by Thinus Ferreira
The year of 2022 in South African television is gearing up with promises of new content, new corporate moves, new video streamers, dragons, elves, jedi, idols, survivors, Kardashians, returning award shows and festivals; even blood psalms and big brothers - as well as Muvhango and the Teletubbies turning 25.
Here are 22 things coming and happening in television in 2022:
From around June this year, The Walt Disney Company plans to launch its Disney+ video streaming service in South Africa as the first country on the African continent to get access to this streamer that started in November 2019. What will it cost? So far we can only guess but it will bundle TV content and films from across Disney, National Geographic, Marvel, Pixar and ABC under the Star tile.
2. SABC streaming
The South African public broadcaster that has been very late out of the blocks said it will launch its own video streaming service in 2022.
The SABC streaming service - SABC+, SABC Plus, SABSee? - will function a lot like the BBC iPlayer and eMedia's eVOD service, It will bundle current and library content from the public broadcaster, as well as streaming versions of its TV channels, together on one digital streaming service.
3. Lord of the Rings
Get ready to watch the most expensive TV show yet when the 8-episode first season of the as-yet-untitled The Lord of the Rings TV series will debut in September on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. Filmed in New Zealand, the TV show is set during the so-called Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events depicted in the films.
What's up Master Chief? Where South African viewers will be able to watch it or whether they will have to become pirate viewers is still unclear but the first season of 10-episodes of the science fiction TV series based on the hugely popular video game Halo will make its debut in early-2022 on the Paramount+ video streaming service.
Pablo Schreiber is the supersoldier Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 under the helmet with the series "following an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant".
5. Idols season 18
More noteworthy than the return of the reality singing competition to Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) in the winter of 2022, with nationwide auditions starting on 23 January, are the numerous questions swirling around the veteran series.
Is [SIC] Entertainment really contemplating bringing back Somizi Mhlongo as a judge after serious allegations of physical abuse levelled against him last year and which have not yet been resolved? Is Unathi Nkayi out as a judge after her image damage of 2021? Will the Idols' ratings continue to slide in 2022 after thousands of DStv subscribers tuned out following the Somizi-scandal?
6. Survivor South Africa season 9
By the time you're reading this, filming is about to start or has started on the 9th season of Survivor South Africa, subtitled "Return of the Outcasts" scheduled for a winter debut on M-Net (DStv 101). Which outcasts from previous seasons will be back and how will they use what they've learnt from their first go-round to try and outwit, outplay and outlast their rivals?
7. 10th Silwerskermfees
Known as "Cannes in Cape Town", kykNET is bringing back its film festival with an in-person event with the 10th Silwerskermfees set to take place in Camps Bay during March 2022.
The film festival last took place as an in-person event in March 2019 and in 2022 will take the form of a "vibrant hybrid format" according to the organisers.
According to kykNET the 10th Silwerskermfees "will maintain the festival's signature glitz, glam and prestige while allowing a much broader audience to enjoy the films and festivities".
8. 8th African Magic Viewers' Choice Awards
Last held in March 2020, MultiChoice and M-Net West Africa is bringing back the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) for an 8th edition this year that will again be taking place in Lagos, Nigeria.
With a total of 33 categories (viewers get to vote for 12) the awards is adding "Best Online Social Content Creator" as a new category this year.
9. Digital terrestrial television
After more than a decade and a half, South Africa is expected to complete its long-delayed switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT), although the process could once again end up being delayed even further because of court cases.
Another big question is what the impact will be on South Africa's TV ratings system when television households who have not switched to digital set-top boxes (STBs) when their analogue TV signals are cut, are wiped from the TAMS viewership?
While the SABC doesn't want to comment, eMedia that runs e.tv warned last year that there will be disastrous consequences and implored the government to extend the suddenly-rushed deadline of 2022 for switch-off.
10. Love Island Naija
Following the disastrous Love Island SA version, producers Chudor House Productions and ITV Studios Global Entertainment announced at a glittering media event in June that the world's first all-black Love Island edition would start in October 2021 in Nigeria and be shown on MTV Base.
The date - and year - came and went.
Is 2022 the year that the 20 Nigerian singles "come together to share the true essence of love, romance, friendship and relationships in 7 exhilarating weeks in the Love Island villa"?
11. Big Brother Mzansi
A new season of the revived Big Brother Mzansi is set to debut on 23 January on MultiChoice's DStv channel 198 as a 24-hour pop-up channel, together with daily shows and weekly highlights on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).
Lawrence Maleka is the host and whether it's the Shower Hour, diary room confessions or late-night hanky-panky, the South African version is set to bring some early-2022 reality show buzz. There will be a 7th season of Big Brother Naija in June 2022, also shown across sub-Saharan Africa again on MultiChoice's DStv.
12. Blood Psalms
After a drawn-out process as the most expensive TV series yet produced in South Africa, Blood Psalms, is supposed to debut in February on MultiChoice's Showmax video streaming service after its October 2021 debut was postponed because of the department of trade, industry and competition's failure to pay Yellowbone Entertainment the millions of rand the producers are due in the country's broken film rebate scheme.
