What’s new in Ghana in July 2021
Watch the latest episodes of addictive new Akwaaba Magic series To Have and To Hold, plus comedy series Young Rock and the Joker movie.
From highly rated romance to Oscar winning fantasy and action, to the latest seasons of local favourites, to a Showmax Original reality show that’ll have people talking across, Showmax has plenty to keep you entertained through July and beyond.
Best of local
To Have and To Hold | Starts 5 July | Mondays and Tuesdays, straight from Akwaaba Magic
To Have and To Hold is a fresh and sexy drama series about the lives of three young female friends living in the city, as they deal with the pressures of juggling marriage, motherhood, relationships, and their careers. It follows the life of the ambitious Akosua, the ever-optimistic Enyonam and the fun-loving Kukua, as they deal with the challenges life throws at them; be it a skirt-chasing boss, a dishonest husband or a promiscuous partner.
To Have and To Hold is a Ghanaian adaptation of Unmarried.
Normal People S1 | 9 July | First on Showmax
BBC limited series Normal People follows the forbidden relationship between Marianne and Connell, two young people with different backgrounds from the same small town in Ireland, as they weave in and out of each other’s romantic lives.
With 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, Normal People has scooped its fair share of awards and nominations, including for both its leads and an Emmy nomination for its script, co-written by novelist Sally Rooney.
The Globe and Mail called the series “beautifully made… an achingly powerful story of intimacy, affection, power-dynamics, class division and money.”
A Black Lady Sketch Show S2 | 1 July
In May, HBO announced that A Black Lady Sketch Show has been renewed for a third season. “Making A Black Lady Sketch Show is a dream come true,” says creator and star Robin Thede. “I see this show as a budding comedy institution, where Black women can play fully realised, non-stereotypical characters, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to create that space for today’s premiere comedians.”
It’s been nominated for six Black Reel Awards, including Best Actress for Thede, and three Emmys. “Robin Thede is as dynamic as ever,” New York Times says of the new season, while Paste described the series as “refreshing, sharp and funny,” and A.V. Club praised the show’s “excellent cast chemistry.”
Baghdad Central S1 | 1 July
It’s 2003. Saddam Hussein has been ousted, Iraq is under foreign control, and tensions run high. Waleed Zuaiter (The Men Who Stare at Goats) plays Muhsin al-Khafaji, a former police inspector who has lost everything except his determination to find his missing daughter Sawsan. But to find her, he’ll have to choose a side…
Baghdad Central has an 83% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus reads, “Waleed Zuaiter proves a strong lead in Baghdad Central, a multilingual geopolitical thriller with a sense of humanity.”
The Bold Type S5 | Weekly on Fridays from 2 July, express from the US Finale | First and only on Showmax
Big on girl-power, and even bigger on real friends, the six-episode final season of The Bold Type comes to our screens this month, right after the finale airs in the US.
The Bold Type has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. AV Club calls the show, “A heart-on-its-sleeve, good-for-you affair that’s also a glossy, giddy comic workplace drama.”
The new season holds the promise of tantalising hook-ups, fan-favourite make-ups, heart-breaking split-ups, character clean-ups (for those messy loose ends left by the pandemic-enforced abrupt end to Season 4) and level-ups for Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) as they navigate life, work and love in New York City.
Avenue 5 S1 | 16 July
HBO sci-fi comedy Avenue 5 follows the beleaguered crew and spoiled tourists aboard a space cruise ship that gets thrown off course, turning an eight-week trip around Saturn into a three-year journey back to Earth. Labelled “galactically good” by Independent (UK), Avenue 5 has already been renewed for a second season.
Created by Oscar nominee and Emmy and BAFTA winner Armando Iannucci (Veep), the show’s cast is led by Hugh Laurie (House) and Josh Gad (the voice of Frozen’s Olaf).
Young Rock S1 | 26 July
Even the world’s biggest star started out small. Young Rock is a sitcom based on the life of Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), going back to his roots as a ten-year-old in Hawaii, his high school years in Pennsylvania, and his university years in Miami, all within the (for now) fictional framework of the actor and pro wrestler running as a candidate in the 2032 US Presidential Election.
Already renewed for a second season, the series has a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says: “Anchored by a winsome ensemble, Young Rock is an endearing peek behind the curtain of both Dwayne Johnson’s childhood and the wild world of wrestling.”
