25 August 2023
Binge-watch The Best Man: best friends gold
New friends silver, old friends gold – and there are few old friends more devoted than the Best Man gang. We first met them at a wedding in The Best Man in 1999. We joined them for Christmas in The Best Man Holiday in 2013 – the first time that they were all back together in one group in 14 years! And now, 10 years on, we’re invited to their latest Caribbean Island resort wedding in the eight-episode mini-series The Best Man: The Final Chapters.
Writer-director Malcolm D Lee (Director of Girls Trip, and cousin of director Spike Lee) created the Best Man world to celebrate and showcase the diversity of Black male experiences in successful careers and loving relationships that he just wasn’t seeing on screen in the 1990s. While the movies centred primarily on the men, the women in the movies were also complex, human and funny, with a wide range of lives and desires. And in the series, Malcolm has brought in Dayna Lynne North to expand their world and tell a longer story.
So call up old friends and stage your own watch-party reunion with the ultimate in TV soul food.
Watch The Best Man: The Final Chapters now
Watch The Best Man now
Watch The Best Man Holiday now
Watch the trailer for The Best Man: The Final Chapters
Character catch up
Want to get into the series without watching the movies first, or wondering if memory serves you correctly? Here’s what’s happened with the Best Man crew through the past 23 years.
Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs)
University days: Harper, “Murch”, Jordan, Mia, Lance and Quentin became firm friends at university. Harper introduced Lance to his love, Mia, but never revealed that he and Mia had had a one-night stand. Harper also almost hooked up with Jordan.
1999: Harper’s debut novel Unfinished Business makes Oprah’s Book Club selection list. The book is based on his university friends, and exposes his fling with Mia. Harper (the buffest, bougiest book nerd ever to ruin a bubble bath by overthinking) is set to be the best man at Lance and Mia’s wedding, where he reunites with his “one who got away”, Jordan. The revelation of Harper’s fling with Mia in Unfinished Business leads to a punch-up between Lance and Harper, and Lance’s decision to call off the wedding. But Harper and his live-in girlfriend Robyn get everything back on track, and Harper proposes to Robyn on the dancefloor at the reception. So he’s that guy.
2013: Harper hits a speed bump professionally. He has writer’s block and he’s been let go from his prestigious post at NYU (New York University). He reluctantly agrees to write a tell-all biography about Lance, despite the fact that their relationship is still shaky. Mia manages to patch things up between them before she dies, and after Harper moves everyone with his eulogy at her memorial service, Lance collaborates with Harper, and his biography – God, Family and Football – is published around 10 months later. And Harper and his wife Robyn have a baby daughter named Mia together just after the memorial.
Now: Harper’s agent Stan (Aaron Serotsky) tells him that he’s gotten a movie offer for Harper’s first novel, Unfinished Business, and Robyn warns him to clear his work with his friends for once. Harper is also feeling undermined by Stan’s attempts to push him into writing money spinners instead of his long dreamed of Reconstruction Era novel
Seriously! And Quentin asks Harper to be his best man at his upcoming wedding.
Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long)
1999: Ambitious, fast-talking, multi-tasking TV producer Jordan is at the wedding as Mia’s maid of honour. After Lance beats him up, Harper blames Jordan for sharing her advanced copy of his novel around the group, but she throws it right back in his face (in more ways than one) for publishing his dirty laundry, and for playing games with her heart when she sees how he describes her in his novel. During the emotion of the wedding, though, Jordan urges Harper to seal the deal with Robyn, believing the two make a perfect couple.
2013: Jordan shows up for Christmas with a plus one – her new boyfriend, Brian McDonald (Eddie Cibrian), but she’s still the girl with a hundred things on the go and no time for love. Nonetheless, Brian promises to help Murch and Candy’s school using his contacts.
Now: Brian is yesterday’s news and Jordan is happily single again and a devoted presence in the lives of Lance and Mia’s kids as their godmother. She’s as career-driven as ever, and now working on producing a daytime talk show with an all-Black female panel.
