Monday, July 26, 2021

The second season of The Longest Date on S3 with 16 new contestants are about finding love in unlikely - and dangerous - places.

by Thinus Ferreira

A second season of the original local reality show, The Longest Date starts tonight on S3 at 21:00 after it was recently filmed as a Covid-19 safe so-called "bubble production" with a group of 16 new singles all looking for love in unlikely - and dangerous - places.

The 16 new contestants who were grouped into 8 couples according to their possible compatibility on paper, have to compete in various challenges for the chance at winning the R100 000 cash prize.

The local format show that was created by Samantha and Graeme Moon for SABC3 is being produced by Brandgen Productions and for the second season headed to the scenic Oribi Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal with Christopher Jaftha back as the host.

In every episode of the new season, the couples attempt to complete extreme tasks ranging from shark diving to mud-rallying that are all designed to take them out of their comfort zone, with the lowest-scoring couple that is constantly getting eliminated until there's only one couple left.

Chris Jaftha says "we have something really special on our hands with the second season". "There is a lot we learnt from the first season and for the second season we've upped the stakes and the challenges are more grueling."

"I'm the stuntman of the show, I do some of the pre-viz, your pre-visualisations. While I'm explaining the challenges to the contestants, the audience gets to see what the challenge is supposed to look like. I can tell you for certain, that if I think that I nearly died on one of the challenges ..."

"The safety crew and my producers got a little concerned because in one of the challenges, the river crossings in particular - I'm not going to mention too much about it so we have something to look forward to - I didn't come up for about a minute and people thought I had drowned. Until I eventually came up."

"I was just trying to hold my breath, to be honest to get through the challenge but I have the scars on my neck from the rope burn to prove it. So the show is hard, it's exceptionally hard, it's dangerous."

Samantha Moon says "we have some incredible challenges on The Longest Date - not only do we have the elements but we shot an episode a day which is unheard of to do an episode a day and if we did not have Christopher who is not only the host but also our stuntman who is a one-take wonder and who remained engaged and is the most talented host I've ever worked with, I don't know that we can get it done the way we do".

"He literally does every challenge - every physical challenge we throw at him without a complain and he's kind enough to never renegotiate his rates."

She describes the 16 contestants as "the most diverse, interesting, engaging, vulnerable and relatable cast that is on television today."

"SABC3 took a risk on this original format and they continue to work with us as we push further to showcase this incredible cast - there wasn't any pushback, instead they constantly push us further to show the contestants' journey in the most authentic, natural format possible."

"When you shoot 12 hours a day to film a reality show, the only thing that's scripted is Chris. For the rest - it's their story, it's their journey, we don't create stories in post-production," Samantha says.

"Yes, the second season was filmed in a Covid-19 safe bubble in a beautiful part of KwaZulu-Natal," Samantha explains when TVwithThinus asked how the coronavirus impacted the production of the show.

"Crew and cast tested negative for Covid prior to arriving. All cast were housed in their own housing and so all crew, so we did create a Covid-safe bubble."

"We also are fortunate in that we filmed exclusively outdoors and maintained all protocols to sanitising and mask-wearing. We didn't have any cases of Covid-19 while on-location. Unfortunately, there's been a few in post-production but that is what it is - third wave."

Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC3 acting programme manager, says "what we wanted to improve for the second season was to just make it as representative and as diverse as possible in terms of exploring all kinds of relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. That was really, really big for us."

"The new S3 slogan is 'Open Up' and it's about opening up to new worlds, to new experiences, to new conversations, to new relationships, making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there and getting out of the comfort zone."

"The Longest Date is a very unique concept because it's about finding love in an unlikely space where you yourself are being tested to your limits. The Longest Date is pushing the boundaries and having the conversations and representing everybody."

The contestants in the second season of The Longest Date are: 

Julia Peterson
A 29-year-old model and influencer from Durban, whose life ambition is to be wealthy, she is passionate about helping people. Her ideal partner needs to be ambitious, fun and have a great sense of humour. Not be threatened by her but support her and push her to be the best version of herself.

