A box of treats

December 15 2011 at 09:39am
By Debashine Thangevelo and Munyaradzi Vomo
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It’s so hard to say goodbye… to the Walker family, but we did. After five fantastic seasons of Brothers and Sisters, we couldn’t help but be completely immersed in the family and relationship woes of the tight- knit family from Pasadena, with Nora (Sally Field) being the glue as the meddlesome, albeit endear-ingly so, mother. With a stellar cast of Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe and Patricia Wettig, among others, delivering such sterling performances in what was arguably one of the most engagingly pertinent family dramas of our time, it was difficult for fans to let go.

This show should have come with a defibrillator… as the intense plots of Grey’s Anatomy certainly left aficionados strug-gling to breathe. One of the most-talked about episodes was centred on a heavily pregnant Callie after her car accident. The Glee-twist struck a chord with viewers. Although the drama, at times, bore the stamp of a soap, it was a captivating seventh season. By the way, season eight airs on M-Net on January 16. And, just so you know, Patrick Dempsey isn’t leaving the show – he was apparently misquoted.

Fighting the good fight… is veteran actress Kathy Bates as criminal defence lawyer Harriet “Harry” Korn in Harry’s Law. After being fired from her top-level post, Harry, operating from a rundown shoe store, offers legal help to a needy community in Cincinnati. Bates’ trademark chutzpah bolsters the appeal of this show. The script is razor-sharp, with character quirks thrown in for good measure.

While on the subject, the fourth instalment of Damages, with Glenn Close as Patty Hewes, was lapped up by TV buffs because of the underlying elements of danger and deception, combined with the high-stakes as Patty goes all out to take down some of the most influential figures in the US.

Making history… were The Borgias and Game of Thrones. The former, spearheaded by Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander V1, was lapped up by viewers. The story documents his rise to power, with the help of his family, and is imbued with sex, bribery, backstabbing and an ambition that borders on destructive.

Meanwhile, the first season of Game of Thrones boosted audience ratings. This medieval fantasy drama was addictive. Featuring a captivating cast, the story, set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, follows the power struggle for the throne. The pervading debauchery intertwined with incestuous affairs and homosexuality proved too titillating to miss. Now we anxiously await the follow-up series.

Down and out… and utterly Shameless about it! That’s William H Macy in his new role as Frank Gallagher, who is in a constant drunken stupor and leaves his six children to care for themselves… and him.

While this show debuts on the small screen on Tuesday, it has already received rave reviews. A dramedy that is most intoxicating.


To serve and protect… that’s the foundation of the Reagan family of police officers in Blue Bloods (pictured). While crime dramas abound, this show ingratiated itself with viewers by merging the perso-nal and professional worlds of one family.

There is no denying that Tom Selleck was a big drawcard, but that isn’t discounting the nimbly written script and the sterling efforts of the supporting cast.

The mystery deepens… in the Canadian TV series, Haven. Loosely based on Stephen King’s book The Colorado King, this story looks at the strange supernatural events that transpire in Haven.

The investigation is lead by Nathan, the new chief of police, and Audrey, a former FBI agent. Simply put, Haven is as captivating and hair-raising as Supernatural and Fringe.

Corruption runs supreme… in Boardwalk Empire. Quality programming abounds in this series (with Steve Buscemi cast as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, the crooked treasurer of Atlantic County), which is co-executive produced by Martin Scorsese. It is a stylish saga that explores the fraudulent underbelly of the city during the Prohibition era. This critically acclaimed series has been renewed for a third season.

Remakes are on the rise… and sure-fire hits. The two that come to mind are: Hawaii Five-O and Nikita. In the former show, with Alex O’Loughlin cast in the lead role as Steve McGarrett, a former Navy Seal and the Lieutenant Commander of the Five-O task force, he left viewers weak-kneed. And he is a damn brilliant actor too. As for Maggie Q, our renegade agent in Nikita, she is sexy and lethal – a powerful combination. Unlike V, which should have never been resurrected, these remakes have won over fans of the originals as well as a new generation.

You want to sink your teeth… into Vampire Diaries. The Salvatore brothers, Damon and Stefan, may have chalk-and-cheese personalities, but they are a united front… and they happen to be in love with the same woman – Elena. And they are seriously hot! The plot unfailingly leaves viewers on tenterhooks, waiting to see what curve ball the writers will be throwing their way next. The series continues to gain momentum and has left die-hard fans thirsty for the next instalment.


Just your average dysfunctional American family… meander down a rib-tickling path in the Emmy Award-winning show Modern Family. Centred on three interrelated families, the scriptwriters also tackle several ethnic and homosexual stereotypes. The comical situations that arise from the brilliantly written script make this an all-around winner.

In being boys… The Inbetweeners took viewers down memory lane. This BBC comedy was centred on a group of high school friends as they tried to figure out girls, deal with their raging hormones and, at the same time, also focus on getting good grades. The themes were universal and inevitably left viewers in tears with the side-splitting humour as the friends tried to “fit in”.

It’s dark… but you will like it. I am, of course, referring to The Big C with Laura Linney as Catherine “Cathy” Jamison. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, the teacher and mother of a teenager boy refuses to allow it to get the better of her and tackles life with renewed vigour.

Her family aren’t the only ones who notice a change in her… although they find it a bit strange. In taking a rather gloomy subject and mixing it with humour, and a smidgen of irreverence to go with Cathy’s willfulness, they ensured the prognosis was favourable.

