This month Showmax has some decidedly tasty new additions to its ever-growing catalogue of shows. Whether you’re in the mood for drama, comedy, thrillers, or something in between, February’s new additions will fit the bill.

American Crime, S1-S2

The first two seasons of American Crime are a must for viewers who want their crime procedurals shot through with biting drama. Featuring a top-notch cast and fantastic writing, American Crime tells a different story with each season, but both look at the human cost of what happens when tragedy strikes.

The first season kicks off with a brutal home invasion that results in the death of a young man and the sexual assault of his wife. As his estranged parents and the police try to piece together what happened, the fallout spreads through the community of the surrounding town, stirring up political and racial tensions.

The second revolves around a student accusing his classmates of drugging and sexually assaulting him, and then posting photos of the attack online. The victim’s memory of the occasion is called into question not only by the police but by the school he attends, which would rather the whole event was forgotten. It’s hard-hitting stuff and not for the easily offended, but essential nonetheless. Watch now »

The Handmaid’s Tale

One of the crowning jewels in Showmax’s February line-up, The Handmaid’s Tale has won as much critical acclaim as it has international awards. Its story takes place in a dystopian future where disease and pollution have reduced the fertile population of the Earth.

The plot centres on June, the titular “handmaiden”, a woman whose fertility has resulted in her being enslaved by the powerful. Once a free woman, she is now assigned to an elite family who preside over her until she can bear them a child. Equal parts social commentary and science-fiction nightmare, The Handmaid’s Tale – based on the novel by Margaret Atwood – is a harrowing vision. Watch now »

Emily Owens MD, S1

Once university is out of the way, adult world beckons and offers us the chance to leave all of the misery of school behind us, right? Well, not if you’re Emily Owens; after graduating from medical school and being interned at a hospital, Emily finds herself stuck reliving past traumas.

Not only is her high school crush a fellow intern but so is Cassandra Kopelson, the girl who made her life a living hell when she was in school. To her dismay, Emily also finds that the different hierarchies from school are still in place, except jocks are now surgeons, princesses are now plastic surgeons and Emily is still the outsider. This is a rather neat combination of ER and Saved By The Bell, which is as funny as it is endearing. Watch now »

The Cleaner

It takes a lot to break through to a drug addict. For William Banks, it was the birth of his daughter, which prompts him to make a deal with God; not only will he kick drugs once and for all, but he’ll do his best to help others to end their addictions too.

That’s the set up for The Cleaner, and if it sounds a little saccharine, stay tuned. Banks (played by Benjamin Bratt) takes a rather hardcore approach to rehabilitation; some of his methods are morally questionable at best, while others (which includes abduction) are flat-out illegal. The Cleaner may sound like something from Oprah’s bookclub, but it’s got more in common with a police procedural.

It shines a light of hope into the gritty world of junkies, criminals and drug dealers, although that light is held in a clenched fist. Watch now »

Under The Dome

Based on the novel by Stephen King, Under The Dome tells the story of a small town community who wake up one morning to find an invisible force-field is preventing anyone from leaving. As outside forces try to break in to save them, the townsfolk start to run out of resources, giving community grievances, long-standing rivalries and simmering tensions the chance to bubble over.

Equal parts horror and social commentary, Under The Dome is vintage King; take a simple conceit, fill it with believable characters and slowly twist the knife. It’s a fantastic series and a must for King fans. Watch now »

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