The Goes Wrong Show | 1 July
Theatrical hilarity and farce get the full treatment in the recently renewed six-episode British comedy series The Goes Wrong Show. Developed by British theatre company Mischief Theatre, which produced the acclaimed The Play That Goes Wrong, each half-hour episode of The Goes Wrong Show delivers a new theatrical catastrophe in a different genre, presented by the fictional Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.
Financial Times gave it a five-star review, saying, “This stuff has to be directed and performed with pinpoint accuracy if it’s to succeed. Fortunately, it’s perfectly, deliberately, terrible.”
Oslo | 1 July | First on Showmax
HBO’s riveting political drama Oslo is based on the true-life, previously secret, back-channel negotiations in the development of the pivotal 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Starring Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (His Dark Materials) as Mona Juul, a Norwegian foreign minister, and Emmy nominee Andrew Scott (Fleabag, His Dark Materials) as Terje Rød-Larsen, a Norwegian sociologist and Mona’s husband, the film details the secret talks, unlikely friendships and quiet heroics of a small but committed group of Israelis, Palestinians and one Norwegian couple.
Joker | 5 July | Day after M-Net Sunday Night
IMDb’s 62nd highest rated film of all-time, Joker won 2020 Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Critics Choice Awards for Joaquin Phoenix (Best Actor) and Hildur Guðnadóttir (Best Score), as well as over 100 other awards around the world.
Joker centres on Arthur Fleck, a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night… but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study of the iconic arch nemesis.
Just Mercy | 8 July
Michael B Jordan (Creed) and Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (Ray) and Brie Larson (Room) star in Just Mercy, the true story of an idealistic young lawyer working to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.
Just Mercy has an 85% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won 2020 NAACP Image Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Jordan) and Best Supporting Actor (Foxx), among other awards.
The Way Back | 15 July
Back in high school, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) had everything going for him. A basketball phenom, he could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros, but, instead, he chose to walk away from the game.
Jack’s glory days are long gone…but, as it turns out, not forgotten. Years later, he gets the chance to take back his life when he is asked to coach the struggling basketball team at his alma mater. Jack reluctantly accepts, and as the team starts to win, Jack may get his last shot at redemption.
Directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), The Way Back earned Affleck a People’s Choice and Critics Choice nomination, among other honours. The film has an 83% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Atlantic praising “the rawest and most natural performance Affleck has given in his career.”
Greenland | 22 July
Gerard Butler (300) and Morena Baccarin (Homeland) must survive a planet-killing comet in the action drama Greenland, directed by Ric Roman Waugh (Angel Has Fallen).
Rotten Tomatoes says, “to prove once and for all 2020 was a crazy year, Gerard Butler was actually in a movie critics like: Greenland, his first Certified Fresh live-action movie since 2011’s Corolianus.” Perhaps, as Time Out puts it, because “Gerard Butler finally faces an adversary he can’t punch.”
Empire calls Greenland not only “Butler’s best star vehicle in years” but also “one of the best disaster movies in years.”
The Lord of the Rings trilogy | 29 July
The ultimate epic fantasy binge, The Lord of the Rings trilogy includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.
Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth and based on the classic novel by Bloemfontein-born JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings follows hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and the Fellowship undertake a dangerous quest to destroy the One Ring and ensure the downfall of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron.
Shot in the epic landscapes of New Zealand, the ensemble cast includes Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Sir Christopher Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan.
The trilogy won 17 Oscars, grossed almost $3billion worldwide, and is still considered one of the most influential film series ever produced.
Also watch The Hobbit trilogy: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies on Showmax ahead of the upcoming TV series, tentatively due later this year and set to be the most expensive TV series ever made.
A one night stand has unintended repercussions in the romantic comedy Knocked Up, directed by Judd Apatow (Girls, The King of Staten Island) and starring Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, and Jason Segel. The film has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
One of the biggest films of 2020, After We Collided, based on the 2014 young adult novel by Anna Todd, continues the romantic saga of Tessa and Hardin, played by Teen Choice winners Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin. Watch the original, After, also on Showmax.
Tom Cruise is a soldier caught in a time loop as he relives the same day over and over again in a war against a force of alien invaders in the 2014 science fiction blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow, which grossed over $370million, won a Critics Choice Award (for Emily Blunt), and holds a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sylvester Stallone’s legendary Rocky franchise is arguably the first and last word in boxing dramas, grossing a collective $1.7 billion over three decades at the worldwide box office. Along the way, the films picked up 12 Oscar nominations (including Best Actor for Stallone), with three wins, including Best Picture and Best Director for the 1976 classic that started it all. The full Rocky boxset: Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V, and Rocky Balboa, is coming to Showmax on 19 July. Also watch Creed, the first instalment of the continuation.