So much so it made it to season three.

On the prowl… Courteney Cox had no trouble finding her prey with Cougar Town as the bait. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of this show, but it is critic-proof. Forget How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Cox offers a more laughable side to rusty dating. Recently divorced, she finds it’s a far cry from what she imagined, despite the help of her “girlfriends”.

A men-acing Sheen… caused one of the biggest TV controver-sies this year when his slandering of producer and co-creator Chuck Lorre saw him lose his job. In calling Lorre a “clown and a stupid, stupid little man”, he was subsequently replaced on Two and a Half Men by Ashton Kutcher. Hullabaloo aside, it is still one phenomenal show.


The I Am A Relationship Expert, Yet Multiple Divorcee Award goes to all the celebrities who are invited to The Marriage Ref panel. I used to think there was something about this show until Eva Longoria popped up to give her advice to a troubled couple. We may love to love our celebrities, but not to follow whatever they say.

The We Don’t Have Any Holy Cows Here, Everyone Is Fair Game Award goes to Headlines. So Khuli Roberts is notorious for being crude in her interviews, but every time local celebrities see her at events they hope she’ll come their way and she feeds off that. Having Trevor Gumbi take some shots at the subject in question keeps the show fresh. Well done.

The We Are Unique Shows Offering Never-Before-Seen Concepts Award is a draw between Masters of Rhythm, Step Up or Step Out, Jam Alley: Crew vs Crew and Turn it Out. Seriously, why do these shows even exist? SA might have a great dance culture, but these shows fail to capture that, or remain different from each other.

The You Can Have 90 Days Of My Life In Exchange For Booze, Food And A Little Fame Award goes to all the Big Brother entrants. The question is: where are they now? Only one person won the prize money, but even he fell into oblivion as if the whole thing never happened. As for the rest, all they do now is RSVP to events and sip on free booze.

The You Don’t Have To Be Pretty To Impress Us With Your Talent Award goes to The Voice. Forget that the name of the show sounds like that of a newspaper, it is a great concept. Unlike other talent shows where the “total package” is translated to mean “No Ugly Contestants”, The Voice takes away the vanity aspect and replaces it with objectivity. Two thumbs up.


The We’ve Got Jokes For Days Award goes to LOL (pictured). The previous season of this show was a strange one. When M-Net is stran-ded and needs to air something, it is cringe-worthy to see the so-called jokes that were told back then.

So it is a huge relief that Rapulana Seiphemo’s team have greatly improved the quality of the show, making it more relevant to viewers today.

The We’ve Been Telling The Same Story For Yonks, But Still Got You Glued Award goes to Soul City. Some great shows have come and gone, but few, if any, have thrived as long as Soul City has. We are talking 11 incredible seasons and still the story goes on. Well done to all involved and here’s to 11 more.

The Knock Knock Who’s There? Award goes to Opening Guys, a show that brought young, unknown comedians into the limelight, making them household names overnight. Now people such as Tall Ass Mo, Mo Jack and Mpho have a fan base to talk about. The newbies can be seen doing their own solos and also appear in TV ads.

The Don’t Talk To Me, Talk To My Lawyer Award goes to Sokhulu and Partners. These guys make getting in trouble with the law look so cool. With the team doing thorough research on their stories, some of which are based on true events, the content never gets boring.

You have to wonder why the rest of the so-called local crime dramas do not make for viewing as good as this.

The Reality Check Is Long Overdue Award goes to Intersexions. The deep Akin Omotso narration that goes with this programme is the first thing that sends chills down your spine.

The show sets itself apart from others of its ilk because it has a unique way of approaching the much-dreaded subject of HIV/Aids. You will be shaken up for days after watching it.


The I Made My Millions Through Selling Fish And Now I Have My Own Reality TV Show Award goes to flamboyant businessman Kenny Kunene’s So What? Honestly, so you blow a couple of hundreds of thou-sands every weekend and some commissioning editor thinks that’s something worth making into a television show? Kunene is the apt definition of New Money and it’s only a matter of time until he starts hanging out with Mandla Thembu in Brokesville.

The Ugly Girls Need Some Loving, Too, Award goes to Diamond in the Ruff. Okay, “ugly” is a harsh word, let’s try “rejects” from other beauty contests. Kudos to the producers of this show because now the girl who is a little short, or little on the plus side, also gets noticed. Some of us never liked those thin gals anyway.

The I Made It And You Can All Follow Me And See How I Live Award goes to Top Shayela (pictured). First, our artists/ celebrities are poor. Let’s just get that out of the way. So for Top Shayela to try and pull an MTV Cribs on us is actually laughable. And, say, for interest’s sake you do have that money, why would you want to show it off? Does that bring investors, or only attract thieves? The funny thing is, once the money is gone the same people do not want the media to touch them.

The We Are Tired Of Being Backing Acts At Gigs Award goes to Running With the Reps. Who, you might ask? Okay, Vuzu had aired a programme about a bunch of dancers who used to back Jozi and various other hip hop artists. The young dancers then cooked up the idea of a reality show where we see their behind-the-scenes lives. Sigh, and sigh again.

The Sister, Sister Act Award goes to Hlelo and Ntando Masina’s Blame It On Fame, which was not a bad idea and not badly executed either. Like it or not, the girls are famous enough to carry off the show’s title. Let’s just hope e.tv does not pull a fast one on the twins and replace them next season.

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