not just for the way the show’s storylines seem to talk back to the fantasy canon of Potter and Narnia, but also for the pop culture references that pepper the dialogue. In a key scene in season three, when King Eliot needs to tell Queen Margo she’s being watched, they have an entire conversation in pop culture, referencing everything from Battlestar Galactica to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter to Game of Thrones.

4. Critics love it

The Magicians has a 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – 11% higher than The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and 20% better than Prince Caspian. As Salon says, The Magicians is “probably the most entrancing fantasy available on television right now.” Or as Collider wrote, “The Magicians has fully grown into one of the most entertaining and engaging shows on TV by carving out its own identity… Darkly hilarious, emotionally complex, wildly fantastical, and a little funky—there’s nothing else like it, and that’s precisely what makes it such a joy to watch.”

5. It keeps getting better

Season three starts just after the removal of magic from the world, putting Brakebills, their university of magic, on the brink of closure. As Quentin and his friends set out on an epic quest to find seven keys that will restore magic, they’ve never been so vulnerable, which leads to the most exciting season yet. As Vox wrote, it’s “a third season that might be as big a step up over its second season as the second season already was over the first.” On Rotten Tomatoes, season three has a rare 100% critics rating – the show’s highest score yet.

SyFy has already commissioned season four for 2019 – a no brainer considering that the series has been the channel’s top performing scripted original for adults 18-49 for the past three years.

Binge season three now at www.showmax.com.

Tidal And MTN Announce Trailblazing Partnership Bringing Pioneering Music And Video Streaming Service To Millions Of Customers Across Africa, Starting With Uganda

The partnership provides MTN Uganda customers a variety of options for a data-inclusive TIDAL membership as part of their mobile plan to gain access to exclusive high-quality streaming music, videos, concerts and more

KAMPALA, Uganda, August 28, 2018/ — Partnership kicks off in Uganda with three key activities

  • Launch Press Conference on Wednesday 22nd August 2018
  • Artists Collaboration Conference on Thursday 27th September 2018
  • The MTN TIDAL Experience on Saturday 29th September 2018

Global music and video streaming platform, TIDAL (www.TIDAL.com) in partnership with the leading communications operator in Uganda offering mobile & fixed telecommunications, MTN Uganda, have today announced an exciting, first-of-its kind collaboration.

The partnership provides MTN Uganda customers a variety of options for a data-inclusive TIDAL membership as part of their mobile plan to gain access to exclusive high-quality streaming music, videos, concerts and more.

“Africa is a continent that has long been an inspiration for music heard around the world and TIDAL is excited to highlight the vibrant musicians on our platform. TIDAL is also thrilled to bring a new wave of digital music to Uganda as part of this collaboration” said Lior Tibon, COO TIDAL.

The partnership, launched in Uganda but set to be rolled out in other MTN operations across Africa comes with an array of membership options where customers can tap into one, three, seven and 30-day memberships, all of which include data and a free 30-day trial for all first-time members.

On the importance of MTN’s partnership with TIDAL artist-owner Damian Marley noted:

“I remember hearing stories about my father‘s records being destroyed once they got to Africa. They didn’t want the people to hear the message in the music. What a beautiful day it is now when Africa will not only have access to my family’s music but to all music that exists”

Speaking about the launch of the partnership, Jason Kpana, SVP Artist & Label Relations, shared:

“I’m really looking forward to connecting with Uganda’s musicians and helping to bring the TIDAL music streaming experience to fans across the country. We know MTN customers will love the diverse playlists, livestreams, videos and original content available on TIDAL.”

The content on TIDAL offers a deeper look into not only the repertoire of artists, but the music that inspires the work they do. Editors across the globe showcase the hottest tracks across all genres and create soundtracks for key cultural moments – life, death, civil revolutions, works of literature, and movies that have caught the cultural zeitgeist.

.In celebration of the Ugandan music industry and the start of a digital music revolution, TIDAL and MTN Uganda announced advanced plans in organizing an exclusive Collaboration Conference and ‘The MTN TIDAL Experience’ which will be held on 27 and 29 September respectively. MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, gave more details about it:

“The Collaboration Conference will exclusively be attended by artists, music producers and promoters. The conference aims to bring artists together to learn about the evolution of the music industry across the globe and how to expand locally along with the help of TIDAL. Following the conference, “The MTN TIDAL Experience”, featuring dancehall artist Kranium, Nigeria’s DJ Spinall, our very own Beenie Gunter and local DJs are set to host the experience which will be held at the MTN Headquarters”.

