Wondering what South Africans are addicted to on Showmax? We got a sneak peek into some of the most binge-watched shows over the last few months.
It’s an interesting bunch, from HBO’s award-winning Big Little Lies to Showmax’s First Original, Tali’s Wedding Diary, and there’s comedy, drama and home-grown classics in the mix.
Big Little Lies S1
One of the best shows produced by HBO in the last year, Big Little Lies comes on like a cross between Desperate Housewives and The Killing. Set in upper-class Monterey, California, the show follows the lives of four women (played by Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley) whose polite exteriors mask some rather dark problems.
When a murder takes place in the show’s backdrop, the atmosphere of Monterey goes from a simmering pot of resentment and anxiety to something a lot darker and twisted. The writing is diamond cut and the performances are superb; the show raked in a host of awards at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and was so successful that it went from being a limited series (i.e. with only season) to an ongoing franchise – HBO announced recently that a second season is in the works. Watch now »
Grey’s Anatomy S1-S12
Proving that tear-soaked drama will always trump sword and sorcery and hacking thrillers, Grey’s Anatomy is one of Showmax’s most binge-watched shows. Set in a hospital in Seattle, Grey’s Anatomy uses the medic drama template established by ER in the 90s and then takes it to new heights.
The series follows Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) who starts a surgical internship at Seattle Grace Hospital, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her father, one of the country’s most esteemed general surgeons. While she and her fellow interns struggle to balance their personal lives with the sometimes harrowing experience of surgery, Grey’s life is further complicated when she falls for one of her mentors, surgeon Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).
While this sounds like grist for the mill of a slapstick comedy, Grey’s Anatomy is as near-the-knuckle as drama gets. It contains more than its fair share of light moments, to be sure, but seriously, make sure you have a box of tissues handy for the pivotal episodes. You’ll be crying a river if you have any heart at all. Watch now »
To most, working in retail is about as attractive as being paid to watch paint dry. Sure, it’ll be good money for the first 10 minutes, but then the mind-numbing reality will set in. Superstore takes the ennui of being a store-hound and injects enough oddball characters and laugh-out-loud gags to make this prospect look appealing.
Set in a US retail warehouse, Superstore follows the (mis)fortunes of its protagonists with equal parts dry humour and human emotion. It’s snark with a heart, and one of the funniest shows you’ll watch all year. Think Makro run by the staff from The Office, and you’re starting to get the idea. Watch now »
Tali’s Wedding Diary S1
Everyone has a friend like Tali. You know, the one mate who is constantly on their phone? Who’s envious of a YouTube clip she didn’t create in the middle of dinner? Who doesn’t believe anything happens for real unless she can post it on Instagram?
Imagine a friend who decided to document her entire wedding on her smartphone and revealed a warts-and-all expose of her insecurities, hopes and jealousies while being frequently hilarious. That, in a nutshell is Tali’s Wedding Diary.
That’s not to say that Tali isn’t good company. Played by Julia Anastasopoulos (viewers may already know her as Suzelle DIY), Tali is may strike some viewers as annoying initially, but the further the series progresses, she becomes a character the audience is rooting for – whether through pity, shadenfreude or naked recognition of the stress involved in organising a wedding. This Showmax original is almost required viewing for players in the social media age. The fact that it’s cleverly funny is just the icing on the OTT wedding cake. Watch now »
Vetkoekpaleis (episodes 1-65)
One for the old school. From the pen of Willie Esterhuizen (Orkney Snork Nie), Vetkoekpaleis tells the story of a fast-food joint that has seen better days. Yes, the business starts at the bottom and tries to work its way up with rather funny results.
Between nutty customers and oddball employees, the show also mixes in sly in-jokes and witty one-liners. It’s one of the most popular South African shows ever made, and is as instantly comforting as a warm vetkoek on a chilly day. Watch now »
Looking for something new to binge? 11 new series have just launched on Showmax.