County 49 and more political thrillers to stream
Showmax packs a political punch with thrilling drama series – and some real-life sagas.
Bwatele is Kenya’s fictional 49th county and one that is hugely important to the country because it’s one of the biggest economic centres… for those who’re in power. If you have little to nothing in your purse, you’re on your own. The cost of living has spiralled out of control, which means access to resources is restricted to those who have money.
And the only way to get money is to be involved with government officials – under the table. Tender trickery is the ticket as people swindle their way into ministers’ inner circles to get access to lucrative contracts and power. And we all know what they say about power and corruption: absolute power corrupts absolutely…
Before Trump, Jeff Daniels sharpened his wit in this three-season political drama series, set at the fictional ACN TV news channel. He plays political analyst and news anchor Will McAvoy, who knows exactly how to tell a story. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of current affairs, politics and history, Will is able to challenge experts on just about any topic.
The trouble for Will starts when he’s speaking at a local college and is asked “What makes America great?” (a prescient nod to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan). Instead of adopting his usual neutral stance, Will tells his audience that America is, in fact, not great anymore, which creates outrage, furore and pearl clutching.
What makes the 25 episodes utterly addictive is that aside from the political talk (and there’s lots), the series explores the human lives of TV’s talking heads as Will and his colleagues at ACN try to survive the messy clash between their personal and professional lives. There’s also a glorious look into the workings of a newsroom, from breaking news in social media (like the Boston Marathon bombings), to pitching news stories during a team meeting, in this heavily underrated series.
This local drama series follows South Africa’s first female president, the no-nonsense, straight-shooting Lufuno Zandile Mulaudzi (Florence Masebe). She’s not just making history as a woman president; she’s determined to clean up her government as well as the country she’s leading. But like any politician, Madam President is up against the wall as she takes one step forward and three steps back. She has to deal with everything from crooked tender deals, to backstabbing ministers and rampant crime.
But that’s not going to get her down. If anything, this drama series is inspirational and aspirational – people should be inspired to do good and fight for what’s right in this world, but at the same time we shouldn’t let anyone hold us back from achieving our dreams.
Also look out for big-name local stars on the cast like Seputla Sebogodi, Hlomla Dandala as the Vice President, Clementine Mosimane (from the Black Panther superhero Marvel movies), with Warren Masemola and Siyabonga Twala.
We Own This City
Jon Bernthal gives a powerhouse performance in this miniseries based on reporter Justin Fenton’s non-fiction book of the same name. He plays Sergeant Wayne Jenkins from the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force… who also happens to be the main figure being investigated for fraud and corruption. It’s a dark, intense look into the world of organised crime and how it can infiltrate (and corrupt) those who’re sworn to protect society.
It’s set in 2015 and starts with a task force getting info about a drug dealer they’ve been looking for. But when they get to his apartment, someone else from law enforcement has beaten them there – but why? It has something to do with police connections, cops being on the take and turning a blind eye to illegal behaviour… and possibly worse. Flashbacks reveal Jenkins’s intro to both his profession as a cop, and how he was bought off by criminals, culminating with his arrest and conviction alongside eight of his fellow officers. Fans of The Wire will love this show, which was produced by the same team behind the long-running HBO hit series, also set in Baltimore.