October is an action-packed month, from blockbusters like John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum to series like the spy thriller Condor S2 to the action-crime series L.A’s Finest, to a whole ton of martial arts movies from Kix and much more.
On the local front, catch more episodes of Sol Family, local drama series Nganya and 2019 Kalasha Awards nominee Baba Yao.
BEST OF LOCAL
SOL FAMILY | New episodes every Monday
If you’ve been waiting for the season finale before binge-watching Sol Family, your wait is almost over. Tune in for the final episode of this crazy popular reality series following the lives of the members of Sauti Sol on 26 October, straight after it airs on Maisha Magic.
NGANYA S1 & 2 | Binge from 8 October
The Swahili drama series from Maisha Magic East is shot in the streets of Nairobi and follows the journey of the driver, Gathee, and his conductor, Jamo, as they struggle to make a living. The two operate a 27-seater van, commonly known as Nganya, in Eastlands – the crime centre of the city. It’s raw and rugged and mirrors the transport industry to the letter.
Though not the best of friends, Gathee and Jamo have created a good working relationship in order to survive. Gathee is a husband and father who lives a double life and is hiding a deep secret from his wife. He gets caught up, making several wrong decisions in order to safeguard the well-being and safety of his family. Jamo, on the other hand, is new to the industry and rough around the edges: he takes up pickpocketing to put more money on the table.
The show stars -up and coming as well as established talent such as Maina wa Ndung’u (Kina), Isaac Kiarie (Nairobi Half Life), Mbeki Mwalimu (Selina, Sincerely Daisy), Fumino Oduor-as well as Jerry Mokua Sakwa just to name a few.
BABA YAO S1-3 | Binge from 15 October
Directed by Kimathi Iceberg (Mr and Mrs Singh), Baba Yao is a Kenyan comedy series that follows Joe (played by Alfred Kinyua, Poacher) who sired a daughter – Zawadi – with Sue when they were teenagers. 14 years later, his daughter Zawadi comes looking for him, turning his life and relationship upside down.
A two-times Kalasha Awards 2019 nominee for Best TV Comedy and Best Performance in a TV Comedy for Kieran Ratanya (Varshita), Baba Yao S1-3 is available to binge on Showmax from 15 October.
What else is new for fans of local series?
Every day in October brings new episodes of your faves, including Selina, Kina, Kovu, and Pete, as well as new episodes weekly of Njoro wa Uba, Nyanya Rukia, and Hullabaloo Estate. These all air at the same time as they air on Maisha Magic so no more waiting for new episodes
CONDOR S2 | First on Showmax | Binge from 1 October
Based on the James Grady novel Six Days of the Condor and the 1975 film adaptation Three Days of the Condor, Condor follows young CIA analyst Joe Turner, who is drawn into a deadly terrorist plot that threatens the lives of millions.
Joe is played by Max Irons (The Wife – and the son of Oscar winner Jeremy Irons), supported by Oscar winners William Hurt and Mira Sorvino and more. Condor has an 86% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which praises its “slick concept and propulsive pacing”, while Washington Post described it as “quite the little pulse-pounder – the sort of thing 24 fans can eat with a spoon.”
ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA | Binge from 1 October
Kirsten Dunst (Fargo, Spider-Man) was nominated for both a 2020 Golden Globe and a 2020 Critics’ Choice award for Best Actress in this comedy-drama about a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes, cons and kicks her way up the ranks of the cultish, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin.
The series has an 85% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus calls it, “a clever and absurd satire that will make you want to buy whatever Kirsten Dunst is selling.”
L.A.’S FINEST S1 | Binge from 1 October
Gabrielle Union (Good Deeds, Being Mary Jane) reprises her Bad Boys 2 role as Marcus’s sister Syd in this spinoff series, which earned her the 2019 Teen Choice Award for Choice Actress: Action.
Syd’s now working for the Los Angeles Police Department, where she partners up with Nancy McKenna, a working mom, played by Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four).