Gareth Joubert
Gareth is 32 years old and a custom leatherwork craftsman from Pretoria. His life ambition is to travel the world with the love of his life. His ideal partner is a smart, beautiful, and independent woman with a strong sense of adventure and a great sense of humour, someone who's willing to stick by him through life and experience all it has to offer.

Rachel Leistra
Rachel is 24 years old, and she is a former South African national long-distance runner, bio kineticist and children's development coach and masters student at the University of Johannesburg Gauteng. 
Her life ambition is to start her own practice one day and focus on children's motor development skills.

Her ideal partner is matured, honest, who has integrity, is independent and respectful, someone who is not afraid to be themselves and who she can be herself around and go on adventures with, train with and have fun with. It is someone who calls her out when she is wrong, a person who loves animals and has empathy and loves nature and the outdoors and who is not afraid to try new things.

Ricardo Potgieter
A 26-year-old entrepreneur and private pilot from Krugersdorp whose life ambition is to travel every continent and have a picnic on each. His ideal partner must be caring and loving.

Lethabo Bereng
Lethabo is 27 years old, and he is a model and actor from Gauteng and recently starred in Netflix's How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding. His life ambition is to live, to feel, process every emotion, feeling and experience and make it part of his DNA. 

His ideal partner is someone who is emphatic and knows that life is meant to be felt, someone who understands that other beings ate not meant to be understood or tamed, but to be loved. He should know that no matter what our gender or expression, building a safer world for queer bodies is a responsibility all of us should share.

Sibusiso Mxosana
A 26-year-old actor, singer and dancer who recently travelled internationally as part of the cast for Chicago. Originally from the Eastern Cape he currently resides in Johannesburg and his life ambition is to be sharing his art with the world. His ideal partner is someone grounded and easy-going, someone who loves to travel.

Kaelin Govender
Kaelin is a 25-year-old sales representative and brand ambassador from Kwa-Zulu Natal. His life ambition is to be free, kind and to be left with no what ifs. His ideal partner is someone with a gorgeous smile, lovely hair, and kind eyes, definitely with a fit body and with great legs.

Melo Moloto
Melo is a24 years old broadcaster from Midvaal whose life ambition is to become a successful broadcaster and winning the lottery. Her ideal partner is someone supportive, tall, driven, does not smoke or have children but would want to have kids one day.

Ekraahm Cassim
A 28-year-old exotic dancer from Cape Town, his life ambition is to achieve success in all areas of his life mentally, spiritually, physically, and materialistically. His ideal partner is someone who is an intellectual, open-minded person and who knows her path, seeking elevation of consciousness, who is fit and strong-willed.

Zinhle Nkosi
She is 28 years old and runs an NGO and lives in Gauteng, but is from Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her life ambition is to become successful and her ideal partner must be at least her height as she is tall, and must be fit and hot. But most importantly he must have a beautiful heart.

Malwandla Hlekane
Malwandla is 26 years old and he is a sportscaster by profession and an educated, qualified sports performance coach from Gauteng. His life ambition is to be a God-fearing millionaire with a monthly personal passive income of $50 000. pany, be a billion-pound asset. His ideal partner is a beautiful woman who has an intelligent head on her shoulders.

Sunshine Dlangamandla
The 24-year Sunshine is an architect and travel blogger from Johannesburg whose life ambition is to travel the world and design awe-inspiring modern African architecture. Her ideal partner is someone who is romantic, ambitious, adventurous, God-fearing and tall, someone she is always laughing with.

Angelo Antonie
Angelo is 25 years old, and he is a personal trainer based in Cape Town. His life ambition is to help people achieve mental and fiscal health. His ideal partner must be an intelligent, young, independent individual - someone that is willing to make it work and compromise and someone that is active and loves the outdoors.

