CRIME & JUSTICE | Showmax Original | From 22 February
The gritty police procedural and legal show Crime & Justice is Showmax’s first original Kenyan series and second co-production with global broadcaster CANAL+.
Set in Nairobi, the series features a heavy-weight cast with Sarah Hassan (Plan B, How to Find a Husband) and Alfred Munyua (Poacher, The First Grader, Sense8) starring as Makena and Silas, the two detectives at the heart of the topical show that follows one ripped-from-the-headlines case per episode, all the way through to the courtroom verdict.
The cast includes Maqbul Mohammed (Varshita, Auntie Boss), Paul Ogola (Sense 8, Kati Kati) and Brian Ogola (Lusala, Disconnect), with stage and screen legend John Sibi-Okumu (The Constant Gardener, The First Grader), Muhugu Theuri (Pillow Talk, Pieces of Us), Brian Abajah (Sincerely Daisy), Martin Githinji (Sue na Jonnie, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) and Justin Mirichii (Rafiki, Watu Wote) in guest roles.
I AM LAYCON | Showmax Original | Binge episodes 1-5 from 11 February and episodes 6-10 from 4 March 2021
Big Brother Naija Season 5 winner, Lekan Agbeleshe aka Laycon, is set to star in Showmax’s first-ever Nigerian Original, I Am LAYCON.
Fans will get to see Laycon’s journey after winning 85 million Naira worth of cash prizes on BBNaija, as he settles into life as a star with his own reality TV show, while juggling his personal relationships and growing music career in one of Africa’s biggest cities, Lagos.
Following his BBNaija triumph, Laycon already has over 2.8m Instagram followers. He is now working on his first album, has landed a brand ambassadorship deal with GOtv and recently topped a million YouTube views for the music video to his hit single, HipHop.
DAM S1| Showmax Original | Binge from 22 February
The new Showmax Original series DAM is a twisty and twisted psychological thriller written and directed by four-time SAFTA winner Alex Yazbek (The Wild, Unmarried, Isibaya).
Silwerskerm Best Actress winner Lea Vivier (Wonderlus) stars as Yola Fischer, who returns from Chile to the Eastern Cape to bury her father. She discovers he’s left his farm to her, to the irritation of her sister, Sienna. This may be more of a curse than a blessing though, as the house seems to be trying to tell her something. 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.
Two-time SAFTA winner Pallance Dladla (Shadow, Isibaya) co-stars as Themba, an intriguing biker on the run. Also look out for Hollywood actors Neil Sandilands (The Flash, The 100, The Americans) and Natasha Loring (Beaver Falls); SAFTA winner Antoinette Louw (An Act of Defiance, Die Laaste Tango); 2020 Africa Movie Academy Award nominee Faniswa Yisa (Blood Psalms, Knuckle City and Skin); aKing frontman Laudo Liebenberg (Black Sails, Die Byl), and Gerald Steyn (Meisies Wat Fluit, Fiela Se Kind).
The biggest TV series ever shot in South Africa, Raised by Wolves is an HBO sci-fi show that centres on two androids tasked with raising human children on virgin planet Kepler-22b after earth was destroyed in a great war.
Raised by Wolves has already been nominated for three 2021 Critics’ Choice Super Awards: Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series, Best Actor: Sci-Fi for Travis Fimmel (Vikings’ Ragnar) and Best Actress: Sci-Fi for Danish actress Amanda Collin.
Four-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott, who directed the sci-fi classics Alien, Blade Runner and The Martian, executive produces and directs the first two episodes. Inverse hails the show as “Ridley Scott’s best sci-fi since Alien… there’s no TV show quite like it.”
HBO has already renewed Raised by Wolves for a second season, with NME saying, “Ridley Scott’s AI stunner is on a different planet… one of 2020’s most unmissable TV experiences.”
THE CAPTURE S1 | Binge from 15 February
Seeing is deceiving in this riveting eight-episode BBC crime thriller that centres on former Special Forces Lance Corporal Shaun Emery. He’s accused of kidnapping – with damning CCTV footage to prove the crime. But as Detective Inspector Rachel Carey of Homicide and Serious Crime Command digs deeper, she begins to uncover a conspiracy that calls everything about the case into question.
