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The TV Snitch: AHS, Pilot Season, Vat & Sit and SA Channels

Buhle Mbonambi talks the good, the bad and the interesting on our TV screens

American Horror Story: Carnival? 

The setting for the next season of American Horror Story, has been revealed after AHS writer and co-executive producer, Douglas Petrie, let slip that the fourth season will be set in a carnival. While it doesn’t have a title yet, we know three things about the next season: that it’s set in the 50s, in a carnival and the lead actress, Jessica Lange, is learning to speak German. I’m looking forward to it, especially since I don’t like carnivals and circuses and this could mean someone is finally writing really scary, horrific stories about creepy clowns. Now that scares me even more. And with Lange likely to be the ring mistress, it’s going to be a crazy season. 

TV Pilot Season boasts Oscar worthy stars

This year’s pilot season has seen more movie stars move to TV. Not that it’s surprising – TV is really where it’s at now. Whether it’s a mini-series, a drama or a high brow comedy, TV is now becoming a medium where actors get to play roles where their range is seen to its full potential and this includes Oscar winners and nominees. Two-time Oscar nominee, Viola Davis has signed on to star in Shonda Rhime’s How to Get Away With Murder. Halle Berry is starring in Steven Spielberg’s Extant; Octavia Spencer is starring in another Spielberg production, Red Band Society, while Julia Roberts has a role on Ryan Murphy’s HBO TV movie Normal Heart. Besides Spielberg, Lee Daniels is also directing and producing a TV series, Empire, starring Oscar nominee, Gabourey Sidibe. David O Russell, who directed American Hustle, was also involved in a TV series, The Club, starring Callie Hernandez and Chris Conroy, but pulled out a few weeks ago. 

More shows with interesting premises are getting the green light and TV can only be richer. It’s the golden age of TV and it’s great to see it go back to the glory of the 90s. As Cougar Town and Scrubs creator told Vulture last week: “My hope is that TV becomes more and more about quality, and less about an arbitrary ratings system.”

e.TV’s new comedy: Vat & Sit
Shacking up is always an interesting thing to me. Why do people do it? Why do you live like a married couple, but you aren’t married? I guess I’m a prude. Anyway, since it’s such a common occurrence around the world, especially in South Africa where lobola negotiations can take many years, e.tv has decided to air a comedy about shacking up. Titled Vat & Sit, the comedy will air from April 16 on eKasi+ and e.tv. It stars Liopelo Maphathe and Trevor Gumbi as lovers who move in together. She’s royalty and he’s a loser and he moves in to stay in her garage. I was invited to visit the set and was able to watch one scene being shot. For 20 minutes we watched as Liopelo and Trevor (as Mpho and Themba) act out an awkward shower scene, but sadly we got thrown out by the assistant director because we made the actors uncomfortable. While I can empathise (they were virtually half naked), surely they knew we were coming and could have chosen a better scene, one where they are not nearly naked? Anyway, judging from that scene, I don’t know if it’s going to be a great show. While Liopelo and Trevor are proven comedy actors, Black Brain Pictures, who are producing the show, haven’t had great form lately, with their last production being the terrible Ses’Top La. But we can only hope that it’s a solid production.

A Short Open Letter to SA Channels
It’s nearly a year since the excellent dramas, Orange Is the New Black and Orphan Black were seen on American TV screens and it’s ridiculous that local channels still haven’t acquired them. Orange is a Netflix drama, while Orphan is a BBC America sci-fi drama. Both these shows are excellent and made the Top 10 lists of last year’s best shows for many critics, including the SMtv team. Even with us suggesting to the channels that they need to acquire these shows, they haven’t. Instead, they acquire bad shows like Sean Saves the World and The Michael J Fox Show, both of which were cancelled. So if you can, get on to YouTube or Netflix and stream these two shows. They are excellent and the new seasons will be back in a few weeks. 

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