Angelique Samuels
She is a 28-year-old fitness Instructor from Gauteng with a life ambition of leaving a legacy. Her ideal partner is someone who is family-oriented, adventurous, an entrepreneur and also romantic.

Fahdil Baker
34-year-old full-time law student and call-centre agent from Pretoria. His life ambition is to make his mom proud to call him her son, his sisters proud to call him their brother and one day his husband proud to call him his husband and his kids proud to call him dad.  

His ideal partner must be a genuinely good human being, must care about the environment, social justice issues and the welfare of others.

Tylor Spelman
He is a 31-year-old professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, content creator and entrepreneur from Western Cape. His life ambition is to live life to the fullest, with nothing but happiness. His ideal partner is someone who has a sense of humour, is funny, kind, honest and authentic who is not afraid to speak his mind.

MultiChoice and M-Net West Africa kick off season 6 of Big Brother Naija with 22 housemates including a Dubai-based realtor and a Princess taxi driver.

by Thinus Ferreira

The 6th season of Big Brother Naija with the theme "Shine Ye Eye" has started with 22 new housemates ranging from a Dubai-based real estate agent, a doctor, models and even a princess who is a taxi driver, cloistered in the camera-filled, Covid-19 safe bubble-production.

Big Brother Nigeria, that MultiChoice and M-Net West Africa are doing from their studio complex in Lagos, Nigeria, is running for the next 10 weeks and 72 days on the Big Brother Naija channel on 198 in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, and DStv channel 197 in South Africa.

Highlight programmes will once again be shown on various Africa Magic channels on DStv, with MultiChoice's video streamer Showmax that is doing The Buzz as an additional programme with more content around the show.

SMS voting has been dropped from this season, with voting only taking place on the show's website and the DStv app.

The reality series introduced 11 male housemates in the first of two launch shows on Saturday night, followed by the second launch show on Sunday night as 11 female housemates were introduced and walked into the house. 

Notably, host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu encouraged viewers to interact with the show on social media on its official Instagram and Facebook accounts but conspicuously ignored any mention of its Twitter account with over 1.4 million followers that fell silent in June after the Nigerian government banned companies, like MultiChoice Nigeria based in the country, from being active on and using the social media service.

Here are the 11 men:

This housemate shows off his modeling skills on stage. He mentioned he has been modeling for 10yrs and he takes modeling opportunities as it comes.

He is 28-years-old but considers himself a 21-years-old. He mentioned he's a free spirit, as well as young and fun. He's an engineer but would love to go into the entertainment industry as he has a passion for art and other creative things.

He loves looking good for the camera. He’s very confident and he’s from J-Town. He is looking to bring some fun, sexiness and entertainment to Big Brother and is "single and ready to mingle" and looking for a soul mate. He's a teacher in electrical technology.

This 36-year-old says he's not in the house to "sing kumbaya" - he prefers "gbas gbos". He loves drama and considers himself an actor.

He's from Enugu and he plans on bringing fun to the house. He loves to entertain people around him and says he dislikes dirty people. He might be known in the house for saying "who dey breathe" constantly.

He loves people happy and feeling comfortable. He's married with a child and also owns a business in South Africa.

He's a medical doctor. People think he's introverted but he's the complete opposite. To sum up his personality, he says that he is creative, dramatic and "plain crazy" and is curious to see what parts of him come out in the house.

He is a 29-year-old from Calabar. He considers himself a social butterfly and a "complete entertainer" due to his acting, singing and TV presenter experience as well as the tourism company he owns. JayPaul says people assume he's a playboy due to his hairstyle. He dislikes people who can't stay true to themselves.

The 24-year-old is from Akwa Ibom state and he loves modeling, fashion, reading and exploring new cultures. He says that he is also very competitive. He says that he has "the mind of a hustler and the heart of a king".

He's from the north Kaduna state. He has no strategy but he has a goal, which is not to leave the Big Brother Naija house too soon. He says his personality is a "vibe itself" and that he came to the house to enjoy himself.

