Tune in to 2016
TV expert Thinus Ferreira unpacks the trends of the new year
Couch potatoes need to strap in and hold on: 2016 is going to be a bumpy, bumper ride.
New local shows
No release dates have been revealed, but we’re starting to get word of some new home-grown telly.
MTV Base (DStv channel 322) will launch a daily news show covering pop culture and discussing news events in South Africa and Africa. Also look out for local versions of Lip Sync Battle and the clip show Ridiculousness.
The Sony Channel (DStv channel 127) will kick off Gogglebox – its first local production. South African viewers will be seen on their couches watching TV and talking about the shows on the box.
Free-to-air channel e.tv will launch a new telenovela set in rural KwaZulu-Natal to compete directly with the second season of Uzalo on SABC1. The year might also see the start of SABC2’s long-delayed entry into the telenovela market. Besides that, e.tv has renewed Ashes to Ashes (back from March), Umlilo (March) and Z’bondiwe (May), and has grabbed the rights to the first two seasons of Empire (starting February 3).
In May, local drama Jongo will start on e.tv. Africa’s first TV superhero, Eli King (Pacou Mutombo), gains superpowers after touching an alien crystal at the Cradle of Humankind.
We should also be glued to the first season of The Voice SA on M-Net.
And streaming services ShowMax and ONTAPtv.com both promise exclusive new local content this year.
There’s big buzz around the launch of global streaming service Netflix in South Africa, but word is that it will start with a decent offering – though not a great one. With M-Net and ShowMax having already secured a lot – and we mean a lot – of the most popular shows, even some of Netflix’s own productions, such as House of Cards, won’t be on Netflix.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) will finally happen in 2016 – or did we say the same thing at the start of last year? In 2015, South Africa missed the international deadline to complete the process of migrating from analogue (TV as we get it now, with just an aerial) to digital (via a decoder).
The poorly managed process will no doubt stutter into life like a cold car. Expect scandals and shockers around DTT in 2016 similar to Gauteng’s e-tolling situation, especially as thousands of South Africans simply get cut off because they don’t have an SABC TV licence and are not eligible for a governmentsubsidised set-top box. The transition will have a major impact on TV channels, advertisers and viewership figures. Under DTT, the SABC will most likely continue with its five existing channels, e.tv will probably launch 11 new channels and M-Net will possibly add another nine.
TV’s anniversary year
In 2016, the SABC’s TV service turns 40. Instead of celebrating this milestone with great and appropriate content for viewers, we’ll probably continue to get very little quality TV – and more utterances from the controversial and apparently indestructible boss of Fawlty Towers, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, as he heads to the Constitutional Court to save his job.
Speaking of anniversaries, October will bring the 30th anniversary of M-Net, and a big celebration is expected.
Pop-ups and reboots
Get ready for a lot more limited-time, pop-up pay TV channels along the lines of what M-Net Movies and DStv did with Star Wars in 2015. Perhaps a month-long Star Trek channel in August for that show’s 50th anniversary and the launch of a new series of Star Trek?
Speaking of a new-old series, 2016 will be the year of the reboot. Viewers will be able to watch fresh seasons of old favourites such as Full House, The XFiles, Gilmore Girls, Twin Peaks, The A-Team, Ben 10, DuckTales, Fame, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hart to Hart, MacGyver and many more.
Besides these, 2016 will deliver an avalanche of new international series. Some of the more exciting include Legends of Tomorrow, The Shannara Chronicles, Billions and the BBC’s new Top Gear. And we will watch the Olympics in August on several channels.
Once again in 2016, we will complain about too many repeats, but we’ll also have more on offer than before.
TOUGH COOKIE e.tv has secured the rights to the first two seasons of the hit US show Empire
GREAT TREK Trekkies will be pleased to know there’ll be a new TV show this year