Robyn Stewart (Sanaa Lathan)
1999: Robyn knows her worth and she’s frustrated with her boyfriend Harper for being unwilling to commit to her despite all the emotional support she gives him in what’s obviously an otherwise loving relationship. But after he messes up, she agrees to help him to calm the wedding chaos. The shared mission brings the two closer together, prompting their engagement after the wedding.
2013: Robyn is pregnant and expecting a baby with her husband, Harper. Her water breaks shortly after Mia’s memorial service, Lance delivers the baby while they’re stuck in traffic, and Robyn and Harper decide to name their baby daughter after Mia.
Now: Robyn is now a chef and community activist as well as raising her and Harper’s daughter, Mia. Robyn worries that while Harper’s striving drives his success, it also means that he’s never happy with his life, achievements or family. She’s weighing up whether she and Harper still have a future together, or whether he’ll always see her as someone just cheering him from the sidelines.
Quentin Spivey (Terrence Howard)
1999: Free-spirited, witty and sly, Quentin the womaniser is at a loose end in his professional life and feeling bitter after reading Harper’s novel. He’s always the first to call out his friends’ hypocrisy, and he confronts Harper about keeping his hook-up with Mia a secret from Lance. Quentin catches the garter at the reception and winds up in bed the morning after with Shelby.
2013: Quentin is now a successful brand manager with hordes of celebrity clients and connections. When he finds out that Harper has only taken the deal for the biography because he’s in a desperate situation financially, he offers to take care of Harper’s debts as a favour. After Mia’s memorial, he and Shelby acknowledge that they are completely incompatible. Ten months after Mia’s memorial, Quentin phones Harper, Robyn and Lance to announce that he’s getting married.
Now: In 2015, Quenton’s engagement to self-absorbed actress, singer, model and entrepreneur Xiomara Amani (Nicole Ari Parker) was a tabloid sensation. Now it’s time for the wedding. And big business looms as Quentin’s rich dad Wellington (Ron Canada) is grooming him to take over the family business and build a legacy, starting with his San Pierre-based location, the Spivey Hotel. But Quentin’s friends pick up that he seems to have changed. Quentin proudly announces that he no longer smokes weed, and that he and Xiomara are going to live in Tibet after the wedding.
Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut)
1999: Lance, a professional American Football player, is renouncing his cheating, playboy past to marry his faithful girlfriend, Mia, at last. He believes that she’s never been with another man, and when he finds out that she hid a one-night-stand with Harper from him, he wants to call off their wedding. But after Quenton rubs his nose in his hypocrisy and Harper prays with him, Lance is reminded of how deep his love for Mia goes and the wedding is back on.
2013: Lance and Harper melt some of the tension between them during the Christmas party. But Lance feels deeply betrayed when he finds Harper’s journal and the mockup of the book cover for Harper’s unauthorised biography on him. With all the emotional upheaval, Lance performs poorly in the first half of his team’s big Christmas Day match, but a call from Mia gives him the confidence and clarity to play a record-breaking second half, and his team wins. He and the men hurry home the game in time to be with Mia as she dies.
Now: Lance is still grieving and between losing Mia and retiring from football, he’s taken to the hook-up lifestyle and avoiding his home and four children. He’s raising his and Mia’s kids – including LJ (Eric Scott Ways), who’s non-binary – but he feels isolated and he’s clearly really going through it. While he’s in no mood for Quentin’s wedding, his attitude changes when he meets Jasmine (Yvonna Pearson), the concierge at The Spivey.
Mia Sullivan (Monica Calhoun)
1999: The morning of the wedding, Mia is clueless about the ruckus her secret fling has caused, or that Harper’s book has now made it public knowledge. Her two bridesmaids, Robyn and Jordan, are also quietly fuming over their emotional upheaval with Harper, who seems to be playing them off against one another. Harper and Robyn manage to get the wedding back on track without Mia even knowing about the chaos behind the scenes.
