BY BILLY SUTER
A SELECTION of new series as well as fresh seasons of the award-winning Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale are soon to be shown on popular television streaming channel, Showmax.
The first season of Big Little Lies took four Golden Globes and eight Emmy awards. The second season, which has Meryl Streep joining the cast, is headed for Showmax at 9pm weekly from June 10, when it will be shown simultaneously on DStv’s M-Net.
On the surface, in the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, everything seems the same. The mothers continue to dote, the husbands support, the children remain adorable and the houses are just as beautiful.
But the night of the school fundraiser changed all that, leaving the community reeling as the ‘Monterey Five’ – Madeline, Celeste, Jane, Renata and Bonnie – bond together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
Season two has a new director in Oscar-winner Andrea Arnold, while three-time Oscar winner and four-time Golden Globe winner Meryl Streep joins the star-studded cast of Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, Golden Globe winner Laura Dern, People’s Choice winner Shailene Woodley and Teen Choice nominee Zoe Kravitz.
The third season of The Handmaid’s Tale is also scheduled for screening on Showmax weekly from June 10, having been place-shifted from M-Net.
In the new season, June (two-time Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss) finds herself once again in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States.
Gilead has returned to “traditional values”, with women treated as property of the state. Despite the overwhelming odds, June is struggling to strike back against the regime.
The first season of this fine show was based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel of the same name, which won the first Arthur C. Clarke Award.
Showmax viewers will be able to binge-watch Escape at Dannemora from May 22. It stars Patrocia Arquette as an employee at a maximum security prison in upstate New York, where she becomes romantically involved with a pair of inmates (Golden Globe nominee Paul Dano and Oscar winner Benicio del Toro) and helps them escape.
Based on a true story, Escape At Dannemora is directed by actor Ben Stiller and won Arquette a 2019 Golden Globe award as Best Actress in a Limited Series. Stiller took the 2019 Directors Guild of America Award for Limited Series.
A first on Showmax, from May 20, is season two of Barry, a series teaming Bill Hader and Henry Winkler in their Emmy-winning roles.
This dark comedy series is about a depressed war veteran-turned-hitman who finds passion and romance in a local acting class while on a job in Los Angeles.
As season two opens, Barry (Hader) tries to extricate himself from a violent criminal triangle involving the Chechen, Bolivian and Burmese underworld – not to mention some deeply suspicious LA detectives and Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root), Barry’s erstwhile boss, who has found it exceedingly difficult to hire a replacement as capable as his onetime ace assassin.
Also worth catching is Gentleman Jack, which will show on Showmax at the same time it screens on M- Net, from May 28.
Set in 1832, Gentleman Jack focuses on real-life English landowner Anne Lister (Suranne Jones from Doctor Foster) and her determination to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, by reopening her coal mines and marrying well.
However, the charismatic, single-minded Lister – who dresses in black from head-to-toe and has charmed her way into high society – has no intention of marrying a man.
Instead, she is determined to stay true to her nature by marrying Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle from Peaky Blinders and Bodyguard), a sheltered heiress who happens to be a seriously wealthy woman.
A remarkable and unlikely love story, Gentleman Jack was created, written and co-directed by four-time Bafta Award-winner Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax).
A first on Showmax will be season one of Patrick Melrose, scheduled to be available to binge from June
Based on the Edward St Aubyn novels, Patrick Melrose follows Patrick (Emmy winner Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock), a troubled member of the English upper-class, from his childhood in the South of France, to his adult life in New York and London.
Also keep an eye out, from June 3, for the third season of Insecure, created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore. It follows the friendship of two black women as they deal with their own real-life flaws while attempting to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences.
Another first on Showmax, from June 3, will be the first season of Good Trouble, a spinoff from The Fosters, which will be available to binge watch from July 1.
Callie ( Maia Mitchell) and Mariana Foster (Cierra Ramirez) move to Los Angeles and begin their lives as young adults. Mariana tackles the male-dominated world of tech and Callie faces the harsh realities of the legal system clerking for a federal judge.
Faced with new neighbours, new challenges and, of course, new romances, the sisters must depend on one another to navigate the City of Angels.
Scheduled to be available to binge-watch from July 4, showing at the same time as on M-Net, is the first season of Warriors, described as a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century.
The series follows Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a martial arts prodigy who emigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful organised crime families.
Filmed in Cape Town, the show is based on writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee and is created by Jonathan Tropper (Banshee), with Fast and Furious director Justin Lin as an executive producer.
Also watch for season one of Euphotia from July 6. It is an HBO adaptation of an Israeli TV series of the same name.
It stars Zendaya (The Greatest Showman) as a drug-addicted 17-year-old named Rue. Writers Guild of America nominee Sam Levinson (Wizard of Lies) wrote the screenplay, while music star Drake is one of the executive producers.