“At MTN we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life. This partnership with TIDAL further demonstrates our strategic vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world to our customers by making music more available on their smartphones. One product innovation MTN will add to the TIDAL subscriptions is the inclusion of data. MTN subscribers will be given the choice between daily, weekly and monthly packages payable only via Mobile Money (MoMo).” added Olivier.

More information can be found on TIDAL.com/MTN

About MTN Uganda

Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda (www.MTN.co.ug) is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile & Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As at 30th June 2018, MTN Uganda recorded 10.5 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.MTN.co.ug  or follow us on www.YouTube.com/mtnug and www.Twitter.com/mtnug or www.Twitter.com/mtnugpro for assistance.

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group (www.MTN.com) is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 30th June 2018, MTN recorded 223.4million subscribers with 24.1 million active Mobile Money users and 71.2 million active Data users across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at, www.MTNBusiness.com, www.MTN.com and www.MTNMMO.com

Sci-fi Procedural ‘Reverie’ Now On Showmax

Reverie, a new sci-fi procedural, is now available to binge, first on Showmax in Africa.

The series is named after a customisable and immersive virtual reality experience that scans users’ memories and social media footprints to help them bring their dreams to life.

REVERIE — Pilot — Pictured: (l-r) Sarah Shahi as Mara Kint, Dennis Haysbert as Charlie Ventana — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

“It’s so real that when you go in, it’s hard to distinguish it from real life,” says actress Jessica Lu (Awkward, American Horror Story), who plays the tech genius behind Onira-Tech and its ground-breaking technology. “The problem is, for some people, their Reverie is better than their real life, so they choose to stay.”

Enter Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi from The L Word and Person of Interest), a failed hostage negotiator, who’s brought in to save people from themselves.

“It’s almost like Inception meets Alice in Wonderland,” says Shahi, although media have also compared it to a more mainstream version of Black Mirror and Forbes described it “The Matrix meets cop show.”

Golden Globe nominee Dennis Haysbert (President David Palmer on 24 and Nelson Mandela in Goodbye Bafana) co-stars as Charlie Ventana, Onira-Tech’s head of security, while Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes) is an expert in dreams and Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) is a venture capitalist.

Indiewire called Reverie “a dazzling and poignant summer diversion,” praising the “gorgeous… brisk and arresting pilot” with its “imaginative take on various mental and psychological playgrounds,” “vibrant visuals and lush virtual landscapes,” and “hints of unexpected side effects and bugs.”

The Verge called it “refreshingly idealistic… fresh and timely,” while Slash Film said “the story is interesting, the acting is great, and the premise remains intriguing.”

Reverie is created and executive produced by Mickey Fisher, who worked with Steven Spielberg to create Extant and with Guillermo del Toro as a writer on The Strain. Directors include Daisy von Scherler Mayer (The Walking Dead), Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows), John F Showalter (The 100), Kenneth Fink (The Expanse), P.J. Peske (Supernatural) and Wendey Stanzler (Arrow).

Binge now, only on Showmax in Africa.

HBO’s Hit Series ‘Succession’ Now Streaming On Showmax

“This is the thing about being rich: it’s f*ing great,” says Matthew McFadyen in HBO’s latest hit, Succession, a show that suggests just the opposite in its skewering of the Roy family, one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world.

McFadyen, in a slimy, sycophantic role miles away from Mr Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, is joined by a stellar cast that includes Emmy-winner Brian Cox (War & Peace) as the aging patriarch; Hiam Abbass (Blade Runner 2049) as his third wife; and Golden Globe nominee Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down), Jeremy Strong (The Big Short), Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Sarah Snook (Steve Jobs) as the children in the line of succession now that their father is starting to step back from the company. If you think the Lannisters are bad, meet the Roys…

Streaming exclusively on Showmax, Succession is currently at number 32 on IMDB’s Most Popular TV chart, has an 82% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been hailed as everything from “my favourite show of the summer… the only thing I’ve been able to think about” by Vox to “King Lear for the modern media age” by The Telegraph.

