What’s New in March 2020
Love sci-fi series and imagined realities? Hankering after some brilliant dramas? Want to hear true stories that are stranger than fiction? It’s all on Showmax this March.
Everything is Awesome on Showmax this March (Yes! The Lego Movie 2 is coming!). There’s something for all tastes and all ages, with new seasons of our favourite comedies, riveting dramas, sci-fi (Westworld Season 3 is almost here!), and some of the most gobsmacking doccies you’ll find anywhere.
Editor’s Choice: International Series
Noughts + Crosses | 12 March, weekly express from M-Net
The highly anticipated BBC sci-fi adaptation of the first book in Malorie Blackman’s best-selling young adult novel series is set in a dystopian alternate history where black “Cross” people rule over white “Noughts”. Against a backdrop of prejudice, distrust and rebellion, childhood friends Sephy and Callum must fight for more than simply the right to be together.
An iconic love story of two families separated by power and prejudice but forever entwined by fate, Noughts + Crosses stars South African Masali Baduza (Trackers) and BAFTA Cymru winner Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders). The cast also includes Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers), Helen Baxendale (Midsomer Murders), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and South African Bonnie Mbuli (Catch a Fire), with a guest appearance by rapper Stormzy.
Exec produced by multi-award-winning director Kibwe Tavares, with a writing team headed up by Being Human and Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse, Noughts + Crosses was shot in South Africa with mostly South African crew, including award-winning cinematographers Jamie Ramsay and Giulio Biccari, and production designer Shane Bunce.
Zac & Mia S2 | Binge from 1 March
Zac & Mia, based on the novel by AJ Betts, centres on two teenagers battling cancer in the same hospital. In the everyday world, Zac and Mia would have nothing in common, but in the hospital, where they’re the only two teens on the ward, they develop an unbreakable bond.
In Season 2, Zac looks forward to things going back to normal as he returns home, but soon discovers that normal is not what it once was. Mia embarks on physiotherapy and is learning to adjust to life after her operation, but she has a long, hard road ahead of her. The one thing they have is each other, but could what brought them together become the thing that tears them apart?
8.1/10, IMDb; Winner of two Emmys (for Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Writing in a Digital Drama Series)
Emergence S1 | Binge from 2 March
Long Island police chief Jo Evans (Golden Globe nominee Allison Tolman from Fargo) investigates a case involving a young child found unscathed at the site of a mysterious plane accident. The girl has no memory of who she is or how she got there, but her arrival is marked by unexplained phenomena and electronic disruptions.
#48 Rotten Tomatoes’ Best TV Shows of 2019, and one of five best-reviewed TV sci-fi and fantasy shows of 2019, with a 94% critics’ rating
Superstore S4 | Binge from 2 March
The popular comedy about the employees at an American superstore returns. Amy and Jonah are back at Cloud 9 after being suspended, but now they have to deal with all the comments, jokes and questions about their sex video … and their relationship status. Both Amy and Dina are getting ready to have their babies this season, and while Amy wonders how she’ll juggle things between her, Adam and Jonah, Dina can’t wait to hand the baby over to Jerusha and Garret.
100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes for every season since season 2; Teen Choice Award nominee for Choice TV Actress: Comedy (America Ferrera)
The Orville S2 | Binge from 2 March
Series creator Seth McFarlane (the Oscar-nominated creator of Family Guy and Ted) is Ed Mercer, captain of the exploratory space vessel The Orville. He faces intergalactic challenges and interpersonal dynamics along with his crew, 400 years in the future.
Season 2 promises more character-driven drama (and comedy), with dark matter cartographer Janel Tyler (Michaela McManus from Awake and The Village) upping the ante between Ed and Kelly; Bortus returning home to complete a sacred rite; and the revelation of a dark secret about Isaac’s home world. Meanwhile, The Orville is on course to make first contact with new alien civilisations, return to Moclus, and confront the Krill.
