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The best and worst of 2015 and Preview of 2016

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 12 Jan 2016
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Well it's been here for close to two weeks now, 2016/20-sweet-16 to some, and it promises a lot of goodies and razzies. The big screen and the idiot box have some promising stuff, whilst online Netflix and ShowMax are cooking for the local market, to make our entertainment world exciting.

So let's dig in on the best and worst from the year that gave us Avengers 2, Mad Max Fury Road and the year that saw Mzansi Magic dominate local Sunday TV like never before. After the recap of the year, I will give you my very biased take on what I think will be the best stuff to see and avoid in 2016.
Let's start here at home...
Best Local TV Drama


In 2015 we were spoilt for choice drama wise. There was Matatiele and Uzalo kept growing - although I’m not a big fan of telenovelas, one can't ignore how they’ve been welcomed by local audiences - just look at the ARs.

My winner for local drama may not have the production budget of The Road, nor the AR’s of Isibaya but I loved its Blaxploitation feel, relatively young and unknown cast and the fact that the guys behind the show are making stuff straight from SA's street culture /pop culture. My pick is Ya Lla, the first Sesotho drama on Mzansi Magic has something for everyone and you don’t have to be Sotho speaking to appreciate it.

I loved how it is a blend of genres such as western, Blaxploitation (in the vein of the American 60s and 70s film) and mafia gangster film which knows and is true to its SA nuances. The Quizzical guys have done well.

The great disappointment of 2015

The Road
It has the cast, it has the production company, it has the production budget but man the story is weak.  Whoever thought it was a smart idea to have the production element as a story sub plot was too smart for their own good.

Our folks still believe that tv is ''real'' and The Road wants them to invest in a world inside a world. It did not help that not all the cast could actually sell the Sophiatown lingo although they did look the part and admittedly the Sophiatown era was the strongest thing about it. I guess one day some film school kids will appreciate it but at the moment The Road is testament of being too high on your own supply.

Bomb is a brilliant production house but they went too meta too quickly. Trying to pull a 44 rock on us whilst folks are still coming to terms with the Pure Monate Show. A case of it could have, should have ….
Best Reality/Actuality show

For the second year running for me, Our Perfect Wedding still takes the cake. I may not be a big fan but this show consistently knows how to dominate Monday morning water cooler conversation - if it's not a paedophile/statuary rape groom, it's grooms who disappear at the altar 'cause of money or brides who are in way over their heads.

Although there was stiff competition from Date Our Family, Utatakho and the likes, OPW with its changing host sagas, knows how to keep the audience coming back.
The disappointment: You got got

You know, if your show reminds people of Leon Schuster… and not even the Leon Schuster of the apartheid years when we did not know better but the Leon Schuster of Mama Jack and Payback the money era, you know things are bad… unfortunately Tall Ass Mo's show was at that level. Maybe the cool rich kids of the northern suburbs who were desperate for their own Ashton Kutcher show were happy…


Honorary mention: Survivor - this grand pa needs to be put to sleep, aside from it being broadcast so late and some twitter lunatics hell bent on spoiling stuff on twitter. Show is running out of steam.
Best International Drama

2015 saw us get more of Empire, the return of Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul, the brilliant adaptation of Fargo and a lesson in how to do a follow up when doing an anthology series with Fargo Season 2 (we are looking at you True Detective 2).

We saw Pablo Escobar's life be redone superbly by Netflix in Narcos, Orci proved me and many wrong with the Leftovers season 2 (Season 1 was now fluke), Orange is the New Black proved that Jenji Kohan is the queen of black comedy, the Brits proved they can still write riveting dramas with Broadchurch… if you had any doubt that TV is going through a great resurgence any of those could have taken the crown.

Then there was Viola Davis and How to Get Away with Murder - talk about nail biting entertainment and I haven’t even mentioned Game of Thrones or even Outlander or even The Walking Dead. In 2015 we were spoiled for choice, the great phase that tv has been going through over the past two years keeps giving.
Best Superhero TV show

I loved The Flash Season 1 - it was fresh, warm and fuzzy when it came through. Season 2 is like The Empire Strikes Back - a cool balance between “the dark elements” and the light hearted stuff and the first block of Season 2 cemented it’s A grade status in my book.

Although 2015 brought a lot of competition, Agents of Shield has sharpened its storytelling skills over the year and Arrow is becoming more and more interesting but the two shows that will no doubt dethrone Flash as the king and queen of the superhero subgenre are DareDevil and Jessica Jones.

Netflix did what Kevin Fiege has been preventing Marvel from doing in cinemas - they give us great adult themed superhero stories which don’t rely on being “light” to coast through half baked plots. DareDevil and Jessica Jones show what can happen when people take the material seriously and throw the age restriction in your face.

