Showmax has announced the debut of the first Kenyan original series, Crime and Justice on its platform on 22nd February. Also landing on Showmax this February is Fargo SN 4, starring award-winning comedian Chris Rock.
Some of the other shows coming to Showmax include Raised by Wolves, Bosch S6 and Showmax Originals – reality show I Am Laycon and psychological thriller DAM.
1. CRIME & JUSTICE
Showmax’s first original Kenyan series co-production with global broadcaster CANAL+ Crime and Justice, is set to premiere on 22nd February.
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.
2. I AM LAYCON
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 garnered over 2.8m Instagram followers. He is now working on his first album, and has landed a brand ambassadorship deal with GOtv and recently topped a million hits on YouTube for the music video to his hit single, HipHop.
3. DAM S1
The new Showmax Original series DAM is a 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 institutionalized, 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), a King frontman Laudo Liebenberg (Black Sails, Die Byl), and Gerald Steyn (Meisies Wat Fluit, Fiela Se Kind).
4. RAISED BY WOLVES S1
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 renewed Raised by Wolves for a second season.
5. THE CAPTURE S1
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.
6. THE STAND
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) and rising star Owen Teague (It, Mrs. Fletcher).
Executive producer and Emmy nominee Benjamin Cavell (Justified, Homeland) said, “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.
7. FARGO S4
Created by Emmy winner Noah Hawley (Legion, the upcoming untitled 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.
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,” said NPR.
8. BOSCH S6
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.
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.
9. THE BAY S1
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.
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.
10. THE ROOKIE S1 & S2
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, 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.
11. HIGH MAINTENANCE S3 & S4
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 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.
12. MOMMA NAMED ME SHERIFF S2
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.
13. UTOPIA FALLS
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.