He's a part animal and loves clubbing 4 days a week - Thursday till Sunday. He also mentioned he loves to workout, do yoga and craves drama.

Here are the 11 women:

She's 21 years old, and hails from Akwa Ibom. She considers herself to be friendly and interactive. However, she claims to be a bit bossy. Angel aspires to become a film producer.

The 26-year-old entrepreneur runs a fashion brand. She loves food and considers herself a nice person. She hopes to generate more exposure for her fashion brand after the show.

Jackie B
This single mum is from Adamawa state. She loves good vibes and spontaneity. She hopes to crush all the challenges that come with winning the money.

She's from Cross-river state. She loves to dance, and she believes that she has a fiery personality. Her mission in the house is to sell herself and add spice to the boredom.

She's a 29-year-old fashion designer who loves to read and research. She’s also an art curator. Arin hopes to bring energy to the show.

She's a Dubai-based Realtor who loves food and thrives in a bubbly environment. Her goal is to venture into the Nigerian market immediately after the show, as well as maximizing the opportunity.

She is a professional dancer from Edo state. She’s 26-years-old, but she started her dancing career when she was 12-years-old. She says that she has different personalities and she’s on the show to display all of it.

She's a fashion model, who aspires to sell her brand on the show. She owns a clothing brand and is working towards establishing a modelling agency.

She's a 30-year-old Taxi Driver from Imo state. She loves to cook and drive.

The 21-year old artist and model is from Adamawa state. One of her dreams is to set up an art gallery.

She is from the Edo state. She loves challenges and looks forward to exploring more of them on the show. She's a model and owns a fashion brand. Her goal is to officially launch her fashion brand after the show.

CORONAVIRUS. Cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, libraries and casinos can open again as South Africa moves to an adjusted Level 3 lockdown for Covid-19.

by Thinus Ferreira

Cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, libraries, archives and casinos in South Africa are allowed to open again from today as the country moves to an adjusted Level 3 lockdown during the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic, although they will be limited to 50% of capacity and must close at 21:00 so workers and customers can be home at 22:00 when the curfew kicks in.

The latest adjusted Lockdown Level 3 regulations were published on Sunday night after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa is moving back from an adjusted Level 4 lockdown.

Under the new Level 3 regulations, spectators at sporting events still remain a no-no while night clubs also remain closed.

Public swimming pools, beaches and public parks, game parks, botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos, gyms and fitness centres can open.

Restaurants, bars, shebeens and taverns are allowed to open their doors and have customers "subject to a limitation of a maximum of 50 persons or less for indoor venues or 100 persons outdoors observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, then not more more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used".

South Africa's theatre and cinema industries have been decimated by the lockdown regulations, resulting in temporary and permanent closure and thousands of people who have lost jobs and income.

Earlier this month Ster-Kinekor implored the South African government to allow cinemas to reopen, saying that the move to Level 4 lockdown that also meant the forced closure of movie theatres is a "devastating blow"is "a devastating blow" to the industry.

In 2020 South Africa's total box office revenue at cinemas plunged by a massive R1.2 billion to a measly R214 million compared to 2019 - the lowest in over a decade - according to a recent industry report.

Cinema chains like Cine Centre, Nu Metro and Ster-Kinekor are struggling immensely, with Ster-Kinekor that entered voluntary business rescue at the beginning of 2021.

After just a few months that they were open again, trying to lure back wary patrons with spaced-seating, packaged popcorn, rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols and even opting for cashless transactions, cinemas were once again forced to shut down the projectors and close their doors in late-June this year.

Chantelle Burrows, Nu Metro cinemas marketing and content executive, told TVwithThinus on Monday morning that Nu Metro cinemas will reopen from this Friday 30 July.

