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
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…
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.