Appropriately for a show about the 1% of the 1%, Succession’s credits boast an embarrassment of riches. Creator Jesse Armstrong was nominated for an Oscar for In The Loop and a Writers Guild of America award for his work on Veep and won a BAFTA for Peep Show and a Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for The Thick Of It.  Adam McKay, who directs Succession’s first episode and doubles as executive producer, won the Oscar for The Big Short and topped the box office with Talladega Nights, with Will Ferrell, who is also an executive producer here.

And then there’s Emmy-winning Veep writers Tony Roche and George Pritchett; Emmy-nominee Mark Mylod (Game of Thrones) as a director and executive producer; Oscar-nominated composer Nicholas Britell (Moonlight); Emmy-winning editor Ken Eluto (30 Rock) and Art Directors Guild-winning production designer Stephen H. Carter (Birdman), among many others…

As you’d guess from those credits, there’s a tension in Succession between its comedy and its drama. Vulture pitched it as, “Having Veep withdrawals? Try Succession… another HBO comedy that also combines whip-smart dialogue, a killer ensemble cast, and a cynical look at the intersection of politics, corporate business, and mass media.”

But Succession doesn’t sit as comfortably within the comedy genre as Veep does. Rather, as Slate pointed out, “It’s a comedy and then it’s a tragedy, in the same show, but not at the same time… The show’s ethos: to gut you while you’re laughing.”

Similarly The Guardian warns, “The writing is savage, the dialogue sharp and foul-mouthed. Although funny in places, it is also scary, as any drama peopled by monsters ought to be.”

Not that Succession fits neatly into the drama genre either. “The show is a lot more fun than it might look,” says Vox, praising the way it “expertly strikes a balance between humour and heartbreak.”

The genre-bending result is one of the most acclaimed series of the year. As The Hollywood Reporter says, “Succession is spectacular… sharp, cutting, wonderfully acted… Each new episode is more darkly funny than the one before.”

Or as Slate says, “It’s amazing…  Electric, funny, fun, and occasionally, tragic…  You should be watching it.”

In November, Forbes reported that a study had found that America’s three richest individuals – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos – collectively have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population there – 160 million people in 63 million households.

Succession is a voyeuristic glimpse into a family with that level of wealth – where kids are offered a million dollars to hit a home run, where destination weddings are held in picturesque castles. But their family life is not as f*ing great as McFadyen’s character dreams it to be. Rather, as The Guardian says, “Above all, Succession is reassuring, in that it seems to argue that wealth and power offer no respite from the obligation to live one’s life in mortal fear… The next time you are annoyed by the arrogance of some ageing media mogul, try imagining him in the middle of the night, confused and alone, pissing all over an expensive carpet. I find it helps.”

Binge now, only on Showmax in Africa.

What To Stream On Showmax: August – October 2018

SUCCESSION S1

First on Showmax
The Roy family controls one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world. But what will the future hold for them once their aging father (Emmy-winner Brian Cox) begins to step back from the company? This hit HBO show was created by Oscar-nominee Jesse Armstrong, who was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for his work on Veep and won a BAFTA for Peep Show. Binge from 6 August 2018.

REVERIE S1

First on Showmax
Reverie is a virtual reality programme that lets you live your dreams – to the point that people don’t want to return to the real world. Enter Mara Kint, a former hostage negotiator, who’s brought in to save people from themselves. From Extant creator Mickey Fisher, this sci-fi thriller stars Sarah Shahi (The L Word), Dennis Haysbert (24) and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes). Binge from 13 August 2018.

ALONE TOGETHER S1

First on Showmax
Stand-up comedians Esther Povitsky (one of Variety’s ’10 comics to watch in 2017′) and Benji Aflalo star as oddball platonic friends navigating Los Angeles’ vain and status-obsessed culture. Co-creators include Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andy Samberg and his Emmy-winning Lonely Island collaborators Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Binge now.

DARK ANGEL S1

First on Showmax
The true story of serial killer Mary Ann Cotton (Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt), a 19th-century British woman who escaped life as a coal miner’s wife by hitting upon a seemingly infallible scheme: taking out modest life insurance policies on her intended victims and then poisoning them with arsenic, which was difficult to detect at the time. Binge now.

NOW ON OR COMING SOON

FEEL LIKE TEEN SUPERHEROES?
Cloak and Dagger (new episodes weekly, express from the USA)
Marvel’s new series is the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) – two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened by newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. Weekly episodes are now coming express from the US every Friday. #70 on IMDB’s Most Popular TV chart.