Will Smith is the last man on Earth (except for all the ones that want to eat him) in I am Legend. Smith won Best Actor for the role at the the MTV Movie Awards and the Teen Choice Awards, where I Am Legend also won Choice Horror/Thriller.
Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor, with Ethan Hawke nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the 2001 crime thriller Training Day. The story follows two LAPD narcotics officers over a 24-hour period in the ganglands of LA.
Showmax is adding four new movies to its Samuel L Jackson collection this July: the 2006 OTT action-fest Snakes on a Plane (with Julianna Margulies), 1999 creature feature Deep Blue Sea (with Stellan Skarsgård); 1996 crime drama, The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996, with Geena Davis); and, of course, the 2005 action comedy, The Man (with Eugene Levy).
Best of Africa
Uthando Lodumo | Showmax Original | Binge now
The much-anticipated three-part reality series Uthando Lodumo follows Bongekile Simelane and Mandla Maphumulo, better known as gqom superstars Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha, from Mapintsha’s sensational proposal live on air on Gagasi FM in October 2020, through marriage counselling, lobola negotiations and pregnancy, all the way to their vibrant traditional wedding in April 2021.
Babes burst onto the gqom scene with Wololo, featuring Mampintsha and Distruction Boyz, which racked up over 11m views on YouTube alone and nabbed nominations as Record of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards and the South African Music Awards, among others.
But their relationship hasn’t always been a fairytale, with an incident of gender-based violence trending on social media in 2019. In Uthando Ludumo, we’ll see that West Ink Records founder Mampintsha is still dealing with the aftermath of that controversy, as his initial letter to Babes’s family is rejected, and Babes worries that his apology to her parents may not be enough to keep her family from turning Mampintsha’s family away at the gate…
Uthando Lodumo is produced and directed by SAFTA winner Thomas Gumede and SAFTA nominee Lungile Radu.
Devilsdorp | Showmax Original | Binge from 29 July
Hell comes closer to home in the first-look trailer for Devilsdorp, the first Showmax Original true crime docu-series.
In 2016, a spate of brutal Appointment Murders gripped the town of Krugersdorp, leaving sales people and consultants terrified to book meetings in case they were the serial killer’s next victims. The investigation led detectives to a series of unsolved cold cases, the so-called Satanic Murders, and to links between 11 Krugersdorp killings between 2012 and 2016. They discovered these were the work of Electus per Deus (Chosen by God), a cult with more victims than members.
“The result of an 18-month research process, Devilsdorp shows again that truth is stranger than fiction, especially in South Africa,” says director David Enright. “This is the story of devout Christians trying to help a convert claiming to be a 42nd generation satanic witch. Of a cop who compares himself to Chuck Norris. Of a mother who kills with her children. And of a mastermind who is never at the scene of the crime. It may all sound too far-fetched to be believed, except it really happened – just down the road from us.”
Alongside extraordinary footage of exorcisms, church meetings, and trial testimonies and judgments, Devilsdorp features first-hand accounts from the likes of Captain Ben Booysen, the senior investigating officer; Advocate Gerrit Roberts, the senior state prosecutor; Discovery claims specialist Shane Chatzkelowitz; and journalist Marizka Coetzer. The family of the victims also share their stories, as do church members who knew the perpetrators. Jana Marx, author of The Krugersdorp Cult Killings: Inside Cecilia Steyn’s Reign of Terror, narrates the series.
Big Brother Naija S6
It’s non-stop drama and excitement as Big Brother Naija kicks off its sixth season with Ebuka Obi-Uchendu returning as host of the mega-hit show.
In typical BBNaija fashion, Season 6 will see a group of strangers living together as they try to outwit each other, and claim the grand prize plus bragging rights as winner of Africa’s biggest reality show.
Big Brother Naija Lockdown reunion | Stream now
The drama continues in July with the BBNaija Lockdown reunion show as the Lockdown gang take a trip down memory lane. From the love triangles to the epic fights, no issue is left unaddressed as Ebuka takes the housemates through the highlights of their days in Big Brother’s house.
BBNaija Lockdown reunion is available for streaming on Showmax weekdays from 11pm. Binge past episodes of the Lockdown reunion here.