2013: Mia invites the gang to celebrate Christmas with her and Lance at their house. But once again, she has a secret that she shares with Harper before telling Lance. Mia has received a terminal cancer diagnosis, and it’s partly what’s behind her being so insistent on reuniting Lance’s friends and knitting their group back together to secure a support group for Lance and their four kids. But when Mia collapses during a spa day with the ladies, Harper tells the whole group what’s really going on. Mia takes Lance aside, takes her wig off and makes him confront the reality of her coming death, and how important it’ll be for him to forgive while there’s still time. She gets her dying wish and a beautiful memorial service.
Julian “Murch” Murchison (Harold Perrineau)
1999: Laid-back lawyer Murch has always been the group gossip, but he’s exploring new sides of himself as a teacher. At the wedding he falls head over heels for one of the bachelor party strippers, Candy. Murch arrives at the wedding venue with Candy and breaks up with his bossy girlfriend, Shelby. Throughout the Best Man, Murch struggles with the standards and stereotypes of Black masculinity.
2013: Murch and Candy show up for Christmas with Lance and Mia as a married couple. They have two daughters together, and Murch and Candy own and run a prestigious school together. But just before Christmas, Murch’s main donor pulls out when he uncovers Candy’s past as a stripper. Murch finds a video online that shows Candy stripping and accepting money for sex work at a fraternity party, which he forwards to Quentin, leading to Candy walking out on Christmas with the kids, and Murch having to work on a serious apology.
Now: Murch and Candy have started a new school together, but Murch is feeling hard done by over Quentin picking Harper as his best man. He and Candy are raising two daughters together in a fantastic partnership. But as the only man in the house, Murch is yet again wrestling with a mid-life crisis over his masculinity.
Shelby Taylor (Melissa De Sousa)
1999: Larger and louder-than-life Shelby attends the wedding as Murch’s girlfriend, but his friends believe she’s walking all over him and won’t let him be himself. At the wedding, after being dumped by Murch, Shelby pushes a bridesmaid out of the way to catch Mia’s bouquet. She’s horrified to wake up in bed with Quentin the morning after the wedding.
2013: Shelby is on a Real Housewives franchise and has become a successful reality TV star. When she and Quentin accidentally switch phones, she finds the video that Murch sent him of Candy stripping. Believing that Murch is going to dump Candy, she makes a move on Murch but he turns her down. Following Mia’s memorial service, Shelby gives Murch $2 million for his and Candy’s school, with no strings attached.
Now: In 2015 Shelby goes viral when she throws a tantrum about the news of Quentin’s engagement during a live episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. Fast forward to 2023, and Shelby is now a single mom with a daughter named Kennedy. She goes digging at Jordan for information about Quentin’s upcoming wedding, determined to crash the party.
Candace “Candy” Sparks-Murchison (Regina Hall)
1999: Candy, a stripper, meets and falls in love with Murch at the bachelor party for Lance and Mia’s wedding.
2013: Candy and Murch, who’re now married with two daughters together, attend Lance and Mia’s Christmas party and we find out that she and Jordan are now best friends. Candy has left her stripping days behind and she’s the head of admissions at the school that she and Murch run together. But her past blows up in her face when a video surfaces of her stripping, and Murch makes things worse. Candy confronts Shelby for propositioning Murch, and she leaves the party with the kids after her dust up with Shelby turns into a cat fight.
2023: Candy is putting up with Murch’s best man obsession but it’s sticking in her teeth and she’s feeling neglected and slighted by his obsession with being a man.
Watch The Best Man: The Final Chapters on Showmax.
More fabulous friend groups
Also watch the following comedy and dramedy series about friend families going through life together.
- Blindspotting S1: A woman moves in with her baby-daddy’s family in Oakland, California, and gets to know them and his friends when he’s sent to prison in this comedy-drama. Also watch the Blindspotting movie, which predates the series. With Rafael Casal and Jasmine Cephas Jones.
- Adulting: A group of four guys in their 30s, who’ve been BFFs since university, navigate careers and dating at different ends of the wealth and class systems in Johannesburg. With Thembinkosi Mthembu, Nhlanhla Kunene, and Winnie Ntshaba.