"This reopening also includes Nu Metro's specialised cinema formats: 4DX, VIP and Xtreme. We will initially be trading Fridays to Sundays, and on public holidays, only – in line with our responsible trading strategy under Covid-19 lockdown regulations"."

"Some of the blockbuster movies which will be showing in our cinemas from Friday include Space Jam: A New Legacy, featuring NBA superstar LeBron James and the Looney Tunes crew of iconic cartoon characters in a family movie adventure; as well as Fast & Furious 9: The Fast Saga, after this blockbuster’s record-breaking run at the box office was cut short at the end of June."

"Nu Metro joins the local industry in celebrating the return of the unique, shared out-of-home entertainment experience that only cinemas can bring," says Chantelle Burrows.

"Cinemas remain one of the safest spaces to be in, with extensive precautionary protocols in place to halt the spread of Covid-19, even exceeding governmental requirements."

"All our cinemas are sanitised after every show, social distancing and access controls are strictly managed, and all guests are seated facing in one direction inside auditoria, with minimal interaction between cinemagoers."

"Advanced HVAC ventilation systems, fitting universal health and safety requirements, are also installed in cinemas. We look forward to welcoming cinemagoers this weekend with a great line-up of the best big screen entertainment for young and old."

Saturday, July 24, 2021

SABC won't broadcast Saturday's start of the rugby test series between Springboks and British & Irish Lions over ongoing tiff with SuperSport regarding carriage on new digital channels.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster won't be broadcasting any of the matches of the rugby test series between South Africa and the British Lions on the SABC in an ongoing tiff behind the scenes with SuperSport regarding a deadlock in negotiations over carriage terms on the SABC's new digital channels.

The South African public broadcaster has remained silent without any press statement to its viewers about whether it would - or wouldn't - show the South African and England rugby test kicking off on Saturday evening at 18:00. The British Lions only visits South Africa every 12 years.

MultiChoice's SuperSport holds the pay-TV rights for South Africa for all Springbok matches but has been willing to sub-license the rights for free-to-air carriage to the SABC - but not for its new digital terrestrial SABC Sport channel that is available on eMedia Investments' Openview free-to-air satellite service.

SuperSport also demands blackout clauses in any sub-licensing contract for the "digital versions" of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3, carried on video streaming services like TelkomONE, in cases where the South Africa's public broadcaster is to carry any sub-licensed SuperSport content on those channels.

The result is that those SABC viewers on services like TelkomONE and Openview get a black screen, similar to this past weekend for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League final between Kaizer Chiefs and Egypt's Al Ahly.

After intervention by South Africa's minister of communications and digital technologies, and the minister of sports, arts and culture, MultiChoice and SuperSport sub-licensed the CAF final match free-to-air rights to the SABC that showed it on SABC1.

However, SABC viewers could only see it on the analogue and digital terrestrial television (DTT) version of SABC1 - not the "digital satellite SABC1"-version on Openview or the "digital streaming SABC1"- version on TelkomONE, something that the SABC failed to warn or inform viewers about beforehand.

Earlier this week, Gary Rathbone, SABC Sport boss, told News24 that the SABC won't broadcast the Springbok Test series against the British and Irish Lions since SuperSport doesn't want it shown on SABC Sport or any of the SABC's digital channel versions.

In a second clause, SuperSport also want a delayed broadcast, meaning that the SABC would only be able to start showing a match from after the final whistle of a match was broadcast live on SuperSport. 

Rest in peace: Makeup artist Nonhlanhla Nombewu, soccer commentator Coudjoe Amankwaa, jazz musician Andre Petersen.

by Thinus Ferreira

The veteran hair and makeup artist Nonhlanhla Nombewu (pictured) suddenly died, while the soccer commentator Coudjoe Amankwaa suddenly passed away from cardiac arrest on Friday, with the highly-acclaimed jazz musician Andre Petersen (43) who died away after losing his battle against Covid-19.

Nonhlanhla Nombewu cause of death is still unknown.