YEARS AND YEARS S1 | Binge from 1 October
From award-winning writer Russell T Davies (A Very English Scandal, Dr Who), Years And Years is a six-part drama which follows the lives of a single family, the Lyons, over fifteen years in a Britain rocked by unstable political, economic and technological change.
Russel Tovey and Emma Thompson were nominated for Supporting Actor awards at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards, where Years & Years was also up for Best Limited Series.
The show has an 8.4/10 rating on IMDb and an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “Years & Years scathingly critiques the present with a nihilistic projection of the future, leavening the devastating satire with a buoyant sense of humour and characters who are easy to become invested in.”
JETT S1 | Binge from 1 October
World-class thief Daisy “Jett” Kowalski (Carla Gugino from The Haunting of Hill House) is just out of prison and already being forced back into what got her there by a group of eccentric and dangerous criminals.
Jett has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus says, “Carla Gugino shines in Jett, a stylish – if overtly violent – noir that benefits from its willingness to crank its genre set-pieces up to eleven.”
ALEX RIDER S1 | First on Showmax | Binge from 15 October
When Alex Rider learns that his Uncle Ian was killed in the line of duty as a British spy – and not a car accident like he’s been told – everything changes for this otherwise normal teen.
Alex is approached by Alan Blunt, head of a top-secret offshoot of MI6 known as The Department, who reveals that he’s been unknowingly trained since childhood for the dangerous world of espionage. Pressured to leave his old life behind, Alex goes undercover to investigate the connection between the deaths of two billionaires and a remote boarding school called Point Blanc, aided by his classmate Kyra, best friend Tom, and his au pair Jack.
Based on the best-selling Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz, the series has an 81% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, with Daily Telegraph hailing it as “a junior version of the Bourne franchise… that can also keep adults entertained.”
INTO THE DARK | Binge from 19 October
In this horror anthology from Oscar-nominated producer Jason Blum (Us, Get Out), each episode is inspired by a holiday, from Halloween to Thanksgiving, Christmas to New Year’s Eve.
Look out for the likes of Teen Choice Award winner Josephine Langford (After), Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding, August: Osage County), and Harvey Guillén (Guillermo in What We Do In The Shadows).
Into The Dark was nominated for Best Series at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards 2020.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM | 1 October
John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassins’ guild, and, with a $14 million price tag on his head, he is the target of hitmen and women everywhere…
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum stars Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry alongside the like of Angelica Huston, Laurence Fishburne, Asia Kate Dillon (Billions) and Jason Mantzoukas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
KIX | 2 October
Showmax is adding no less than 30 Asian movies from KIX this month, including a buffet of classics from the kung fu masters themselves: Bruce Lee (The Way of the Dragon and Game of Death), Jackie Chan (Police Story, Wheels on Meals, Crime Story, and Armour of God) and Jet Li (Dr. Wai in the Scripture with No Words and Once Upon A Time in China), as well as classics like Iron Monkey (see below), Three (see below), The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, and A Chinese Odyssey, a two-part fantasy comedy from BAFTA-nominated writer-director Jeffrey Lau (Kung Fu Hustle), starring BAFTA nominee and Kung Fu Hustle lead Stephen Chow as the time-travelling, now-human Monkey King, who’s been reincarnated as the Joker.
IRON MONKEY Iron Monkey | 2 October
Hailed by Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino as “one of the greatest kung fu movies ever made,” Iron Monkey tells the legendary tale of one man with the courage to challenge an unjust system and bring hope to the poor and the oppressed.
Iron Monkey holds a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a cinematic marvel,” while The Houston Chronicle says it’s “pure ballet, pure candy for the eyes.”
THREE | 2 October
Crime thriller Three centres on a cornered criminal who goes to extraordinary lengths to buy time for his cohorts to rescue him from police custody.
Three has a 93% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, with IndieWire saying “there’s something remarkable about watching a master like Johnnie To reverse-engineer an entire thriller from one idea he just had to try – in this case, a shootout unlike any you’ve seen before.”