FEEL LIKE A ROMCOM?
Younger S5: Episodes 5-12 (out now, first on Showmax)
Younger stars Sutton Foster as a 40-year-old single mom re-booting her career and love-life by pretending to be in her twenties. Hilary Duff and Miriam Schor co-star in this hit romcom from the creator of Sex and The City. Episodes 5 to 8 land on Tuesday, 1 August and episodes 9 to 11 are due on Wednesday, 29 August. #57 on IMDB’s Most Popular TV chart.

NEED SOME VIKING DRAMA?
Vikings S5 (out now)
The Vikings saga moves from Ragnar to his sons, as civil war looms. Meanwhile, Floki is on a quest to find Asgard, home of the gods. #14 on IMDB’s Most Popular TV chart.

TRYING TO BE A BETTER PERSON?
Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (out now)
Every generation, 36 righteous souls are born who will save the world. The problem is that Kevin (Jason Ritter from Girls) is the only one remaining – and he’s just moved in with his sister after a failed suicide attempt. Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory from Vice Principals), his messenger from God, might have a harder job than she expected…

JUST FINISHED ‘THE FOSTERS’?
Here and Now (out now)
Oscar winners Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter star as ex-hippies parenting a dysfunctional family, most of whom they adopted from countries around the world. Creator Alan Ball won the Oscar for his screenplay for American Beauty and Emmys for True Blood and Six Feet Under.

BET EVERYTHING ON A DREAM?
Blood and Oil (due 20/08)
Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl) was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Favourite Actor In A New Series for his role as Billy LeFever, a newly married man trying to cash in on the modern-day oil boom in North Dakota. Golden Globe winner Don Johnson (Miami Vice) co-stars as a sly oil baron.

NEED MORE HARLOTS – WITH ADDED LIV TYLER?
Harlots S2 (due 03/09, first on Showmax)
Margaret Wells (Oscar-nominee Samantha Morton) struggles to reconcile her roles as brothel owner and mother to daughters Charlotte (Screen Actors Guild winner Jessica Brown Findlay) and Lucy (Eloise Smyth). When her business comes under attack from Lydia Quigley (Oscar-nominee Lesley Manville), a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret must fight back – even if it means losing her family and possibly her life.

FEEL LIKE HARRY POTTER – WITH 20SOMETHINGS?
The Magicians S3 (due 03/09, first on Showmax)
Magic’s been turned off, so Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph from Younger S5) and his magic university friends embark on an epic quest to find the seven keys that will restore it. Nominated as Best Fantasy Series by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films for three years in a row, The Magicians has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score for season three.

NEED A LAUGH?
LA To Vegas (due 03/09)
Dylan McDermott stars as Captain Dave, a pilot for Jackpot Airlines, a low-cost airline that operates weekend flights between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Kim Matula (UnREAL) and Peter Stormare (Fargo) co-star in the comedy, from the guys who brought you Anchorman and Talladega Nights and the co-creator of Modern Family. 85% audience score, Rotten Tomatoes.

A.P. Bio (due 01/10)
A failed philosophy scholar (Glenn Howerton from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) becomes a biology teacher. But instead of teaching science, he uses his honour-roll students to get back at the people in his life who have wronged him. Creator Michael Patrick O’Brien has five Emmy nominations for his writing on Saturday Night Live. “Smart. Surprising. Delightful. Plays against expectation to earn that A… An ensemble comedy with exciting players in every part. ” Indiewire

FEEL LIKE A FRIGHT FOR HALLOWEEN?
Channel Zero: The No-End House (due 01/10)
‘Your memories will eat you alive. Enter the No-End House at your own peril.’ The second season of Channel Zero has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus is its “central mystery is stronger and scarier than Channel Zero’s first, solidifying its status as one of TV’s scariest horror offerings.”

Sleep Tight (due 01/10)
In the tradition of The Twilight Zone, each episode pulls you inside a new nightmare as Gen Z’s favorite influencers fight to survive strange and supernatural horrors you can never unsee. From AwesomenessTV, who just sold to Viacom and also brought you Showmax favourites You’ve Been T@gged and Freakish.

ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK AT COSMO?
The Bold Type (due 01/10)
Inspired by the life of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, The Bold Type is about three friends working at a fictional women’s magazine. The hit show has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its “aspirational yet refreshingly realistic portrait of young women’s careers, friendships and love lives in a big city.” The Bold Type was nominated for both the Teen Choice Summer TV Show and GLAAD’s Outstanding Comedy Series awards, among others.

AND SO MUCH MORE…
This is just a small selection of the confirmed series coming to Showmax; many more will be added as contracts are finalised in the coming weeks. Please note schedules are subject to change. Let us know if you need updated lineups or more information and high-res pictures on any of these titles.

Browse everything coming to Showmax in August

Local Crime Docu-Series ‘Night Guard’ Goes Global With Hulu Deal

South African unscripted television is going global, with Season 1 of NV Studios’ Night Guard now available for streaming on global service hulu, in the USA. The addition of Night Guard to the hulu platform marks NV Studios as the only South African TV production company to have a presence across the major international streaming and broadcast services.

Night Guard, which premiered on FOX Crime in 2014, tells the story of three brothers – Emile (Moolie), JP and Zane Eblen – who have taken over their father’s security business of the same name. The Fourways-based, SWAT-style reaction unit comprises more than 500 guards who work around the clock to ensure the safety of clients, around the province. The docu-series was tailor-made for FOX Crime and showcases the raw reality faced by those charged with protecting the personal safety and security of their clients against an increasingly brazen criminal element.

NV Studios CEO Damien Brown says that the addition of the show to hulu’s high-quality global stable of content is an indicator of the excellence of South African TV productions. “It’s important for South African content producers to tell our stories, our own way – and it’s immensely gratifying to be recognized for doing so at a level that puts us up alongside the world’s best,” he says. “As one of the premier TV production companies in the country, we’re committed to delivering high-quality shows to the local and global markets that tell our story, our way – from gritty series like Night Guard to affirming conservation stories like Keeping Up with the Kruger, which documents the incredible work done by rangers, vets, research teams and conservation units in one of the world’s premier safari destinations”.

The first season of Night Guard is available on hulu right now.

About NV Studios

NV Studios is a production company based in Johannesburg, London and Los Angeles. We develop original content and package entertainment products that reflect a global direction. With over 10 years of experience in the international market, we seek to redefine entertainment and offer a unique perspective to partnering and producing solutions.

Four Emmy Firsts In Nominations

The penultimate series of Game of Thrones topped the list of Emmy nominees, with 22 nominations, including Best Drama Series.

This is hardly a surprise: all six previous seasons were nominated for Emmys, 110 in all, with Game of Thrones winning 38 times – the record for any drama series.

But before you write this year’s awards off to been-there-done-that, here are four firsts to root for from this year’s nominations:

Issa Rae is up for Best Actress In A Comedy for ‘Insecure’
Despite a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Insecure’s first season was snubbed at last year’s Emmy awards, where Issa memorably announced on the red carpet that, “I’m rooting for everybody black.” This year, Rae is up for her first ever Emmy, against Pamela Adlon in Better Things, Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Tracee Ellis Ross in Black-ish, Allison Janney in Mom, and Lily Tomlin in Grace and Frankie. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, who’s won the category for the previous six years, wasn’t eligible this time, as the final season of the show was delayed while she underwent treatment for cancer. Issa Rae plays Issa Dee in Insecure, a comedy about being the opposite of the stereotype of the strong, confident black woman. Both seasons of Insecure are available to stream only on Showmax in Africa.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is up for Best Supporting Actor In A Drama for ‘Game of Thrones’
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones, earned his first ever Emmy nomination, in the Supporting Actor In A Drama category. He’ll be competing against Peter Dinklage, who plays his younger brother Tyrion in the show. Dinklage has been nominated for all seven seasons, winning twice, for season one (2011) and season five (2011). So this could be the year that Dinklage scores a hat-trick  or Coster-Waldau takes the stage for the first time. They’re up against Joseph Fiennes in The Handmaid’s Tale, David Harbour in Stranger Things, Mandy Patinkin in Homeland and Matt Smith in The Crown. Last year’s winner, John Lithgow, wasn’t in competition as he didn’t appear in season two of The Crown. Incidentally, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) is also nominated, for Supporting Actress In A Drama, making this the first year that all three Lannister siblings are in line for Emmys. All seven seasons of Game of Thrones are available to stream only on Showmax in Africa.

