Tune in to 2016

TV ex­pert Thi­nus Fer­reira un­packs the trends of the new year

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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.

En­ter Net­flix

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.

Fi­nally, DTT?

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.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

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

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