African streaming service Showmax has announced its first Original telenovela in Kenya, Second Family, premiering on 22 March 2023, with new episodes releasing every Wednesday and Thursday.
Second Family follows the dysfunctional Gatehi – Lang’at families. When 57-year-old billionaire Leo Lang’at dies suddenly, his secrets come to light, pitting one family against another. Battling for his wealth, power and for revenge, Sinde, the daughter of Leo’s mistress, faces off against Evangeline, Leo’s formidable first wife.
As they fight for control over the legacy that Leo left behind, the maize empire he founded, they will reach into the depths of who they are, confronting darkness and discovering grit.
Second Family stars newcomer Vanessa Okeyo as the protagonist Sinde, Brian Ogola (Disconnect 2), Helen Keli (Selina), Dora Nyaboke (Crime and Justice), Ian Mbugua (Single Kiasi), Nick Ndeda (18 Hours), Stephanie Muchiri (Paa), Serah Wanjiru (Sincerely Daisy), Arabron Nyyneque (40 Sticks), Mumbi Maina (The Matrix Resurrections), Brian Abajah (Single Kiasi), Lewis Leshan (Crime and Justice), Ella Maina (Sincerely Daisy), Florence Nduta (Chaguo), John Sibi-Okumu (Crime and Justice), Charles J. Ouda (Pepeta), Mary Mwikali (Market Price), and Eve Jackson (Mpakani).
Second Family is helmed by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff, with Likarion Wainaina (Supa Modo) and Edwin Kamau (Crime and Justice) co-directing. Adam also directed the Showmax and CANAL+ police procedural co-production Crime and Justice, the African streamer’s first-ever Showmax Original in Kenya.
“What attracted me to the world of Second Family was partly the taboo of a man having two families that don’t know about each other but even more the journey of the protagonist Sinde,” said Adam. “This is a classic ‘fish out of water’ story, which we believe will resonate with Kenyan audiences because it is aspirational. It’s also packed with what seems to be the hallmark of any great show in this genre: gossip and intrigue.”
Even though the telenovela is a new genre for Adam’s production company, Drama Deluxe Kenya, he previously conceptualized the 142-episode Danish TV show 2900 Happiness, which ran for three seasons. “It had many of the same elements as Second Family. So we hope this will be a much loved show for all Kenyans,” Adam said.
For Showmax, the decision to invest in its first Showmax Original telenovela in Kenya was driven by the success of the genre on MultiChoice linear channels – Maisha Magic East and Maisha Magic Plus. “This genre has been popular and successful with our linear productions such as Kina and Salem, and past shows like Selina, Kovu and Pete,” said Denise Mwende, Showmax Content Specialist in East Africa.
During its run, Selina, the most popular of them all, was among the top 10 most most-watched shows of the year on Showmax in Kenya for four years in a row.
“Our viewers enjoy a daily interlude and escape with the dramatic characters they come to know on their screens,” Denise added. “Second Family will interrogate a very familiar situation in many African families, where people end up as either antagonists or protagonists in their quest to maneuver their newfound realities.”
Second Family builds on the success of other Showmax Originals in Kenya like the recently launched reality franchise The Real Housewives of Nairobi; the drama series Single Kiasi S1 and S2; Kenya’s first Christmas feature A Familiar Christmas; the political thriller series County 49; the thriller series Igiza; the police procedural and legal drama Crime and Justice S1 and S2; and the coming-of-age film Baba Twins.