From Seyi Shay’s no-holds-barred judgement to DJ Sose’s entertaining antics (who can forget his going under the table at the auditions), balanced by Obi Asika’s unflinching calm, it’s been an entertaining ride on Nigerian Idol, and things come to a head at what promises to be an exciting finale.
Don’t miss the season finale of Nigerian Idol as Akunna, Kingdom and Francis give the performance of their lives to claim the grand prize of a recording contract and 50 million in prizes.
The Nigerian Idol Season 6 finale will be available for live streaming on Showmax on Sunday, 4 July. Binge past episodes of the show here.
This Love | First on Showmax | New episodes every Monday
This Love, the latest docu-reality series from Eugene Mbugua (Sol Family, Stori Yangu) continues with new episodes this month as Kenya’s favourite celebrity couple, Nameless and Wahu, share more about their family life, their marriage (that has lasted for 15 years despite the initial skepticism) and the lessons they have learnt along the way. In the upcoming episodes, we follow Nameless and Wahu as they pay tribute to Kenya’s legendary artist E-Sir, and join friends and family in a memorial to celebrate his life. We also follow Nameless and his two daughters Tumiso and Nyakio as they plan a surprise birthday party for Wahu as she turns 41.
Catch more from Nameless and Wahu with new episodes of This Love, every Monday exclusively on Showmax.
More local titles from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in July
Kenya: Look out for new weekly episodes of fan-favourite Swahili telenovelas Selina, Kovu and Pete; the drama series Kina; the comedy-drama Njoro wa Uba and Varshita; and the reality series Date My Family Kenya.
Uganda: Look out for new weekly episodes of popular telenovela Sanyu; the drama series Prestige, Loving Tyra and Between Us; and the comedy-drama Mama and Me.
Tanzania: Look out for new weekly episodes of the Swahili telenovela Huba; the drama series Pazia and Jua Kali; and the reality series My Wedding Day.
Nqobile S1 | 5 July
When Nqobile, an abused makoti of the Nkosi family dynasty, takes over as CEO of the family business and transforms it into a women’s e-hailing service, she inadvertently declares war on her abusive husband. Backed only by the confidence of her father-in-law, Nqobile is thrust into a male-dominated industry where she must thrive in order to negotiate her freedom from a position of power.
The 13-episode series is created and produced by SAFTA-winning Isibaya director Adze Ugah; Nomzamo and Isibaya star Ayanda Borotho; and business leader Nobuntu Webster.
Nqobile Nunu Khumalo (Isibaya) leads the cast as Nqobile, backed by the likes of Kagiso Modupe (Losing Lerato), Magic Hlatshwayo (The Queen), Nomsa Nene (Poppie Nongena), Lilian Dube (Isithembiso) and more.
The Queen S6 | 26 July | same time as Mzansi Magic
Season 6 of the acclaimed SAFTA-winning telenovela The Queen kicks off with a bang – literally – when Harriet discovers who murdered her daughter. The series sees two arch enemies, the Khozas and the Sebatas, fight to avenge their loved ones, but the new season poses an unexpected question: what if Harriet Khoza fell in love?
SAFTA winners Connie Ferguson and Themba Ndaba reprise their roles alongside SAFTA nominee and Durban International Film Festival Award winner Rapulana Seiphemo, Jessica Nkosi and Zenande Mfeyana.
Painting With John S1 | First on Showmax | Binge from 19 July
“I was hoping this show would be educational, but I really don’t know what the f*** I’m doing,” says John Lurie, co-founder of musical group The Lounge Lizards.
Painting With John, a new unscripted series written, directed by and starring Lurie, is part meditative tutorial, part fireside chat. Each episode has Lurie at his worktable at his home in the Caribbean, honing his watercolour techniques and sharing what he’s learned about life. With images of Lurie’s paintings, original music and his point of view all rolled into one, the series strikes an irreverent tone while reminding us to prioritise some time every day for creativity, fun and a bit of mischief.
Painting With John has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus says, “A celebration of art and life through the eyes of a delightful curmudgeon, Painting with John is a surprising, intimate feat of TV joy.”
Takalani Sesame S6 | TBC
We are all special, and we all belong! Takalani Sesame turns 21 this year, and to celebrate, Showmax is bringing the beloved local take on Sesame Street (the multi-award-winning US mega-show that’s been running for over 50 years) to our screens from this month. Join the lovable three- (and-a-half, thank you very much!) -year-old Elmo and six-year-old Zuzu as they go on new adventures with their friends to find out what makes them special, and learn heaps of clever stuff along the way. Look out for fresh seasons of the show coming up from next month, along with content from Sesame Street.