If you haven’t seen Jessica Jones or Daredevil Season 1, you missing out big time…seriously, Season 2 of Daredevil features the Punisher and word is, it's brilliant.

Best SA film

In 2015 we saw Tell Me Sweet Something pull in the lovers and the ladies into the cinema. We also saw the heart warming tale of Ayanda - Sarah Blecher and Terry Pheto really gave us something special in Ayanda but it’s the northern kids who did good in 2015 with Necktie Youth.

It may not be everyone's reality but it is an important film that captures a feeling, time period and a way of life of the rich kids in an uncompromising way. Sibs Shongwe-la Mer’s film is a tour of force, a cult classic that will grow more and more iconic with time. My pick of the best SA film of 2015 Necktie Youth from the 23-year-old Sibs.
Best international film

In the year where Bond and Ethan Hunt had the exact same plot but MI5 was way more enjoyable than the follow up to Skyfall, where we had the return of Star Wars to our big screen in a very light but overly zealous homage to the original trilogy that left us waiting for the story of this new trilogy to start, we had Mad Max Fury Road.

This film was a visual masterpiece. It had stunts on fleek, a strong female protagonist who did not come across as a guy, it had fun and no pretentions of being anything more than what it shows us.

Mad Max Fury Road with its R-rating showed the Avengers and Fast and Furious franchise, by an old man in his 70s, what an action movie really is when its not aimed at the 12-year-old market. Yes, there were more meaningful films out there but Fury Road was the best fun one has had in the cinema with clothes on.

So what is there to look forward to in the year 2016?

I say Leonard DiCaprio finally getting an Oscar for his role in The Revenant (Yeah, I'm putting my head on the bloc on that one). Also,, we finally get to watch Superman vs Batman in March (stay away from the trailers moving forward), then there’s Captain America that actually looks very intriguing - crossing fingers that the actual film is not as undercooked as the Avengers movie that can stand repeat watching. 

On the internet ShowMax and Netflix competition should be very interesting - what sort of new value proposition will these guys add to draw the local audience? We love local content so interested in seeing what original local content Netflix and ShowMax will give us in 2016.

Then we also see the return of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, The Walking Dead just to mention a few. 2016 is going to be hot but I have a feeling we might also see the start of the decline of the popularity of superhero films cause like Bond and Mission Impossible because they all starting to look and sound the same and it's getting a bit dull.
So that’s my recap... share your thoughts and let me know what where your highlights and what were you looking forward to.

Channels in this post: Mzansi Magic, SABC1, SABC3


12 Jan 2016 11:08

Leo must take that illusive Oscar this year!! I don't care if he gets a sympathy nod from the Academy, they must just give him that Oscar already! I look forward to watching The Revenant, particularly now that hes not collaborating with Martin Scorsese. I always enjoy his performances. 

I must give True Detective season 1 another chance.  I just couldn't get past the second episode, it was just too slow for me. True Detective season 2 however I finished in 2 seatings.  I loved Rachel McAdams in this series.  I must go back to season 1, I know people have different tastes but so many people can't all be wrong about something coz all the critics say season 1 was the better one.

12 Jan 2016 11:26

So many good series came out last year and it sounds like theres still a lot that I need to watch.  My top 5 from the ones I've seen are:  Homeland, The Blacklist, How To Get Away With Murder, The Affair & Suits(+their wardrobe). Bubbling under is Tommy from Power (LOL!). 
My disappointments from last year:  Game of Thrones (5), House of Cards(3), Scandal/The Fixer(5.1) (especially).

I look foward to watching for the first time this year:  Mr Robot, American Crime, The Americans, Narcos & Billions (its new).

tha - bang
12 Jan 2016 12:33

Hey Timone

No True Detective season 1 was better than season 2 for me, but season one is slow but by episode 4 , once you settled into its rhythm ,it really shows you stuff. With season 2 i loved Colin Firth and Rachel McAdams but ,the plot was too intricate and pay off was not as satisfying.

I guess its testament to the level of great tv that we getting that i havent even touched on Mr Robot which was an intriguing show. Why were you disappointed with GoT season 5 though?