- Unmarried S1-3: Each season of this romantic drama follows a group of three close female friends exploring modern life, careers, motherhood, marriage and love in Johannesburg. Season 1 and 2 centre on the same group who’re in their 30s, while Season 3 introduces a new group of friends who’re in their 20s and dealing with dating in the social age. Can they have it all? With Khanya Mkangisa, Thembisa Mdoda, and Renate Stuurman.
- Run the World S1: A group of fabulous Black female friends in their 30s bond over life and love in Harlem, New York City. With Amber Stevens West, Bresha Webb and Andrea Bordeaux.
- A Million Little Things S1-5: A suicide within a friend group prompts the friends to step in and help raise their dead friend’s children and support their spouse, while taking closer care of one another in this light family drama. With Grace Park, David Guintoli, and Ron Livingston.
- Grand Crew: A group of LA-based young Black professionals bond over the chaotic lives during get-togethers at their favourite wine bar. With Nicole Byer and Justin Cunningham.
- The L Word and The L Word: Generation Q S1-3: This light drama series and its revival take us inside the lives of LA-based women and their friends in the LGBTQIA+ community. With Jennifer Beals and Kate Moennig.
- Entourage S1-8: An up-and-coming actor, his agent, and his close group of male friends take on Hollywood’s excesses. With Adrian Grenier and Jeremy Piven.
- The Bold Type S1-5: This series inspired by the life of a former Cosmopolitan magazine editor centres on the lives of a team of three women working at a popular New York magazine. With Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, and Melora Hardin.
- The Sex Lives of College Girls S2: This sitcom follows a group of young women as they become best friends at university and compare notes about where they want to go in life, and all their romantic muddles. With Amrit Kauer, Pauline Chalamet, and Alyah Chanelle Scott.
- Still Breathing S1: A group of university friends who’ve drifted apart reunite in their 30s in Johannesburg following a tragedy and get entangled in one another’s lives and secrets. With Lorcia Cooper, Shannon Esra and Siv Ngesi.
- Looking S1-2: Three close male friends in different age groups share experiences looking for love in San Francisco’s gay scene, while dealing with their life stage challenges. With Jonathan Groff and Russell Tovey.
- Sex and the City S1-6: A group of four successful New York-based women share their professional and personal experiences and bond over their dating horror stories about New York men. Also watch the Sex and the City movie, and its follow-up, Sex and the City 2. With Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Chris Noth.
- Girls S1-6: A group of New York trust fund nepo babies take their first steps into the working world while navigating friendship and love in their early 20s. With Lena Dunham, Adam Driver and Allison Williams.
- Just Friends S1: This Nigerian sitcom centres on a man introducing his new girlfriend to his close-knit group of friends who’re all women he’s previously had relationships with. With Chy Nwakanma and Martha Ehinome.
- Camping S1: A hyper-organised woman’s plans are challenged and upset by surprise guests and unexpected tensions during a group camping trip in this comedy-drama. With Jennifer Garner, David Tennant and Juliette Lewis.
- It’s Complicated S1-2: a tight-knit group of seven friends navigate life, careers, family and love in Jozi. With Siyabonga Radebe, Atandwa Kani, and Samela Tyelbooi.
The Mommy Club - back and better!
Red Ink is now streaming
More Mzansi gold
Youngins Season 1 episodes 10-12 recap: Bloodshed
There’s a pregnancy and an abortion in the girls’ dorms, Khaya gets suspended, and his parents are called to a principal’s meeting in episodes 10-12 of Showmax Original Youngins.
20+ addictive South African reality shows to stream
Stream The Real Housewives of Durban, The Mommy Club, Sports Wives, Widows Unveiled and more of South Africa’s best reality shows on Showmax.
The Real Housewives of Durban S4: Zama gets put in the hot seat
In episode 4 of The Real Housewives of Durban S4, the ladies confront Zama during Jojo’s country-themed housewarming. New episodes every Wednesday on Showmax.
Cindy Swanepoel takes the cake in her first Showmax Original
Showmax Original Koek is an Afrikaans crime comedy about a Cape Town housewife who is inadvertently plunged into the criminal underworld.