Just in time for the icy cold couch weather, Showmax’s June line-up is hot, hot, hot, with great new movies like Oscar winner Blackkklansman, the Oscar-nominated finale to the animated blockbuster series How to Train Your Dragon and The Secret Life of Pets 2.
Hardcore witches in Motherland: Fort Salem, Season 5 of Billions and brand-new Gen-Z skater drama Betty lead the international series highlights, while the local scene just keeps getting better with the award-winning banned Kenyan film Rafiki, and the entire binge-worthy second season of The Bachelor, where 22 beauties vie for SA’s most eligible hottie, Marc Buckner.
Plus, three newly released and highly acclaimed documentaries are set to fire up your grey cells and kick off some heated debate.
Motherland: Fort Salem S1 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 June
Fantasy drama Motherland: Fort Salem is set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution by cutting a deal with the government to fight for the country. The series follows three young women as they fight terrorist threats with supernatural tactics.
Cape Town actress Jessica Sutton (Kissing Booth) and Taylor Hickson (Deadly Class) are among the talented young cast that has helped earn the show a 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Miracle Workers S1 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 June
God (Golden Globe winner Steve Buscemi from Fargo and Boardwalk Empire) plans to destroy the Earth, two low-level angels (Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter and Geraldine Viswanathan from Bad Education) must convince their boss to save humanity. They bet him they can pull off their most impossible miracle yet: help two humans fall in love.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was nominated for a 2019 Teen Choice: Comedy Actor award for his performance. The show has a 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety writing, “Ultimately, the small miracle of Miracle Workers is that it launches past any obvious gimmicks to favour incisive punchlines that find humour and warmth in the most unusual — and undeniably fascinating — places.”
The Good Karma Hospital S3 | Binge from 1 June
This escapist hospital drama series was inspired by series creator Dan Sefton’s experiences as a doctor in South Africa.
The series follows junior doctor Ruby Walker, who ditches London and a broken heart for a job in an under-funded rural South India hospital run by the tough-as-nails Dr Lydia Fonseca.
The series stars Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) and BAFTA nominee Amanda Redman (New Tricks).
Season 3 brings Ruby back to the hospital following a four-month absence, where she receives a chilly welcome from both Lydia and a wounded Gabriel, whose aloofness belies the feelings he still has for her.
The show has 80% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with New York Times saying, “If Good Karma Hospital is your kind of drug, you’ll want to mainline it.”
Robot Chicken S9-10 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 June 2020
Since 2005, the brilliantly written, frequently bizarre and always OTT Adult Swim stop-motion sketch comedy has grown into a hit show you can bank on for black comedy, pop culture parody and surreal humour.
Most of the characters are voiced by the Emmy-winning series creators Seth Green, Matthew Senreich and Breckin Meyer. Guest stars include Seth MacFarlane, Patrick Stewart, George Takei, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston and Daniel Radcliffe.
The Walking Dead also finally gets its turn on the Robot Chicken rotisserie with the long-awaited Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who’s Walking, in which the Robot Chicken Nerd encounters an aging survivor at the Walking Dead Museum.
Robot Chicken has an 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s won six Emmys, an Annie Award and the Jury Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
Billions S5 | Tuesdays at 23:00 from 9 June | Same day as M-Net
It’s adapt or die as the struggle for power becomes a fight for survival in the new season of Billions. Alliances crumble as Bobby Axelrod (Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis from Homeland) and Chuck Rhoades (Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti from Sideways) go head to head once more.
Season 5 ushers in a new threat to Axe’s rule in the form of social impact pioneer Mike Prince, while Golden Globe winner Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, Hot Zone) joins the cast as Ivy League sociology professor and bestselling author Catherine Brant.
Billions has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 8.4/10 on IMDb.
Betty S1 | Mondays at 22:30 from 22 June | Same day as M-Net
Based on Crystal Moselle’s critically acclaimed feature Skate Kitchen, HBO’s new six-episode half-hour series Betty follows a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through New York’s predominantly male-oriented skateboarding scene.
Betty has a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Earnest, audacious, and effortlessly cool, Betty captures the spirit of skating and friendship with style.”
