BY BILLY SUTER
A BUMPER mix of new shows will premiere between October and January on streaming channel, Showmax, among them a new drama series, Godfather of Harlem, which will be shown every Tuesday from October 15, the same time it airs on M-Net.
The series is set in the early 1960s, when infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker) returns from 10 years in prison to find the neighbourhood he once ruled in a shambles.
With the streets controlled by Vincent ‘Chin’ Gigante (Emmy-nominee Vincent D’Onofrio from Daredevil and Jurassic World) and the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with radical preacher Malcolm X (Nigel Thatch from Selma).
Godfather of Harlem shows how the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement collided during one of the most tumultuous times in American history. It is directed by John Ridley, the writer of 12 Years A Slave and creator of American Crime.
Also headed for Showmax and M-Net simultaneously, at 9pm on Mondays from November 4, is the eagerly anticipated first season of Watchmen, inspired by the iconic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Watchmen is set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws. Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, Seven Seconds) leads a strong cast as Angela Abar.
Also among the cast are Oscar-winners Jeremy Irons and Louis Gossett Junior, Golden Globe winner Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson (Oh Brother Where Art Thou), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) and Adelaide Clemens (The Great Gatsby).
Showmax subscribers can also look forward to the first season of the fantasy series What We Do in the Shadows, which will be available to binge-view from November 1.
From Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), this hit mockumentary offers a look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires who have lived together for mote than 100 years on Staten Island, New York.
The following are among other shows expected on Showmax in coming months:
His Dark Materials (season one)
A first on Showmax, this series will be shown, express from America, from November 6. The series is based on author Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, and has already chalked up more than 7million YouTube views for its two trailers.
The focus is on young Dafne Keen as Lyra, whose search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, setting off a quest through parallel worlds to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust.
The fantasy’s cast includes Amir Wilson, Ruth Wilson, Golden Globe nominee James McAvoy (X-Men) and Helen McCrory.
Catch-22 (season one)
Based on the classic Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22 stars George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, and follows the adventures and misadventures of a US air squadron in Italy in World War II. Binge on it on Showmax from November 1.
Christopher Abbott (The Sinner, Girls) plays Yossarian, a bombardier whose frantic obsession every time he goes up on a mission is “to come down alive”. His odds of success at such a simple aim keep getting worse, because Colonel Cathcart (Kyle Chandler from Friday Night Lights and Bloodline) keeps raising the number of missions the men have to fly.
More than the retreating Germans, the real enemy for Yossarian and his rag-tag bunch of friends is the bureaucracy of the military, inverting logic at every turn. The pinnacle of this is Catch-22, a military by-law which states that if you willingly fly your missions, you’re crazy, and don’t have to fly them; all you have to do is ask.
But if you ask, that proves you’re sane, and so you have to fly them.
Oscar-winner George Clooney produced and directed and also stars as the barking mad, parade-obsessed Scheisskopf. Golden Globe-winner Hugh Laurie (House M.D.) plays the mellow, slightly checked-out Major de Coverley.
Perpetual Grace, Ltd (season one)
Available to binge on from November 1, this first-on-Showmax series is a 10-episode drama that follows a young grifter, James (Emmy-nominee Jimmi Simpson from Westworld, Black Mirror and House of Cards), as he attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown (Sir Ben Kingsley).
However, the pastor and his wife Lillian (Jacki Weaver from Silver Linings Playbook) – known to their parishioners as Pa and Ma – turn out to be far more dangerous than he suspects.
The Righteous Gemstones (season one)
A first on Showmax, and available to binge on from December 2, this series is about a world-famous televangelist family with a long tradition of deviance, greed and charitable work.
Creator Danny McBride (Vice Principals, Eastbound & Down) stars as Jesse Gemstone, the eldest of three grown Gemstone offspring, who looks to lead in his father’s footsteps, but finds his past sins jeopardising the family ministry.
John Goodman stars alongside Teen Choice and MTV Movie Awards winner Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, Modern Family) and Emmy-nominee Walton Goggins (Justified).
Mrs Fletcher (season one)
Available to binge on from December 13, this seven-part series stars Emmy-nominee Kathryn Hahn (Transparent) in the title role.
The show based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, tells a dual coming-of-age story chronicling the personal and sexual journeys of an empty-nest mother and her college freshman son, who both embrace their newfound freedom with mixed results.
South African Liesl Tommy is part of the all-female directing team, which also includes Oscar-nominee Nicole Holofcener (Orange is the New Black), nine-time Emmy-nominee Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Transparent) and Gillian Robespierre (Silicon Valley).
Vida (season one and two)
This half-hour drama series, available to binge on from January 2, focuses on two Mexican-American sisters from the East Side of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other.
Circumstances force them to return to their old neighbourhood, where they are confronted by the past and the discovery that their deceased mother was in a lesbian marriage.
Sons of Anarchy (seasons one to seven)
Available to binge on from October 1, this series follows the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional Californian town.
The series stars Charlie Hunnam as Jackson “Jax” Teller,who is initially the vice president and subsequently the president of the club after his stepfather and former president was demoted after a challenge vote was brought up by the club.
He soon begins to question the club and himself. Brotherhood, loyalty, betrayal and redemption are constant themes.
The Twilight Zone (season one)
New episodes of this series will beon Showmax every Friday from October 11. The series is a US anthology web television series based on the original 1959 TV series created by Rod Sterling.