Jessica Biel is up for Best Actress In A Limited Series or Movie for ‘The Sinner’
Jessica Biel earned her first ever Emmy nomination for her role in The Sinner, based on Petra Hammesfahr’s bestselling novel. She plays Cora Tannetti, a  young mother who commits a public act of violence but has no idea why. The Sinner has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “Smartly unpredictable and led by powerful performances from a talented cast, the darkly compelling The Sinner sinks its hooks in fast and doesn’t let go.” Biel is up against Laura Dern in The Tale, Michelle Dockery in Godless, Edie Falco in Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, Regina King in Seven Seconds, and Sarah Paulson in American Horror Story: Cult. Last year’s winner, Nicole Kidman, wasn’t eligible as Big Little Lies’ second season is only due in 2019. The Sinner is coming soon to Showmax.

Ted Danson is up for Best Actor In A Comedy for ‘The Good Place’
Like Insecure, The Good Place’s first season was universally praised by critics, but snubbed by the Emmys. This year, it was second time lucky though, with Ted Danson cracking the nod to be nominated as Best Actor In a Comedy and Maya Rudolph up for Best Guest Actor. The Good Place is about Eleanor (Kristen Bell), who wakes up and finds out that she has died and ended up in an afterlife called The Good Place, designed by Michael (Danson) as a paradise populated only by people who have spent their lives doing good things – which clearly means Eleanor was put there by mistake. It’s been 25 years since Danson last won at the Emmys, for Cheers in 1993; to win his third, he’ll need to beat last year’s winner Donald Glover (Atlanta), Anthony Anderson in Black-ish, Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bill Hader in Barry, and William H. Macy in Shameless. The Good Place S1-2 is coming soon to Showmax.

Showmax has a number of other Emmy nominees coming soon, including Best Comedy nominee Silicon Valley S5 and Best Drama nominees The Handmaid’s Tale S2 and Westworld S2. Exact dates will be announced soon.

See the full Nominations list for Emmy 2018.

Hit Mermaid Horror ‘Siren’ Now Streaming First On Showmax

Forget everything you learned in The Little Mermaid: the happy ending the mermaids in Siren are looking for has nothing to do with marrying a prince and becoming human.

Instead Eric Wald, who created Siren with Dean White (The 100, The Shield),  cites Jaws and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as inspirations for the hit series, which reinstates mermaids as the kind of predators who were once famous for luring sailors to their death with their siren songs.

Siren follows Ryn (Game of Thrones’ Eline Powell), a mermaid who arrives in the seaside town of Bristol Cove looking for her sister but who is soon wreaking havoc and making friends. As The New York Times wrote, “She’s nothing like Ariel.” Or as Refinery 29 put it, “On Siren, The Little Mermaid grows up and fights back.”

Marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) must work together to find out who and what drove this primal hunter of the deep sea to land – and if there are more like her.

Siren has a 94% critics rating and an 84% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus is that, “Siren turns traditional lore on its tail with a unique, well-paced show that presents dangerous, violent mythical creatures in a surprisingly empathetic and exciting light.”

Freeform has already ordered a second season of this fish-out-of-water story, which Paste described as “gruesome and great;” TV Guide called “one of the more surprisingly fun shows of the season, with the potential to be great;” and Forbes labeled “The Vampire Diaries for mermaids.”

Zimbabwean-South African actress Sibongile Mlambo plays Donna, one of the mermaids, and was singled out as a “scene-stealer” by Shadow & Act. Based in LA since 2015, the Black Sails and Teen Wolf star is having a great year, with roles in the Netflix series Lost in Space and the Palme d’Or nominated indie thriller, Under The Silver Lake.

Freeform (formerly ABC Family) is also on a roll at the moment. In addition to Siren’s success as the number one new drama with young adults in the States, another first on Showmax, Cloak & Dagger, had the best-ever digital debut of any project in Freeform history, grown-ish ranked as a the number one cable comedy with young adults in the States, and Freeform placed first in digital viewing and as the most social cable network.

This success has been driven not just by the way the network has embraced strong, complex women on-screen, from Ryn in Siren to Tandy in Cloak & Dagger, but also by the diversity behind the scenes: half of Freeform’s episodic directors are female, diverse, or LGBTQ; 60% of series writers are female or diverse; and every original series on the network has a female producer.

Dive into the 10 episodes of Siren’s here, first and only on Showmax in Africa.