2019 Emmy nominee for Best VFX; 8/10, IMDB; 100% S2 critics’ score for Rotten Tomatoes
Press S1 | First on Showmax | Binge from 2 March
Staffers at two newspapers – a left-leaning broadsheet and a right-leaning populist tabloid – fight for truth, entertainment and the ultimate scoop as two British newspapers go head-to-head in a press world fraught with scandals, under pressure from the 24-hour news cycle, and constantly evolving in the digital age.
95% critics’ rating and 100% audience rating, Rotten Tomatoes.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine S6 | Binge from 2 March
Police station comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back with a sixth season that’s as warm and off-the-wall funny as ever. Which means we get to find out whether Captain Holt got the job as NYPD Commissioner, how that’s going to affect the 99th precinct, and whether Jake and Amy will get their Mexican honeymoon.
Won two Golden Globes, for Best Comedy Series and Best Actor (Andy Samberg); Won two Emmys for its stunts and was nominated for a further seven, including three for Outstanding Supporting Actor for Andre Braugher; 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes; 8.4/10, IMDb
Westworld S3 | Weekly same time as M-Net, express from the US from 16 March
Sci-fi drama Westworld is a dark Wild West odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the birth of a new form of life on Earth. And this season, they’re knocking it “out of the park”.
Returning for Season 3 are Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), Thandie Newton (Maeve), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard/Arnold), Tessa Thompson (Charlotte), Luke Hemsworth (Ashley) and Rodrigo Santoro (Hector), and Oscar nominee Ed Harris as the Man in Black.
New faces this season include Golden Globe nominee Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad).
Winner of 7 Emmys, including Best Supporting Actress (Thandie Newton) in 2018; Nominated for 4 Golden Globes, including Best Drama Series, #69, IMDb’s Top Rated TV of All Time, with an 8.7/10 rating, 86% critics’ rating, Rotten Tomatoes
Editor’s Choice: Movies
The Sun is Also a Star | 12 March
If you’re a romantic at heart, if you believe in destiny, or if you just need a good ol’ dose of the feels, this one’s for you.
Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha isn’t in the market for romance. In fact, she doesn’t even believe in love. Also, she’s about to be deported. Then a stranger saves her life on the street and, over coffee, tells her they’re meant for one another. It’s never going to happen, obviously, but Natasha’s willing to give him an hour of her time. Are they star-crossed, or was their meeting just a random coincidence?
The Sun is Also a Star is a coming-of-age love story based on the best-selling young-adult novel by Nicola Yoon, who also penned Everything, Everything.
2019 Teen Choice Awards nominee for Choice Summer Movie Actor (Charles Melton) and Actress (Yara Shahidi).
Pet Sematary | 12 March
Dr Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, move to rural Maine with their two young children. When their daughter Ellie discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home, Louis is quick to put her at ease. But these woods belong to something else. Something that brings things back from the dead. Based on the novel by Stephen King.
Nominated for three 2019 Saturn Awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, for Best Horror Film, Best Supporting Actor (John Lithgow) and Best Make-Up
The House with a Clock in its Walls | 19 March
Somewhere between Harry Potter and Goosebumps, there’s The House with the Clock in its Walls.
Ten-year-old orphan Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) goes to live with his strange uncle in a creaky old house whose walls contain a mysterious tick-tocking magic. When Lewis accidentally disturbs the dead, the sleepy town comes alive with dark witchery.
Based on the 1970s John Bellairs children’s book of the same name, the movie stars Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Golden Globe nominee Jack Black, as well as Golden Globe winner Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks).
Opened at #1 and grossed $131m at the global box office
The Hustle | 23 March
In this gender-flipped remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Anne Hathaway (doing a wonderful toff) and Rebel Wilson (doing, well, Rebel Wilson) are con-artists, one high-brow, one low-rent, both masters of the fleece.
Josephine Chesterfield (Hathaway) has used her cunning and class to secure a stunning villa and a safe full of diamonds in the south of France, while Aussie Penny Rust (Wilson) flies by the seat of her pants – and the stacks of cash she liberates from gullible marks. They have almost nothing in common, but when tech billionaire Thomas Westerburg (Alex Sharp from How to Talk to Girls at Parties) comes onto their radar, the pair team up for the scam of the year.