13. Real housewives
2022 will deliver an avalanche of Real Housewives from Africa in the sprawling reality franchise. The Real Housewives of Lagos as a new spin-off series will debut in the first half of 2022 on MultiChoice's Showmax video streaming service. The third season of The Real Housewives of Johannesburg will be shown in April 2022 that will consist out of 14 episodes.
Meanwhile, the second season of The Real Housewives of Durban will also be on Showmax in the second half of 2022, with some new cast members.
Then there is The Real Housewives of Dubai also coming in 2022 as a new spinoff, and there are rumours that South Africa is also getting The Real Housewives of Cape Town as yet another spinoff series.
14. Obi-Wan Kenobi
This is the show you're looking for. Billed as a "limited series", meaning it's a miniseries telling a complete story, Ewan McGregor will be back in this new 6-episode Star Wars drama series in 2022 to reprise his role as Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi. Hayden Christensen will also show up to reprise his role as Darth Vader.
15. SA rugby and football documentaries
SuperSport is prepping two sports documentaries for 2022. Two Sides is another Springbok documentary, similar to Chasing the Sun, with cameras that once again got unprecedented access inside the Springbok rugby team camp.
Then there is also the 4-episode Pulse of a Nation: A South African Football Story that will take DStv subscribers inside the world of professional South African football.
16. House of the Dragon
M-Net (DStv 101) has picked up the 10-episode Game of Thrones prequel drama series, House of the Dragon that will debut on an as-yet-unannounced date this year.
Filmed mostly in the United Kingdom, the prequel series chronicle the fall of the House of Targaryen when dragons still roamed Westeros in bigger numbers before their virtual extinction during the time of Game of Thrones.
The fantasy series will revolve around the family politics and drama - basically a family civil war - that became known as the legendary "Dance of the Dragons".
And talking about spinoffs, we'll throw in here as a bonus Vikings: Valhalla, a spinoff from Vikings that will debut on 25 February on Netflix. The new series is set 100 years after the original, following the adventures of some of the most iconic Vikings, like Leif Erikson.
17. The Kardashians
Done and dusted on E! in 2021, the ending of Keeping Up with the Kardashians means that the Kardashian clan is moving to a renamed reality endeavour on Hulu in 2022, with no word yet on where South African viewers will be able to watch their new show - very likely under the Star tile on Disney+ when that streamer launched in South Africa later this year.
The coterie of Kardashian and Jenner family members will be in The Kardashians, plus Scott Disick. Kylie's baby will presumably make its TV debut, along with all the presumed drama around the Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker engagement and planned wedding.
18. Anatomy of a Scandal
David E. Kelly is behind this upcoming anthology series coming to Netflix this year starring Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery and Naomi Scott.
Based on the novel by Sarah Vaughan, viewers can get ready for a depiction of various scandals within Britain's elite class - imagine a Gossip Girl for adults set in the United Kingdom.
19. Muvhango turns 25
It will be a silver celebration for Muvhango in April when the long-running Venda drama series, produced by Word of Mouth Pictures and created by Duma Ndlovu, will mark its 25th birthday on SABC2.
As another 25th TV anniversary, we'll make you feel old Gen Z by telling you that the Teletubbies will turn 25 on 31 March. Happy quarter-life crisis Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po!
20. Law & Order
"Dum-Dum". No word yet on where South African viewers will see the revival and reboot of the iconic American procedural series but in 2022 the American criminal system "where the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders" are back for a 21st season.
Multiple former cast members will be back to reprise their roles like Sam Waterson, Anthony Anderson and S. Epetha Merkerson, with Camryn Manheim joining in a new role. The season will start on 24 February in America.
We'll throw in here as a bonus the return of the comedy series Frasier with Kelsey Grammer sometime this year as well. Coming to Paramount+, there's no word yet on where South African viewers will get to see Frasier, Niles and Daphne again.
21. New brooms
South African television enters 2022 with several new TV bosses, sitting in new seats with new titles. As much as their job is to preserve the status quo of the content collections they manage, they will also want to bring their own stamp to bear on the existing and upcoming content slates under their care.
At MultiChoice, Georginah Machiridza is the pay-TV operator's new head of content, in the position of executive head of content strategy and third-party channels.
MultiChoice promoted Nomsa Philiso as the pay-TV operator's new head of programming. Replacing Nkateko Mabaso, Nomsa Philiso's new title is MultiChoice's executive head: programming.
Meanwhile, MultiChoice appointed Shirley Adonisi as the new M-Net director for local entertainment channels replacing Nomsa Philiso in the role, with Waldimar Pelser who officially becomes the new kykNET boss from February as the M-Net director for Afrikaans channels. What new television will they collective commission in 2022 and what changes will they make?
22. (Another) SABC shake-out
At the struggling public broadcaster, a completely untenable David vs Goliath battle is playing out between the SABC News boss Phathiswa Magopeni against SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and SABC chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini, whom she both accused of allegedly being guilty of gross ANC political editorial interference.
With the ANC's next national elective conference very likely taking place by the end of this year is highly likely that either Phathiswa Magopeni, or Madoda Mxakwe and Bongumusa Makhathini will have exited the SABC.