GREEN BOOK | 8 October
Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings) and Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) co-star in Green Book, winner of three Oscars and three Golden Globes last year, for Motion Picture of the Year, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Ali).
Ali plays Dr Don Shirley, a world-class pianist, who hires a bouncer from the Bronx (Mortensen) to drive him on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, where they have to rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were safe for African-Americans in the 1960s.
BLINSPOTTING | 19 October
In Blindspotting, Grammy and Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) stars as convicted felon Collin Hoskins. He’s just three days from completing his probation. Then Collin witnesses a white police officer gun down a black civilian on the streets of his home turf in Oakland, California, and feels his carefully controlled reality begin to slide out from under him.
Blindspotting has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Entertainment Weekly calling it, “A timely meditation on what it means to be black and presumed guilty in America.”
Former US President Barack Obama listed it among his favourite films of 2018, and a spin-off series based on the film has been greenlit by Starz.
GRETA | 19 October
Greta starts with an act of kindness: a young woman finds a handbag left on the subway and decides to return it to its owner, eccentric piano teacher Greta. But their friendship soon grows too close for comfort as the lonely widow becomes disturbingly obsessed with her.
Directed by Oscar winner Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), Greta stars Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Chloë Grace Moretz.
“Jordan squeezes the plot for every ounce of campy, disreputable fun,” says Rolling Stone. “Huppert pulls out all the funny-scary stops playing cat to Moretz’s mouse. You can’t take your eyes off these two dynamos.”
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK | 22 October
From the dark imaginations of Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro and acclaimed director André Øvredal (Trollhunter) comes Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, based on the iconic book series.
It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind but the small town of Mill Valley seems far removed from the unrest in the cities. For generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large there. In their mansion on the edge of town, Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time – stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home…
COLD PURSUIT Cold Pursuit | 22 October
Cold Pursuit stars Oscar nominee Liam Neeson (Taken, The Commuter) as small-town snowplough driver Nels Coxman, whose life is turned upside down after the death of his son in suspicious circumstances. Nels’s quest for the truth changes him from mild-mannered model citizen to ruthless vigilante as he takes on psychotic drug lord Viking and his henchmen. So Liam Neeson doing what he does best, then.
A remake of the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance by the same director (Hans Petter Moland), Cold Pursuit also stars Oscar winner Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Marriage Story).
Listed among Rotten Tomatoes’ Best Action Films of 2019, Cold Pursuit is “Taken on ice… pure revenge-movie escapism,” according to Rolling Stone.
DC SUPER HERO GIRLS S1 (EPS 1-12) | First on Showmax from 8 October
This fast-paced action-adventure cartoon series swoops into the lives of DC Comics’ superheroines in their teen years as they work together to fight crime… and survive high school. Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Bumblebee, Zatanna and Green Lantern tap all the awesome girl power – and the power of friendship – to overcome their insecurities and discover strengths they didn’t know they had.
UGLYDOLLS | 1 October
This heart-warming animated musical movie earned Kelly Clarkson a Teen Choice nomination for the song Broken & Beautiful, which also stars the three-time Grammy winner as Moxy, an “imperfect” plush toy looking for a child to love and accept her in the big world.
The movie also features the vocal stylings of Janelle Monáe, Wanda Sykes, Golden Globe winner Jane Lynch, Golden Globe nominee Nick Jonas of The Jonas Brothers, rapper Pitbull, Ice-T, and country star Blake Shelton, among others.
ENSLAVED | New episodes weekly
This brand-new six-part docuseries featuring Hollywood icon Samuel L Jackson looks at human trafficking from Africa to the New World, from three different perspectives.
Over 400 years, over 12 million enslaved Africans were shipped to the Americas by Western European slave traders. At least two million perished during the sea voyage. Using new diving technology to locate and examine sunken slave ships off three continents, the series reveals an entirely new perspective on the history of the transatlantic slave trade.