Andre Petersen who tested Covid-19 positive on 21 June died on Thursday and was the jazz programme co-ordinator at the School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. He leaves behind his wife Chantal and an 8-year old daughter.

As one of South Africa's most sought after pianists and educators the award-winning Andre Petersen was also a lecturer in piano at the University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch and UWC's Performing Arts Centre and received numerous classical music and jazz music awards.

He performed at jazz and arts festivals in South Africa and across the world, and collaborated with  dozens of musicians like Winston Mankunku, Makaya Mtshoko, Feya Faku, Robbie Jansen, Judith Sephuma, Jimmy Dludlu and many more.

The famed hair and make-up artist Nonhlanhla Nombewu who won a SAFTA award for her work, also suddenly passed away, with her cause of death that is not yet known. The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) said that "the SAFTAs community has lost another brilliant talent. The 2007 SAFTAs winner and seasoned make-up artist Nonhlanhla Nombewu has sadly left us".

Nonhlanhla Nombewu was well-known among the casts and crews across numerous of South Africa daily soap opera drama series. 

Nonhlanhla Nombewu headed up the hair and make-up team at M-Net and the Ferguson Films-produced The Queen for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), and previously was the head of the hair and make-up department at Isipho on, the head of hair and make-up at SABC2's Muvhango, the head of hair and make-up at SABC1's Generations, and was also a make-up artist for news anchors at SABC News in Auckland Park. 

The veteran Ghanaian football commentator and sports journalist Coudjoe Amankwaa who lived in South Africa died on Friday from cardiac arrest and leaves behind his wife and two children.

Cudjoe Amankwaa was a former Sowetan and The Citizen soccer journalist since he came to South Africa in 1994 and from there joined the South African public broadcaster. 

As a SABC Sports analyst and commentator he made frequent appearances on SABC1's magazine shows like Soccer 411 and SoccerZone and on SABC Radio stations, and also appeared on SABC News, eNCA and SuperSport giving analyses on soccer.

"Our friend, colleague and fellow, football lover, Coudjoe Amankwaa has suddenly passed away this evening. He was truly loved and was known as 'Malume'. May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace. I miss you already," wrote Christophe Bongo on Friday night who had worked with Coudjou Amankwaa on SABC sports programmes.

Dominic Chimhavi, South African Football Association (SAFA) communications director, said Cudjoe Amankwaa's family "rushed him to hospital when he couldn't wake up for supper and upon arrival at the hospital, was declared dead".

Danny Jordaan, SAFA president, in a statement said that the death of Coudjoue Amankwaa is a sad day for sports journalism in South Africa,

"The industry has been robbed of an honest individual and one journalist who called a spade a spade. We are all poorer without Coudjoe."

"This is one of the saddest days in the history of sports journalism. Coudjoe was one of the most amiable journalists around and had earned his stripes both as a print and broadcast journalist."

The SABC in a statement said that it "is saddened by the passing of Coudjoe Amankwa".

Gary Rathbone, SABC Sport general manager, said "I would like to pay tribute to a person who was not only extremely knowledgeable about football on our continent, but who was courageous, never afraid to speak his mind and always warm-hearted and larger than life".

"Having known and worked with Coudjoe since the early 2000s, I considered him a friend as much as a colleague, and will miss his presence in our world of sport immensely."

Friday, July 23, 2021

TV REVIEW. Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation settles for a more nuanced story in Grayskull-grey.

by Thinus Ferreira
5 TVs 

It's not - and perhaps never can or could ever be - the kids' cartoon again, with Netflix's reimagined Masters of the Universe: Revelation that is a much more gritty and depressing, and more adult "next chapter" of the story of the denizens of Eternia now inhabiting a post-apocalyptic version of their fantasy world.

Yes, the Netflix trailers were deceiving. Masters of the Universe: Revelation, although it is telling the story onwards from after the end of the iconic Filmation animation series, isn't so much a story about He-Man or Skeletor.