The Lego Movie | 1 July
Everything is awesome in the brilliantly animated comedy The Lego Movie. With a voice cast that includes the likes of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will “I’m Batman” Arnett and Morgan Freeman, the film won multiple awards in 2015, and was nominated for an Oscar for its very catchy theme song. Also catch The Lego Movie 2 on Showmax.
Shrek 2 | 1 July
Hilarious and heartwarming, DreamWorks’ animated adventure sequel Shrek 2 won a ton of awards and was nominated for two Oscars. Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona are once again voiced by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, with Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, and John Cleese joining the cast.
Also watch the original Shrek on Showmax.
The Polar Express | 5 July
Tom Hanks stars in (and co-produced) the magical, thrilling motion capture-animated adventure The Polar Express, which sees a young boy invited to board a mysterious train bound for the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Directed by Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, A Christmas Carol), the film was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Original Song for Josh Groban’s “Believe”, which also nabbed nominations for a Grammy and a Golden Globe.
The Secret Life of Pets | 8 July
Adorable kids’ favourite animated movie The Secret Life of Pets (from the folks who brought us Despicable Me) became the sixth biggest blockbuster of 2016 with its brilliantly funny story of Max, a terrier whose quiet life is upended when his owner takes in an oversized stray named Duke. Kevin Hart won two Kids’ Choice Awards (Favorite Villain and Most Wanted Pet) for his voice role as super bad bunny Snowball. Also watch The Secret Life of Pets 2.
Space Jam | 12 July
With the brand-new movie Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James, releasing soon, now’s the time to catch the kids up on the original 1996 classic, Space Jam, which blends live action and animation as the Looney Tunes turn to basketball champion Michael Jordan in a desperate bid to win a basketball match and earn their freedom. Starring Bugs Bunny, Bill Murray and Jordan himself, Space Jam won an Annie Award and a Grammy (for R. Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly).
The Croods | 15 July
If your family loved last year’s animated adventure The Croods: A New Age, you’ll have a blast with the original, The Croods. Set in the “Croodaceous” era, the story follows a caveman family who must explore unfamiliar territory when their world begins to change. With an all-star voice cast including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Catherine Keener, The Croods was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, and won three Annie Awards.
Nominated for an Oscar for its beautiful costume design, Mirror Mirror stars Lily Collins and Julia Roberts in a charming and funny re-imagining of the tale of Snow White.
Also on Showmax in July
Back to School S1 | Behind The Music Fever S1 | Bogade S1 | Carrots | City on Fire S2 | Everly | He’s Just Not That Into You | Impractical Jokers: The Movie | Swedish Dicks S1-2 | New Year’s Eve | The Terminal | Valentine’s Day | Zak Storm S1
Africa’s Wild Wonders | Art of Survival | Cats & Dogs | Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore | Collision S1-2 | Denver S1 | Fever S1-2 | Jumbo Goes to Jozi | Payback
The Legendaries S1 | Love Back S5
Abazali S1 | Amazed By You | Apparition | Benji the Dove | Bottom of the 9th | Caged No More | Down By the River | Epiphany | Faith. Hope. Love | Gallows Road | God’s Fool | Home Sweet Home | I Am Not Ashamed | I Am Potential | If You’re Gone | Joseph & Mary | Joyful Noise | Jimmy | The Jungle Bunch S1-3 | Mary 4 Mayor | Pashabin S1 | The Secret Handshake | Tizibika S1 | Useless | Wild Faith
Blended | Executive Decision | Exit Wounds | Fire Down Below The Glimmer Man | Hard to Kill | Love Is Not Enough | Masauso S1 | Mirages | On Deadly Ground | Out for Justice | Search and Destroy | Team Dronix S1 | Turn of Fortune S1
Robin’s Wish | Back on the Record with Bob Costas S1
Cop Out | The Last Boy Scout | Mfuthi S1 | MoMonsters S1 | Mwinemushi S1-3 | Njila: The Phase S1-2 | Nyumba Yanga S1
License to Wed | Magic Arch | My Father and I S1-2 | My Story Zambia S1 | Nkhani Ya Mpali S1 | Op My Eish S1
Love Island US S2
Blackbird | The Giver | Passenger 57
Fatima | Yogi Bear