“Brazen and delightfully gruesome at times, Betty transcends the subculture it centers to provide a story of strength for all girls.” AVClub
Devils S1 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 June
Golden Globe nominee Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy in Grey’s Anatomy) and Alessandro Borghi, who’s won acting awards at Venice and Berlin, co-star in this adaptation of the bestselling book by Italian trader Guido Maria Brera – an insider’s look at the world of millionaire bankers.
The series centres on Massimo Ruggero, a charismatic and fearless Italian banker. With a stellar track record on the London trading ﬂoor of investment powerhouse NYL Bank, Massimo is a shoo-in for promotion to vice-CEO. But when Massimo’s ﬁercest rival, Edward Stuart, turns up dead, Massimo finds himself under suspicion, and uncovers a vast political game plan orchestrated by the devils who rule the world’s financial fate.
Yesterday | 8 June
Jack Malik is a small-time singer-songwriter in an English coastal town who’s rapidly facing the reality that his dream probably isn’t going anywhere, in spite of the fanatical support of his best friend, manager and biggest fan, Ellie. Then there’s a mysterious global blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus, and wakes up to find that The Beatles never existed…
This magical mystery tour of a movie grossed $153.7 million at the global box office, and has an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad for a sweet little romcom.
Rafiki | First on Showmax | 8 June
Conventional wisdom says “Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but Kena and Ziki long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls are forced to choose between happiness and safety.
Winner of 16 international awards but still banned in Kenya, Rafiki catapulted director Wanuri Kahiu onto Time Magazine’s 100 Next list in 2019 and earned her two nominations at Cannes, for the Un Certain Regard and Queer Palm Awards.
Rafiki was nominated for a 2020 GLAAD Media Award, and won at NewFest, New York’s LGBT Film Festival. It took two awards at the Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and a further two at TWIST, the Seattle Queer Film Festival.
With a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics across the world love Rafiki, with Variety calling it, “Impossible not to celebrate”.
Time Freak | 11 June
You know that time you messed up in a relationship and got your heartbroken, maybe let the one that could have been The One slip through your fingers? Well, what if you could go back and fix it? What if, like teen genius Stillman, you had a time machine, that would give you all the do-overs you needed to get it right?
This comedy drama with a sci-fi twist stars Asa Butterfield and Game of Thrones’ Sansa Stark, Sophie Turner. Los Angeles Times calls it “A whimsical rom-com that’s a little bit “Hot Tub Time Machine,” and a little bit “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
Blackkklansman | 25 June
Unbelievably based on actual events, Blackkklansman is, as the opening titles tell us, “some fo’ real shit.” It tells the story of Ron Stallworth, Colorado Springs’ first African-American detective, who attempts to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s … with the help of a Jewish stand-in.
It stars John David Washington (Ballers) in the Golden Globe-nominated lead role, with Adam Driver in an Oscar-nominated supporting role.
The film won auteur-director Spike Lee a long-overdue Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, making it his first competitive Academy Award in a 34-year career that’s included films like Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X.
Blackkklansman was nominated for a further five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Adam Driver and Best Original Score for Terrence Blanchard. It won the Grand Prix at Cannes, was nominated for four Golden Globes and was selected as one of 2018’s top 10 films by The American Film Institute.
The film has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “There’s real, expressive joy in its anger,” says Los Angeles Times.
After Truth: Disinformation and the cost of Fake News | First on Showmax | 1 June
This brand-new HBO documentary looks into the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of “fake news” in the US, focusing on the real-life consequences of disinformation campaigns, conspiracy theories and false news stories on the average person, with case studies from the wildfire theories around Seth Rich’s murder to the “Pizzagate” incident fuelled by disinformation about the leaked Clinton emails.
Released in March this year, it has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety calling it, “An absorbing and impressively researched documentary.”
Kill Chain: The Cyber War On America’s Elections | First on Showmax | 1 June
In Kill Chain – The Cyber War On America’s Elections, Finnish hacker and cyber security expert Harri Hursti investigates the exploitable vulnerabilities in modern election technology, exposing just how unprotected America’s election systems really are.
This 90-minute HBO documentary has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. TIME Magazine says, “Kill Chain demands that we ask whom we’re trusting, and why.”