Now Teela is taking centre stage in a hero's quest of her own in Part I and its set of five 25-minute episodes (part II will release later with no date specified yet).

It's impossible to review Masters of the Universe: Revelation without noting some dramatic narrative events and character developments, so spoilers ahead.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation functions as a sequel of sorts to the 80s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon that was a TV vehicle to sell Mattel toys, but this time - as with the journey from child to adult - the He-Man universe has also matured into a much more shades-of-grey approach.

The new series is one where characters are no longer one-dimensionally "good" or "bad". 

It's one where characters die and where individuals, even when faced with existential crises of environment, social order and faith don't necessarily choose to do "the right thing" to save themselves or others.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation brings surprising character growth that they've never had before to a now-disillusioned Teela, the wasting-away Orko, and most successfully to the no-longer-actually-evil Evil-Lyn.

It's especially Evil-Lyn who has the most interesting journey in moving beyond her stock character set-up, to voice the frustrations of having been a perpetual henchwoman-in-waiting of Skeletor. Evil-Lyn wasn't incapable of succeeding, it's skull-guy who didn't allow anyone else any space.

Longtime He-Man fans who grew up with the show or discovered it decades later and who just want a familiar story and fan service, might definitely feel ambivalence over Masters of the Universe: Revelation.

Prince Adam as the muscled, sword-wielding saviour and the purple-clad skull-faced Skeletor are reduced to cameo status in the first episode and only again seen towards the end, while all of the characters who look familiar, no longer act how "they're supposed to" in a grittier world that's run out of magic.

It's not just the Sword of Grayskull that's been fractured - it's relationships, trust and friendship. 

The new magic in Netflix's Masters of the Universe: Revelation is emotion - the characters are emotional and more rounded as they exhibit moments of self-aware introspection. 

Surrounded by an ever-present sense of loss, they actually talk honestly about loss as adults no longer tethered to a kids' show but functioning as adults in an adult world.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation is more violent than before (well, it maybe always was and we just didn't see it). The world is more nuanced as side characters who were along for the ride previously on "side quests" are moved into an Eternia main story.

It feels weird when a "main" character is killed off (perhaps, not permanently?) but is in keeping with the new Masters of the Universe mythos that exchanged the black-and-white choices, done-in-30-minutes, fantasy world of Eternia for an unfolding, serialised story with painful choices, now told in Grayskull-grey.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part I is on Netflix from 23 July

TV REVIEW. Put the light on bright for M-Net’s shaky Reyka local crime drama series.

by Thinus Ferreira
 6 TVs

With perhaps too many shaky-cam close-up shots, Reyka as M-Net's latest broody, hunt-the-killer local drama series tells a greyish-and-blue tinted story within a sugarcane field setting that's fine enough, although not excellent, for 8 weeks of Sunday night whodunnit?-entertainment.

In short, Reyka is like Prodigal Son and Silence of the Lambs (if done as a TV series), set among the lush yet ominous sugarcane plantations of KwaZulu-Natal where a woman with issues of her own, works to catch a serial killer by mining the mind of the man who abducted her as a child.

Done with a muted palette and a sombering grey-blue tint, Kim Engelbrecht is the current-time, older Reyka, a crime profiler hunting a serial killer. Gabrielle de Gama nimbly portrays the young Reyka.

Reyka strongly reminds of Kate Winslet in the recent Mare of Easttown, tracking down an elusive murderer (that will surely come with the obligatory surprise twist-reveal) whilst battling her own demons, trauma and internal insecurities.

The script, from screenwriter and creator Rohan Dickson also responsible for's Scandal! and SABC3's High Rollers, is likely inspired by the gruesome real-life story of Thozamile Taki, known as the Sugarcane Killer who was convicted in 2011 of the murder of 13 young women he buried in the sugarcane fields around Umzinto in 2007.