Juliet, Naked | 26 March
Juliet, Naked is the story of Annie (the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan) and her unlikely transatlantic romance with once revered, now faded rocker, Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the object of Duncan’s musical obsession. When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself in this comic account of life’s second chances.
Directed by Emmy nominee Jesse Peretz (Glow), Juliet, Naked stars Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, and four-time Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke. The film is based on the novel by Nick Hornby, who also wrote About a Boy and High Fidelity.
83% critics’ score, Rotten Tomatoes
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part | 29 March
It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens of Bricksburg – or should we say, Apocalypseburg? – are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.
The highly-anticipated LEGO Movie sequel brings all our favourite heroes back to save their beloved city in a new action-packed adventure. Their quest will take them to unexplored (and occasionally musical) worlds, testing their courage, creativity and loyalty. And be warned, the new earworm is even more “catchy” than Everything Is Awesome.
Opened at #1 at the box office and grossed $192.3m worldwide; #4 Best Reviewed Animated Movies of 2019, with an 85% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes
Editor’s Choice: Non-fiction
Three Identical Strangers | 5 March
On the first day of college in New York in 1980, a young man who’d been adopted at birth discovered he had an identical twin. Then the boys learned there was a third. And then, after the fairytale reunion that made feel-good headlines across the world, the triplets started asking questions – and their quest to find out why they’d been split in the first place revealed an increasingly bizarre and sinister mystery.
Won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival; won a Critics’ Choice Documentary Award; nominated for three Emmys and a BAFTA; #3 Best Documentaries of 2018 and #9 Best Limited-Release Movies of 2018, with a 97% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes; 81/100 aggregated critics’ rating, Metacritic; 5.2m views across two trailers on Youtube.
The Planets | Binge from 5 March
If you like your viewing epic, it doesn’t get much bigger than this.
Across five one-hour episodes, Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto explores the dramatic history of the eight planetary siblings in our solar system, as it unfolded over 4.5billion years. Using extensive computer-generated imagery and footage from space missions, including NASA’s Cassini–Huygens mission and the New Horizons probe, the series reveals the spectacular landscapes, apocalyptic weather systems and unbelievable science (on Saturn, it rains diamonds) of our neighbouring worlds.
9.1/10, IMDb; 100% critics’ score, Rotten Tomatoes
Editor’s Choice: Local
Somizi & Mohale: The Union | The Finale: The White Wedding | 16 March
It’s the episode we’ve all been waiting for – Somizi and Mohale’s super glamorous, gorgeous White Wedding! The fourth episode in the wedding special takes us right down the aisle with the couple on their big day. All the planning and buildup has lead to this. From 16 March, all four episodes will be available for one glorious binge session.
Matwetwe | First on Showmax | 5 March
Matwetwe (Wizard) is a hilarious coming-of-age adventure directed by comedian Kagiso Lediga (Queen Sono), with Black Coffee as executive producer. It follows Lefa (the late Sibusiso Khwinana) and Papi (Tebatso Mashishi), best friends and recent high school graduates, on the hustle of their young lives. Over the course of one action-packed New Year’s Eve in the iconic township of Atteridgeville, the boys try to score a huge deal, dodge a kingpin gangster and his violent minions, get the girl and ultimately save their own lives…
The second biggest local film at the South African box office in 2019
Skemerson | Express from channel | 2 March
Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. A young man battling mental illness decides to take his own life. But as Sella stands on the 216m-high Bloukrans bridge, ready to end it all, he hears her laugh… This is the beginning of a weekend that changes three lives forever.
Screenwriter Pietie Beyers wrote the script about his own struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and stars as Sella, opposite two-time SAFTA nominee Anneke Weidemann (Die Wonderwerker) as Emma. Look out for Elise Cawood in a SAFTA-nominated performance as Emma’s frail mother.
Nominated for four SAFTAs this year: for Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design, Best Original Score and Best Supporting Actress for Elize Cawood
3 Days to Go | First on Showmax | 5 March
Following the sudden death of their father, four estranged siblings – and their own extended families – must survive three days under the same roof as they return to their childhood home to lay their father to rest.
