Last week, we highlighted shows that are relevant to kids and students who are currently on their August holiday. And this week, we now bring you a snippet of series (some of which are exclusive to the platform) and documentaries that can keep you visually entertained and glued to Showmax this August and beyond. And here are our picks:
The first episode of Succession opens with Logan Roy (played by Brian Cox) – the founder and CEO of Waystar Royco, a global media and entertainment firm – struggling out of bed, his vision unclear, then relieving himself on his bedroom carpet. His wife Marcia (played by Hiam Abbass) then walks in on him and assists him to his feet, before leading him to a seat in their sitting room.
With Logan Roy ageing and his retirement imminent, his four children – Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Siobhan (Sarah Snook) – gang up (and sometimes team up) against each other in their quest to succeed their father to have some control over Waystar Royco. But here’s the thing: Logan Roy is not ready to cede control or hand over the reins just yet.
Succession, a fairly new production that made its global premiere at the beginning of June this year, has 10 episodes in its inaugural season.
Dark Angel is a screen adaptation of the book Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer which was authored by David Wilson, a professor of criminology.
The series is the story of Mary Ann Cotton (Joanne Froggatt), often referred to as “Britain’s first female serial killer,” who was hanged for the murder by poisoning of her stepson George Edward Cotton in March 1873. During her trial, it emerged that she was also probably responsible for the deaths of three of her four husbands, as well as 11 of her children, her mother, and others, adding up to 21 people. This means she had more victims than her much more famous male counterpart Jack the Ripper!
(Dark Angel trailer).
Apart from Joanne Froggatt, other Dark Angel cast members include Alun Armstrong (playing George Stott, Mary Ann’s stepfather), Penny Layden (appearing as Margaret Stott, Mary Ann’s mother), Laura Morgan (cast as Maggie Cotton, Mary Ann’s best friend) and Jonas Armstrong (as Joe Nattrass, Mary Ann’s secret lover and fifth partner).
For more about this intriguing, terrifying woman, watch all three episodes here on Showmax.
(A poster of 21 Icons at the 2015 edition of ZIFF. Photo: YouTube).
Last month, the world – and South Africa in particular – marked 100 years since the birth of the country’s freedom icon and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela. The highlight of the celebrations was the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture delivered by former US president Barack Obama in Johannesburg on Tuesday July 17, 2018 to a crowd of an estimated 15 000 people, which included South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.
And now, to learn more about not just Mandela but other freedom heroes (and heroines as well), Showmax this month brings you 21 Icons, a 21-episode documentary described by its creator as a “visual celebration of the lives of men and women who have shaped the world around them for the better”.
“The project seeks to celebrate those who have achieved success and widespread recognition, as well as individuals whose work has been conducted without prior acclaim,” adds the creator of the show, Adrian Steirn. 21 Icons comes in the form of fine-art portraits, short films, behind-the-scenes photography, written narrative and a feature-length documentary.
(A scene from an episode in Witness. Photo: Fast Company).
Still on documentary photography, but now shifting the focus from heroes (and heroines) to villains, there is Witness, the series that provides viewers with footage captured by photojournalists as they cover various trouble spots of the world.
“I’m not there to show you what’s happening. I’m there to show you what I saw, what happened to me. Then you can come upon your own conclusions,” states Eros Hoagland, one of the photojournalists featured in the opening episode of Witness, set in Juarez, the most populous city in Chihuahua, one of the states in Mexico. Juarez has been the scene of ugly turf wars pitting rival drug cartels – Juarez and Sinaloa – since 2007. And here from here on in, the footage is not for the faint-hearted.
The second episode of Witness covers the political violence in Libya during and after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi with footage by Michael Christopher Brown, while the third provides the viewer with footage captured by Veronique de Viguerie as she roamed the forests of South Sudan together with the Arrow Boys, a militia composed of farmers who sought to protect their community from Joseph Kony’s Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.
And for the fourth and final episode, Witness takes us to the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro with footage by Eros Hoagland, showing the viewer how law enforcement officers and criminal gangs (as well as drug dealers) battled to clean the streets before the country played host to the Olympics and 2014 World Cup.
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