Produced by Quizzical Pictures and Serena Cullen Productions together with Fremantle UK as an M-Net Original crime drama, Reyka is perhaps peppered with too many shaky-cam close-up shots to help craft a claustrophobic, character-in-uncertainty-and-stress atmosphere that never lets up.

Especially Ian Roberts, Anna-Mart van der Merwe and Kenneth Nkosi are disciplined in their understated portrayals of respectively John Tyrone, mom Elsa and Msomi.

The Scottish Iain Glen, cast thanks to Fremantle, is an absolute star as banana farmer Angus Speelman now in an orange jumper who abducted girls with the help of his wife Portia (Nokuthula Mavuso).

Kim Engelbrecht's progression from former Isidingo starlet to meatier roles and gaining valuable experience in international series like the SA-filmed Dominion and recently in The Flash, is very convincing as the emotionally overwrought, obsessive, and filled-with-secrets, Reyka.  

Thando Thabethe imbues her role as Constable Nandi Cele with a resolute earnestness and Gerald Steyn pops up after Trackers, Lioness and his recent doctor-turn in kykNET's Binnelanders

Desmond Dube is also back in another dramatic role as if he has to again prove that he can do so much more than Clientele infomercials in his latest role of Zik, the community's spiritual leader.

Broken relationships, difficulty communicating, uncovering hidden secrets under the surface (in sugar cane fields), light and darkness, as well as a "new South Africa" that moved but that never truly did and that remains scared, terrorised, collectively wondering and captured, are all thematic elements and metaphors woven into the story of Reyka.

Be forewarned: Some on-screen gruesomeness are par for the cause in a catch-the-killer crime drama, with Reyka that is possibly best watched with the lights on, and on bright, on a Sunday night.

Reyka is on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sundays at 20:00, and starts on Sunday 25 July

Your TV guide for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021: SuperSport, Showmax and SABC Sport.

by Thinus Ferreira

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with no in-person spectators, moved to 2021 because of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, officially begins on Friday with the opening ceremony at 13:00, with coverage of this year's games on MultiChoice's SuperSport, Showmax and the SABC.

SuperSport is dedicating eight channels on DStv to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the traditional football and variety channels hosting multiple broadcast feeds from Japan. 

SuperSport’s roster of TV presenters for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are Carol Tshabalala, Julia Stuart, Crystal Arnold, Leigh-Ann Paulick, James Wokabi and Chisom Ezeoke.

SuperSport has also roped in Penny Heyns, Ryk Neethling, Lyndon Ferns and Marianne Kriel (swimming), Elana Meyer, Khotso Mokoena and Hezekiel Sepeng (athletics), Pietie Norval (tennis), as well as Ramon Di Clemente (rowing) as its Olympics experts who will do commentary and analyses.

SuperSport will broadcast daily 2020 Olympic Games segments on SuperSport Blitz (DStv 200) that will include athlete interviews, detailed wraps, features, profiles, historic content and scene-setters, as well as repeats and highlights and a daily, hour-long Olympic catch-up show at 19:00.

The SuperSport Grandstand (DStv 201) channel feed will focus on the most important events on the go, but also cross-promote other events to help DStv subscribers navigate the Olympics. Should the Grandstand channel switch from one venue to the other, it will advise where viewers can continue to watch the original event.

MultiChoice's DStv app and website will include 4 additional streaming channels with more live Olympic content, available to DStv Premium subscribers.

MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand streaming service, Showmax is also carrying 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games coverage. All Showmax subscribers are able to stream exclusive Olympics coverage, including talk shows, highlights and documentaries. Only Showmax Pro subscribers are getting access to live streams of every available event.

The South African public broadcaster is also doing 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games coverage but at the time of publishing hasn't released any details, information about anchors and presenters, nor any programme or channel specific advisories as to where and the times viewers can tune in.

On Twitter, SABC Sport said in a generic announcement that the SABC's sport channel will show live coverage as well as on the other SABC channels and SABC radio stations.