Lost (season one to six)
The classic fantasy-mystery drama series returns from December 2 for a repeat binge, after having raked in 109 awards when first shown globally from 2004 to 2010. The show contains elements of the supernatural and sci-fi, and follows the survivors of a commercial airliner flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, after the plane crashes on a mysterious island somewhere in h Pacific Ocean. The cast includes Matthew Fox and Dominic Monaghan.
Scrubs (seasons one to nine)
Available to binge on from December 2, this fun comedy series stars Zach Braff and follows the lives of employees at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital, which later becomes a teaching hospital. The title is a play on surgical scrubs and a term for a low-ranking person because at the beginning of the series, most of the main characters are medical interns.
The Passage (season one)
Starting on Showmax on November 1, this apocalyptic horror series is based on Justin Cronin’s bestselling novel. It spans years in the life of Amy Bellafonte, as she moves from being manipulated in a government conspiracy to protecting humankind in a post-apocalyptic vampire future.
The series stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar. It premiered in the US in January this year. It was cancelled after one season.
The Good Fight (season three)
Available to binge on from November 1, the third season of this hit sees Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski in an Emmy-nominated role) and Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo in a Critics’ Choice-nominated role) back.
The third season picks up a year later as a financial scam wipes out Diane’s life savings, and good reputation, forcing her to start from scratch at a historically black law firm, Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad.
Look out for a host of familiar faces from The Good Wife, including Kurt McVeigh (Gary Steele), Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele) and Julius Cain (Michael Boatman), alongside the likes of Emmy winner Audra McDonald (Private Practice), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones), Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty) and Golden Globe-nominees Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) and Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends).
Harlots (season three)
The first two seasons of Harlots, already on Showmax, revolved around rival brothel owners, Margaret Wells ( Samantha Morton) and Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), and was set in 18th century London – an era when one in five women earned a living as a prostitute in the city.
At the start of season three, which will be available to binge from October 1, it seems that the Wells girls can finally free themselves of their mother’s feud, helped by allies such as Lady Fitz (Liv Tyler).
However, Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay from Downton Abbey) soon learns that running a lucrative brothel brings enemies as well as friends, including new pimp in town Isaac Pincher (2019 Emmy-nominee Alfie Allen, from Game of Thrones).
Succession (season two)
Available to binge on from October 14, this series’ second season sees the dysfunctional Roy family struggling to retain control of their global media empire. However, while the future looks increasingly uncertain, it is the past that threatens to ultimately destroy them.
Kieran Culkin was nominated for a Golden Globe as Roman, Matthew Macfadyen was up for a Critics’ Choice Award as Tom, and the impressive cast includes Golden Globe-nominee Brian Cox (Adaptation, X-Men 2, Deadwood), Screen Actors Guild-nominee Jeremy Strong (The Big Short) and multi-award-winners Hiam Abbas (Ramy, Blade Runner 2049) and Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker).
Mayans MC (season two)
This series was the third-biggest cable premiere of the year in the US, behind only Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Showmax viewers will be able to binge on the first four episodes from October 1, with new episodes arriving every Wednesday thereafter.
In this Sons of Anarchy spinoff, Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo) is a prospect in the Mayans MC charter on the Cali/Mexi border.
Once the golden boy with the American Dream in his grasp, EZ is trying to reconcile with his brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas from American Crime) while searching for the truth behind their mother’s death.
Meanwhile, their father, Felipe (Oscar-nominee Edward James Olmos), is struggling to lead his sons down the righteous path.
The Deuce (third and final season)
Following the interconnected lives of Times Square’s barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police, mobsters, porn actors and producers, the eight-episode final season of The Deuce will be available to binge on from November 1.
It’s 1985 and VHS has just overtaken film as the primary medium for porn production and distribution, while the lure of the California sunshine, the city’s aggressive takeover of commercial sex properties in Times Square, and the devastating impact of the Aids epidemic mark the end of an era.
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Golden Globe-nominee for season one and Critics’ Choice- nominee for season two of this series) returns as Candy, a porn director struggling to maintain her artistic integrity in an industry that is quickly devolving.
Good Trouble (season two)
A first on Showmax, the second season of Good Trouble will be available to binge on from December 2.
A spinoff of the multi-award-winning The Fosters, Good Trouble explores the trials and tribulations of the tenants of Downtown Los Angeles’s hippest residence, The Coterie.
This season, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), Callie (Maia Mitchell) and the rest of The Coterie crew continue to navigate their early twenties as they deal with break-ups, demand equality, find happiness and discover what it means to fight for what you believe in.
Silicon Valley (sixth and final season)
Available to binge on from December 9, this is the final season of the show which, marking a collaboration between Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead) and Alec Berg (Barry), takes a comedic look at the modern-day epicentre of the high-tech gold rush, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success.
Thomas Middleditch stars in an Emmy-nominated role as Richard Hendricks, a Silicon Valley engineer trying to build his own company called Pied Piper.
Sweetbitter (season two)
Sweetbitter, due on Showmax from October 1, follows Tess, who shortly after arriving in New York City, lands a job at a celebrated downtown restaurant. Swiftly introduced to the world of drugs, drinking, love, lust, dive bars and fine dining, she learns to navigate the chaotically alluring, yet punishing life she has stumbled upon. The cats includes Ella Purnell and Tom Sturridge.