If you’re broke, have a staycation and binge-watch some TV classics
For families planning on spending the holidays on the couch, indulge in a binge-watch of shows you had to feign knowledge of in the office this year.
The first two seasons of the hit series Narcos is available for binge- watching on Netflix, with the third season rumoured to be filmed in Mexico. Narcos, an action-packed series based on the life of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has enthralled audiences since its release in 2015 and stacked up more than three million viewers for the first season.
The Ivory Game is a 2016 documentary that takes the most comprehensive look at the illegal poaching of elephants in recent memory. From Kenya to Botswana, South Africa and Tanzania, game rangers and undercover operatives risk their lives trying to expose the syndicate kingpins behind the destructive trade in elephant tusks. The documentary captures footage of illegal ivory stockpiles and offers a rare inside look into how the trade is controlled by markets in China and Vietnam.
The world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller return to Netflix with their hit series Fool Us — taking unsuspecting magic lovers for a ride that almost always ends in laughs or amazement. Thirteen episodes in season two follow the duo through a magic competition in which they do better than most.
How to Get Away with Murder season three is available for download online and is almost done showing on ABC in the United States. Here in South Africa, you can watch season two, just released on Netflix.
The Crown tells the story of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s ascendance to the throne. The series takes an intimate look into the life of the royal family, their infamous snobbery and defence of the Crown at the expense of personal relationships. This series also lends insight into how the British monarchy perceived the natives of countries its empire colonised, such as the repeated reference to Africans as savages and the curious portrayal of children hanging from tree branches to greet the princess on her trip to Kenya.
Set in the 1920s in Melbourne Australia, Ms Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a classic detective drama led by the dazzling Phryne Fisher. A deceptive sharpshooter, Fisher seeks justice and helps minorities and exploited workers in the city’s alleyways and jazz clubs. The series has already made waves in the US and is finally available in South Africa.
Four Christmases has all the bells and trimmings of a white Christmas in the US, complete with the crazy relatives and family drama. Although you may be watching the movie after a braai or a dip in the pool, Four Christmases inspires a longing for winter and snow, and will leave you feeling cold. A family is forced to celebrate Christmas four times in one day, because of a complicated situation. By the end of the movie, their festive spirit seems depleted.
Keep the kids entertained over the school holidays with animated movies that include Stick Man, a story about a piece of wood that gets separated from his family tree, and A Turtle’s Tale, which tells the serious story of how pollution is ruining the natural habitat of sea creatures in a very cute way. For religious families, The Littlest Angel is a film about a young boy who gets to heaven before his time and struggles to learn how to fly.
Christmas bubblegum for married couples has arrived on the Crime Investigations channel in the form of Married with Secrets. This controversial series looks at couples who have been married for years but successfully kept shocking and outrageous secrets from each other.
Donald Glover’s critically acclaimed Atlanta is showing on the Fox Life channel on DStv and has a growing audience. Starring Glover himself, Atlanta tackles the most pressing issues facing the black community in the US and offers a critical introspection at the way black people interact and how they are perceived.
Fox International continues its showing of Fresh off the Boat, a light-hearted series about immigrants living in the US. The show takes a look at a young hip-hop kid whose parents move him from Orlando to Chinatown in Washington, DC, with dreams of opening up a steakhouse.
The Royal Variety Show, which has run for more than a century, will once again be broadcast on M-Net over the festive period. The show features a host of British actors, musicians, dancers and other talented individuals who annually dazzle the royal family with their stunts and styles.
You can expect the annual screening of the famous Boxing Day cricket Test between South Africa’s Proteas and Sri Lanka live from St George’s stadium in Port Elizabeth on December 26 on SABC 3. The Proteas have been in outstanding form this season and are hoping to end the calendar year on a high.
The movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is finally coming to free-to-air TV in South Africa, three years after it debuted in cinemas. Starring Idris Alba, the film takes a look at Nelson Mandela’s fight with the apartheid government, his attempts to balance his political and family life, and gives some insight into the negotiations that took place in the dying days of apartheid, which led to a shared government to shepherd South Africa into democracy.
Popular remakes now online
Notable remakes available online include McGuyver, Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour, sans Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.