Already renewed for a second season, The Capture stars Critics’ Choice nominee Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) and Callum Turner (War & Peace), who was nominated for a 2020 BAFTA for the role. Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) and Critics’ Choice nominee Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy, Luther) co-star.
Written and directed by BAFTA winner Ben Chanan (The Missing), The Capture has a 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Times dubbing it the “thinking man’s Bodyguard,” The Guardian “perfect TV,” and Time Magazine, “The rare thriller that is not just smart and gripping, but also deeply engaged with our bizarre, often terrifying present…”
THE STAND | Binge episodes 1-4 from 9 February and eps 5-9 from 16 March
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, The Stand is an apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail (Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg from Ghost, The Color Purple, Sister Act) and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man (Golden Globe winner Alexander Skarsgård from Big Little Lies, True Blood).
The stellar ensemble cast includes 2020 Emmy nominee Jovan Adepo (Watchmen), People’s Choice winner Katherine McNamara (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, Maze Runner), MTV Award winner Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, Californication), Teen Choice winner Nat Wolff (The Fault In Our Stars), MTV Awards nominees Amber Heard (Aquaman) and James Marsden (Westworld), Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine), Golden Globe nominee Irene Bedard (Pocahontas, Westworld), Sundance winner Brad William Henke (Orange Is The New Black), and rising star Owen Teague (It, Mrs Fletcher).
Showrunner, executive producer and Emmy nominee Benjamin Cavell (Justified, Homeland) says, “None of us could have imagined that Stephen King’s 40-year-old masterpiece about a global pandemic would come to be so eerily relevant,” adding that the series includes a new coda that King has wanted to add for decades.
FARGO S4 | Tuesdays at 23:30, same day as M-Net. Binge from 16 March 2021Created by Emmy winner Noah Hawley (Legion, the upcominguntitled Star Trek sequel) as a spin-off of the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning classic movie, Fargo has won three Golden Globes, six Emmys and a Peabody Award. It’s #37 on IMDb’s Top Rated TV list, with an 8.9/10 score, and holds a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Season 4, which was Complex’s TV show of 2020, is set in Kansas City in 1950, with four-time Emmy-winning comedian Chris Rock starring as Loy Cannon, the head of the African American crime family who trades sons with the head of the Italian Mafia as part of a tenuous truce. Golden Globe winner Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal, Mary Poppins Returns), Emmy winner Glynn Turman (Super 8), BAFTA nominee Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl), and Teen Choice nominee Jason Schwartzman (The Grand Budapest Hotel) co-star. Rock and Turman are up for Best Actor and Best Supporting actor respectively at the 2021 Critics’ Choice Awards.
“Fargo, as in past seasons, manages to be both more dramatic, and more comic, than almost any other show on TV right now,” says NPR, while Complex hails it as “high art for TV lovers… There aren’t many shows shot this well, nor are there many shows taking this many risks between the first and last frames, seemingly without a care for convention or consideration… If only more TV series could operate at Fargo levels of greatness.”
BOSCH S6 | First on Showmax | Binge now
Based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling crime novels The Overlook and Dark Sacred Night, Season 6 of Bosch finds Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver from The Good Wife and The Town) at the centre of a complex murder case, a messy federal investigation, and a catastrophic threat to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Edgar (Jamie Hector from The Wire) sets about cleaning house and Irving (Lance Reddick from The Wire) kicks off his mayoral campaign.
The ever-popular Emmy and Saturn Award-nominated series holds an 8.4/10 score on IMDb and has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As Newsday says, Bosch is “still one of TV’s top addictions.”
Guest stars this season include Tzi Ma (Mulan, The Man in the High Castle), and Julie Ann Emery (Better Call Saul, Preacher). Bosch has been renewed for a seventh and final season.
THE BAY S1 | Binge now
When detective sergeant, family liaison officer and mother of two Lisa Armstrong (three-time BAFTA Scotland nominee Morven Christie from Grantchester) ends up having sex in an alleyway with a man she meets on a night out (Jonas Armstrong from Ripper Street), she isn’t expecting to see him again… until he turns up as the prime suspect in the disappearance of his own kids on the very night Lisa was with him.