Written and directed by Bianca Isaac, the movie stars Leeanda Reddy, Lillette Dubey, Jailoshini Naidoo, Kajal Bagwandeen, Rahul Brijnath, Jonathan Boynton-Lee and Zakeeya Patel.
South African Stand-Up Comedy Specials | 5 March
Showmax reaffirms its position as the home of South African stand-up comedy this month, with one-man shows like So Naïve by Tsitsi Chiumya (winner of the 2019 Comics’ Choice Next Level Award and 2018 Best Newcomer); Iyeza by Robby Collins (nominated for the 2019 Comics’ Choice Headliner of the Year); Snorseun and Schalkie by Schalk Bezuidenhout (two-time Comics’ Choice winner); and Cancelled by Tats Nkonzo (named the 2012 Comics’ Choice Breakthrough Act).
These join an ever-growing library of the funniest comics in South Africa, from 2018 Comic of the Year Carvin Goldstone to 2018 Comedy G winner David Kau to Celeste Ntuli, winner of both the Comedy G and Flying Solo awards at Comics Choice 2019. Also look out for Laugh at First Sight, where Lazola Gola, Kate Pinchuck and Dave Levinsohn open up about their love lives and their love of making people laugh.
Frank & Fearless | 23 March
When rhino calf Reini is orphaned by poachers, ten-year-old Fearless decides to take action. Teaming up with unlikely compatriots Dog (a big black dog) and Sonny Frank (a lovable and possibly certifiable rogue), Fearless and Reini set out to find justice for Africa’s last remaining rhinos, gangster-style. But their quest goes horribly wrong when they run into a platoon of merciless poachers. Fortunately, Africa itself seems to be on their side.
Leon Schuster is back in this new comedy adventure filled with action, terror, tears, triumph and a whole lot of heart.
The highest-grossing South African film at the local box office in 2018
Editor’s Choice: Kids
Jabu’s Jungle follows nine-year-old Jabu as he explores his jungle home, accompanied by his magic talking drum. Together, they help animals in need. With its cast of zany, endearing characters, crazy comedy, wild adventures – and misadventures – and magical worlds, it’s a hit favourite with even the youngest of viewers.
Also streaming on Showmax this March
Four Weddings and A Funeral | GreyZone S1 | Hansie | Break Away AKA Baroudeur | Faith Like Potatoes | Born To Win | Shot Caller | The Choice | Dirty Girl | Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland | Victor | Greater | Fireman Sam: Set for Action! | Aliens Love Underpants and Panta Claus | Wildernuts S1
Liewe Lisa | Keeping Up With The Kardashians S12-15 | The Killer Affair S1 | License To Kill S1 | Captive State | Shock and Awe | Guilt Trip | Singularity | Monster High: Adventures of the Ghoul Squad S1 | Monster High Special: The Howliday | Enchantimals S1-2
Abobaba S1 | Mile 22 | Pitch Perfect 2 | Mamma Mia | Theory of Everything | Most Likely To Murder | Where’s Waldo S2 | Barbie in Rock ‘n Royals
Isibaya S7 | Uhambo | Pinky Pinky | Maskandi Queen | Prodigy | Malevolent | The Purge | The Purge: Anarchy | The Purge: Election Year | Step Up | Step Up 2: The Streets | Step Up 3D | The Dog Who Saved Halloween
Uyang’Thanda Na? S4 | Touching Base TI | Touching Base Switzz | Touching base Migos | Behind The Story S2 | Zombillenium | Kung Fu Panda 3 | Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax | Home | Barbie and Her Sisters in a Pony Tale | Barbie and Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure
Yim’ lo S1-2 | The Children Act | The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature
Status Update | Liar, Liar | Cinderella and the Secret Prince | A Dog and Pony Show
The Festival | Welcome Home | Puppy Swap | Pony with a Broken Wing
Ithuba | Parable | Gomora S1 | The Princess and the Dragon | Spider in the Web | The Exception | Unfriended | Rage