NEW SOAPIE HAS ITS WORK CUT OUT

CityPress - - Opportunity index - SABC1 Week­days, 6.30pm

Skeem Saam

As the bat­tle for eye­balls heats up be­tween the var­i­ous broad­cast­ers, view­ers are spoiled for choice. As part of its strate­gic brand repo­si­tion­ing, SABC1 has en­tered into the hotly con­tested and lu­cra­tive week­day 6.30pm soapie slot, which has been dom­i­nated by e.tv since the days of Back­stage and to­day’s Rhythm City.

SABC1 has rein­car­nated its youth drama Skeem Saam as a soapie in the ilk of e.tv’s pro­duc­tions; and now, af­ter a few weeks of watch­ing, it’s time to take stock.

The new soapie is pro­duced by Win­nie Serite – that on its own de­serves ap­plause as black fe­male pro­duc­ers rarely get a chance to shine.

In ad­di­tion, it is writ­ten by black writ­ers who know and live the lives they are writ­ing about. It makes the show more au­then­tic.

What sets Skeem Saam apart from the com­pe­ti­tion is its lo­ca­tion shoots, and although they might not have mul­ti­ple cliffhang­ers to keep me at the edge of my seat, the sto­ry­lines are de­cent enough and have some funny moments to be trea­sured. On the down­side, the show comes across as tar­geted specif­i­cally at the Polok­wane mar­ket. The nu­ances and in-jokes are very re­gional. The show is not as hard-hit­ting as its com­pe­ti­tion. Young view­ers want gritty sto­ry­lines, not soft, rosy ones.

Rhythm City fights fe­ro­ciously for its piece of the 6.30pm pie. Its pro­duc­ers won’t sim­ply roll over and let a new show take over. If Skeem Saam is to stand a fight­ing chance, it will have to do more in mar­ket­ing and brand vis­i­bil­ity. At this stage they are not do­ing enough to be no­ticed. – Les­ley Mofokeng

IN CA­HOOTS

The ac­tors of Skeem Saam

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