Meanwhile, on land, experts investigate the stories behind related locations, in Ghana, England and the Americas. Science and storytelling combine to examine the ideology, economics and politics of the transatlantic slave trade.
THE MASKED SINGER S2 | Binge from 1 October
This super fun, mega-popular musical reality/game-show just won an Emmy for its incredible costumes.
Season 2 features even more undercover celebs (last season’s line-up included Grammy winners, pro athletes, video gamers and YouTube influencers), all concealed from top to toe in awesome costumes as they perform covers of famous songs and get us all guessing… until they’re unmasked if they receive the fewest votes.
The show is hosted by Nick Cannon, with panellists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke taking their best shots (and often missing) at who the mystery contestants could be.
THE SHOP S2 | Binge from 1 October 2020
Season 2 of this HBO talk show joins professional basketballer LeBron James and businessman Maverick Carter as they settle in for discussions and debate with some of the biggest names in American sport and entertainment, in various barber shops around the US. This season’s guests include sports stars, alongside the likes of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, Whoopi Goldberg, Don Cheadle, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Pharrell Williams and Kevin Hart.
ELVIS GOES THERE S1 | Binge from 12 October
Renowned journalist and film critic Elvis Mitchell travels with A-list filmmakers to the places around the world that have inspired their work and shaped their identities. Explore London with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, and Paris with Sofia Coppola, and look at LA with Guillermo del Toro and Laurence Fishburne.
In Oakland, California, director Ryan Coogler (Black Panther, Fruitvale Station) shows us around his hometown, while Hamilton star Daveed Diggs (also in Blindspotting this month) shares the influence the East Bay has had on his work.
BEST OF AFRICA
VULA VALA S1 | Express on Sundays from 4 October
From the multiple SAFTA-winning producers of Lockdown, Black Brain Pictures, Vula Vala centres on Mzi, who is on the verge of signing a life-changing contract with the biggest football team in the country, the Pioneers, when he is arrested for hijacking and murder. Will he be able to clear his name or will his dream of football stardom be shattered forever?
CUT-OUT GIRLS | First on Showmax from 5 October
Cut-Out Girls is the story of how six young women’s lives are impacted by the actions of two aspiring sportsmen.
Filmed in Cape Town, it’s the debut film from SAFTA-nominated actress Nicola Hanekom (Faan se Trein, Hard Copy), based on her award-winning stage play about date rape and rape culture.
NADIA NAKED – THE ALBUM DOCUMENTARY | First on Showmax | 12 October
With over 1.7m followers on Instagram and more than 2.7m views for her Facebook channel, it’s not hard to see why Nadia Nakai is known as the Queen of Ragga.
The South African rapper was named Best Female artist at the 2019 South African Hip Hop Awards and won two 2019 All African Music Awards, with a further nomination for Album Of The Year in Southern Africa.
This 86-minute documentary follows the creation of her debut album, 2019’s Nadia Naked, which features guest appearances by the likes of Cassper Nyovest, Kwesta, and Khuli Chana.
ALSO ON SHOWMAX IN OCTOBER
Bless This Mess S2 | Detroit | Dream S1 | Florida Girls S1 | Growing Up Hip Hop S1-5 | Replicas
KIX collection: 3 Musketeers | Alien Predator | Black Maiden Chapter A | Black Maiden Chapter Q | Dragon Hero | Encroach | Helios | Heroes Amidst Turmoil | Initial D | Kung Fu Chefs | Seoul Raiders | Street Racer | The 36th Chamber of Shaolin | The Bare-Footed Kid | The Blood Brothers | The New Big Boss | Times of Warlords | Unbeatable Youth
Battle Drone | Cast Away | Forrest Gump | Hellboy (2019)
Jack Reacher | Jack Reacher: Never Go Back | Safari 4×4 Roetes S13
Fences | Magic Cellar | Robin Hood | Shaft | The Furnace | YES Documentaries
A Vigilante | All the Devil’s Men
Ghost | Killers | Polaroid
Dragon | Witches in the Woods