Dubbed the ‘Northern Broadchurch’, the six-episode British drama series has an 80% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian calling it “a satisfying, knotty, plotty hour.”
The series was nominated for a Best Actress BAFTA in Scotland and for Best Director at the Wales BAFTAs, as well as for Best Drama Script at the 2020 Irish Film and Television Awards. With a viewership of over 7 million in the UK, The Bay has already been renewed for a second season.
THE ROOKIE S1 & S2 | Binge now
The Rookie stars multiple People’s Choice Award winner Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) as John Nolan, who is pursuing his dream to join the LAPD after a divorce. But as their oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from those who see him as just a walking midlife crisis.
Created by Alexi Hawley (Castle and The Following),this easy-to-love police procedural has an 8.1/10 score on IMDb and was nominated for a 2020 Emmy award for its stunt work.
The cast includes Alyssa Diaz (Ray Donovan’s Teresa), Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter, Condor), Eric Winter (The Mentalist), and Black Reel nominee Richard T. Jones (Santa Clarita Diet). Also look out for guest appearances from the likes of Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Enver Gjokaj (Avengers), Felicia Day (Supernatural), and Seth Green (Robot Chicken), as well as celeb cameos from the likes of Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, will.i.am and Lionel Richie.
HIGH MAINTENANCE S3 & S4 | Binge now
Still keeping spirits high and rolling with the times, comedy anthology series High Maintenance follows New York’s most chilled-out deliveryman and weed dealer as he visits his clientele, dipping into the lives of people across New York.
High Maintenance has an 8.1/10 score on IMDb and a 100% critics rating for both Season 3 and Season 4 on Rotten Tomatoes. “There are as many fascinating New York stories as there are fascinating New Yorkers, and High Maintenance continues to mine the depths for the most luminous ones,” says indieWire. “Sinclair and Blichfeld’s world feels real and lived in – a real show, about a real city.”
High Maintenance is co-created by Emmy-winning casting director Katja Blichfeld (30 Rock) and series star Ben Sinclair, who plays Rufus Mann, aka The Guy. The anthology format lends itself to a host of guest appearances, including Britt Lower (Future Man, Casual) in Season 3 and Golden Globe nominee and BAFTA winner Rebecca Hall (Tales from the Loop, Frost/Nixon, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Emmy nominee Nick Kroll (The League, Kroll Show), and Ken Leung (Industry, The Blacklist, Lost) in Season 4.
MOMMA NAMED ME SHERIFF S2 | Express from the US from 15 February, first on Showmax
He still lives at home with his Momma, his best friend is a doll, and he’s the Sheriff of Old Town.
Momma Named Me Sheriff is a spinoff from Mr. Pickles (2014-2019), the cult Adult Swim series about the Goodman family, who live in Old Town with their lovable pet dog, Mr. Pickles, a deviant border collie with a secret satanic streak.
The spin-off is created by Mr. Pickles creators Will Carsola and Dave Stewart, with Carsola writing, directing and reprising his role as Sheriff, along with Emmy nominee Jay Johnston as his new deputy Stanley Goodman, Golden Globe nominee Brooke Shields as Beverly Goodman, and Stewart as Floyd.
Utopia Falls is set in the domed city of New Babyl, which holds an annual coming-of-age arts contest called The Exemplar. When a group of young competitors uncovers a hidden archive of cultural artefacts from the old world, it throws everything they know about New Babyl into question… Den of Geek describes Utopia Falls as “Divergent meets Step Up,” while Polygon prefers “The Hunger Games meet Glee.”
Utopia Falls is written and executive produced by fast-rising Canadian Screen Award-nominated writer-director R.T. Thorne (Find Me in Paris, Blindspot) and Hugo Award nominee Joseph Mallozzi (Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis), and stars a talented young ensemble cast, as well as Kate Drummond (Wynonna Earp) and rapper Snoop Dogg.
Utopia Falls won a 2020 Directors Guild of Canada Award for Production Design, with a further nomination for its Picture Editing.