12 Jan 2016 13:47

Not much was happening in GOT 5, or not enough was happening for me.  There was hardly any movement for Daenerys, she spent the whole season in one place, will she ever get to King's Landing?!
Arya Stark: what was she actually doing the entire season?  to only go blind in the end? I feel they should have left her out entirely last season and rather shown her brother/s in the woods whom we didnt see at all.
Yeah we get it that Ramsay is a saddistic bastard, there was just too much focus on how cruel he can be (to Theon and Sansa) than developing the story.  GOT 5 for me was stuck for most part of the season, real action came towards the end of the season with the invasion of the White Walkers, now that was truly gripping stuff!  The Night Watch story used to be the most uninteresting part of GOT for me but in season 5 they had the most interesting storyline.  Don't get me started on that religious sect that imprisoned Cersei! Tyrion Lannister kept me entertained though, love him!

tha - bang
12 Jan 2016 15:26

aight Timone i hear you, the guys did try to speed up the plot a lot, a thing most book readers are not happy with but we will see in April where it all leads cause for the first time ever the series is ahead on the we are allclueless ,expect for one or two things to do with bran

Bongani Talks
13 Jan 2016 00:14

I totally agree with you Timone. Half of Season 5 of Game of Thrones was not good at. Things started picking slowly from episode 6. But there are so many things that I'm looking forward to this coming season. Will Cersei avenge herself after that Walk of Shame, Arya's blindness, Jon Snow, Theo & Sansa's escape...wait...Is Daenerys kidnapped really? And the promo trailers look very good. Bran Stark is coming back!! :) if you're holding thumbs and hoping that Daenerys will make her way to King's Landing, you'll have to wait few more seasons. I have a feeling that it will happen around Season 8 or 9. If not 10. Lol I'm glad that I'm the only one who's into series. In fact, please check my blog out -----> I talk about few of them there. Scandal, Suits, The Originals, Power, HTGAWM, Empire (the show is trash!), Game of Thrones, Quantico. My writing is good too. :-) :-) How to Get Away With Murder Season 2was good. Which reminds me, DSTV began airing episode 1 of this season on Monday at 9pm (Vuzu-Amp)

tha - bang
13 Jan 2016 08:19

cool will do

13 Jan 2016 12:23

Cool Bongani I'll definitely check out your blog!
Oh ja I saw the HTGAWM 2 promo, I've got 9 episodes of it but have yet to watch.
Quantico:  I'm left with about 4 episode of it on my PVR I'm sure its finished now so will also catch up with that soon,  eish December was hectic. Maybe I should first watch these episodes on both series before visiting your blog incase of spoilers
I also look forward to the return of GAT, after reading yours and Thabang's comments above. Maybe they should consider adding another 5 episode to their seasons to make them 15 episode-seasons going forward and to keep things moving! :-)

tha - bang
14 Jan 2016 09:14

the producers want to call it quit by season 8 which i think is a good thing, you look at cool shows like Lost that become tedious towards the last seasons. 

14 Jan 2016 19:08

higuys, may you please sent me any series/movie ka kopo tlhe. thank you in advance. thank you Thabang for the review, love your movie reviews

tha - bang
18 Jan 2016 14:53

ta Mantoa_M hope the guys can help you on your other requestlaugh

18 Jan 2016 15:52

Thabang you (and everyone else) were so right about True Detective 1, OMG I nearly missed out on such a good thing!! I had to stop at episode 5 coz it turned out I was missing episode 6 but I'm sorted now and will continue tonight!  I didn't want to skip to 7 as I don't want to miss a thing! The acting is out of this world, one of the aspects I enjoy most about the show are the interactions between the two detectives.  It brakes my hear though to see Rust in present day (2012).  He looks just as miserable as he did back in 1995 (if not worse) and that he will never find peace and happiness. Matthew McConaughey even resembles his character on Dallas Buyers Club in present day, that's how terrible he looks.  Anyway I look forward to the reamining 3 episodes and the twists and turns in the plot!

18 Jan 2016 15:55

@ Mantoa_M, I will try, I didn't know a person could e-mail a whole series.  Which series are you looking for?

tha - bang
19 Jan 2016 09:27

@Timone well lets chat when you done with season 1,dont want to spoil anything

19 Jan 2016 10:07

Great list Thabang! For me the best movies of 2015 were Star Wars and The Kingsman. Mad Max was beautifully made but for  me a bit hollow. Best series (I don't watch too many) - How to get Away with Murder,the Affair and yes Game of Thrones still was really exciting for me (bubbling under : The Leftovers). As far as superhero genre goes have yet to watch the Netflix Dardevil/Jessica Jones series. I thought Agent Carter was the best super hero related series. Gotham and the Flash were a mixed bag - Supergirl I'd say is on par with them. Constantine was disappointing. 

19 Jan 2016 12:14

Cool Thabang! I'm only left with the finale now and I dont want the series to end!  
I see Billions the series is starting today, I'll wait for a few episodes to accumulate, I hope it won't disappoint.

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Thabang Phetla loves movies,
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