The Scheme | First on Showmax | 1 June
The Scheme tells the story of college basketball insider Christian Dawkins and the FBI investigation into the biggest corruption scandal in collegiate sports history, which threatened to take down the NCAA, and landed prominent Adidas execs and assistant coaches behind bars.
It’s directed by Emmy-nominated producer Pat Kondelis, and has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with CNN calling it “A riveting, meticulously detailed guide to a system that seemingly invites rule breaking at every turn.”
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World | 22 June
Inseparable besties Hiccup and the big screen’s most adorable dragon ever, Toothless, are back for their final adventure in the beloved Dreamworks threequel inspired by Cressida Cowell’s best-selling book series.
Chief Hiccup and Astrid have created a utopia for dragons and vikings alike, but now a new danger, in the form of a hired tyrant named Grimmel, threatens everything they love, just as they make a magical discovery that raises the stakes higher than ever.
Jay Baruchel reprises his Emmy winning role as Hiccup, alongside Golden Globe Winner America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, Superstore) as Astrid. The Hidden World was nominated for a 2020 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 91% critics rating.
Rolling Stone says, “Dazzling animation, light-on-its-feet humor and a ton of heart bring the ‘Dragon’ trilogy to a thrilling end.”
The Secret Life of Pets 2 | 29 June
The high-energy hilarity is back and the fur’s going to fly as our favourite Jack Russell, Max, and his friends face brand-new adventures. With a new baby in the house, the ever-protective Max’s neuroses land him in pet therapy, until he finds a mentor in the form of Welsh Sheepdog Rooster (voiced by Oscar nominee Harrison Ford). But the fun is only getting started as all our favourites from the first movie return, along with some fresh faces.
The follow-up to the original 2016 blockbuster, The Secret Life of Pets 2 was a 2020 Kids Choice nominee for Favorite Animated Movie. It has a 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and earned $429.4 million at the global box office.
Both Guardian and Variety say it’s even better than the first movie, with Variety praising its “stronger sentiments and higher hijinks”.
Find Me in Paris S3 | First on Showmax | 18 June
Fans of this popular teen dramedy dance series will be delighted to see the love story continue in the third and final season. The series follows Russian ballerina-in-training Lena (Jessica Lord), who lived in 1905 until she was accidentally transported to 2018 by a magical necklace. There, she joins the modern Opéra de Paris dance school in a bid to conceal her identity and evade the Time Collectors until she can return to her beloved Henri. She’s done such a good job of blending in, though, that she might never want to go home …
The series has a 100% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and has a four-star rating on Common Sense Media, which recommends the series for ages 10+, praising its “international flair and a welcome wholesome feel”.
LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar S1 | 1 June
This LEGO prequel to the 2015 film Jurassic World is also a direct followup to Lego Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit TV special (so watch that first).
Legend of Isla Nublar sees newly hired animal behaviorist Owen Grady and Assistant Manager Claire Dearing having to wrangle runaway dinosaurs, ongoing expansion of the park, unpredictable weather and an impulsive boss, and that’s before the trouble starts.
Common Sense Media, which says, “there’s always something visually and comically appealing about LEGO productions like this one. Small details – the disproportionate size of a coffee cup relative to the character using it, or the image of a disc of blocky leaves broken from a tree by a hungry herbivore – make its animation unique and relatable to viewers familiar with Lego building sets.”
Also catch LEGO Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape on Showmax.
ALSO ON SHOWMAX IN JUNE:
Mr Pickles S3 | The Halcyon S1 | Pandora S1 | The War of the Worlds S1 | Shades of Blue S1-S3 | Stitchers S1 – S3 | Growing Up Hip Hop S1 | Spud 1, 2 & 3 | Elizabeth Harvest | Final Portrait | Voetspore South Africa | Voetspore Indië
End of Watch | LOL
Africa’s Hidden Kingdoms | Africa’s Wild Horizons
Divergent | Our Perfect Wedding S6 & S7 | Fruitvale Station | Two Tails | The Switch | Date My Family | Our Perfect Wedding
Safari 4×4 Roetes S11&12 | Nadia Naked – The Album Documentary
The Loft House | Gemini Man
Madea’s Witness Protection