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26.5.15

@etv's #Umlilo Season One: A Postmortem

Cebisile, Mnqobi, Khwezi, Dumile and Andile Simelane
Umlilo ended last night. Depending on who you ask, it either ended with a bang or a whimper. Either way, it had our attention from the first to the last episode. 

The thing with finales is that not everyone will be happy with them. For a high octane drama like Umlilo, most of us wished for a dramatic, "OMG did this just happen???" ending, rather than an ending that may set up the show for a new season. And it's not Umlilo alone that has people pissed about finales. It's a global 'issue'. 

A couple of shows ended these past two TV seasons. Mad Men, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and Justified, to name just a few. Many people were not happy with how the shows ended. The many think pieces arising from 'neat' endings of these shows, the Twitter meltdowns and the various debates, exhausted us all. And that's the thing.  We all get emotionally invested in these TV characters. They are 'real' to us. We have a relationship with them. So when the unexpected ending happens, especially for dramas that have created an expectation that they would end in a particular way, people feel cheated. They feel robbed of their 'intelligence' of rightly guessing how the show would end. 

Take the Mad Men ending. The title sequence shows a man falling down a high rise building in New York City. Everyone assumed that it was Don Draper was going to be the one who will fall down the building when the show ended. But it wasn't to be. It was a metaphor of the fall of Sterling Cooper and another metaphorical fall of the main character. So as to not spoil the finale for everyone, I'll leave it there- but if you watched the show, you would know what it is I'm saying. 

People were mad that Walter White ended up dying on Breaking Bad, even though we knew he was terminally ill and was going to die anyway. They wanted him to live forever. 

So Umlilo: Many of us expected an explosively dramatic ending, one that will set up the show for the second season. Even I expected the confrontation of all confrontations between Khwezi and Dumile. Instead it was subtle, menacing, psychotic and revealing. Khwezi, coldly, acknowledged Dumile's efforts to reveal that she, Khwezi, was a fraud. But ever the competent fraud, Khwezi had another trick up her sleeve, something that shut Dumile up: she had an ultrasound scan of Dumile's baby and how she aborted it without Mnqobi finding out. It was end game for Dumile- she knew Mnqobi would lose it. 

But what people are missing is: would there be a need for a second season if Mnqobi found out that Khwezi was a fraud- that she was Kumkani's daughter seeking revenge (see post here about Umlilo's similarities with Revenge) for the murder of her father and her family. The show would have been over. So as much as the show ended with a 'whimper' it actually does set it up for a second season- one where Dumile will also be hiding something from Mnqobi, while trying to out Khwezi as a fraud. The big reveal about Dumile hiding her pregnancy from Mnqobi, will obviously be a huge story line and done properly, it may just be as explosive as Khwezi's secret.  See the Victoria Grayson and Emily Thorne inspiration

I'm not mad that the show ended the way it did. It proved that sometimes it's okay for a show to not have a crazy ending. That crazy ending would make it difficult to resume the show in a way that would bring viewers back. While Umlilo stands the chance of losing the viewers it gained, there's an even greater chance that come the 10th August 2015 at 9pm, there will be people tuning in to see how the second season starts.

And I will be one of them. 

25.5.15

#Umlilo finale: What We Are Expecting Tonight #WhoIsKhwezi tune in on @etv at 9pm


e.tv's Umlilo started with a bang. I still remember getting the screener a week before the show aired and I just couldn't sit still. Here was television that I had always been dreaming of: high quality, edge of your set kind of goodness. And man, it was so good. The mystery surrounding Mnqobi and his wives, his new fiancĂ©'s underhanded dealings and mystery, the relationship between his daughter and his business partner, it has kept us on the edge of our seats and we are not complaining. 

At the start of the Quizzical Pictures produced drama, we were introduced to each character and the dynamics of ever so interesting set up of a polygamous home. Polygamy is such a touchy, yet very taboo topic in South Africa and the way that we are all so interested in it, but are afraid to ask the questions. How the producers and their team of researchers and writers wrote the story, is honestly the best in years- they gave us drama, without disrespecting their viewers. 

So now that the first season (yes, it got renewed) is ending tonight, this is what we want to know. 


Who Is Khwezi?
We have known all season long that Khwezi is not Khwezi. She's a 'Catfish' as coo kids these days call people with fake personas. We know nothing about her, except that she has some history with Mnqobi's family and she wants to avenge her parents and her family. We know she has an 'uncle' who is helping her with this. We know she would do anything to make sure that she brings down the family- but at what cost? Most importantly, WHO IS KHWEZI??? 

What Will Dumile Find Out?
The last episode, Spikiri found the real Khwezi Mbatha- an unassuming, village girl, but at the end of the episode, her mother denied her existence. Even though she knows that Spikiri has pictures, with proof that her daughter is the real Khwezi. So will Dumile and Spikiri manage to get the truth out of the real Khwezi and her mother? 


Will the wedding take place?
I think, besides finding the truth about Faux Khwezi, we all want to know whether the wedding goes on as planned. Will it? It should. It will set us up for some delicious drama for next season. 

Will Cebisile finally remember where she knows 'Khwezi' from?
I sure hope so. But at the end, when Mnqobi and Khwezi have said their 'I Do's'... That's if they will say their vows. Cebisile has been having flashbacks about that big fire... What actually happened? Will Cebisile finally remember? And will she finally realise who Khwezi is and how she fits into this whole story? 

Andile and TK?
Their story line has been rather bleh- either the writers are lax when it comes to these two, but their secondary story line has been just that- secondary. But let's hope things come to a head for them and Andile finally admits to her father that she has the feels for TK and who is he to judge, especially since he has a harem of women at home? 


Will Mnqobi and Khwezi's Uncle finally meet?
How awesome will it be if Khwezi is walked down the aisle by her scheming uncle? And then watching Mnqobi's face fall as he remembers him and then realises that his dear second wife, Dumile, has been right all this time? 

Who Is The Villain In The Story?
This has bothered me about the show. See, Umlilo reminds me of Revenge. Khwezi is Emily Thorne. Dumile is Victoria Grayson. Mnqobi is Conrad Grayson. Khwezi's uncle is Nolan Ross, as is Spikiri. 
So, if I take the Revenge story line and apply it to Umlilo, I think Khwezi is actually the innocent person out to avenge her family and whatever happened in the families' history. Will I be proven right? 


And finally, will there be a fire and will someone die?
Someone HAS to die. I mean, come on. There has to be some collateral damage, otherwise, what is the point of it all? Will it be a fire? Will someone be shot (FIRED at)? There's so much that the Umlilo team can end the show with on a high and leave us salivating for the second season. Speaking of the second season...

Umlilo returns for Season 2 on 10 August 2015. 
Yes, I can confirm that the show IS coming back in less than three months, which is amazing. We normally have to wait years for a second season and kudos to e.tv for making sure that they don't lose the audience they have gained from the show being aired. 

So, excited yet? We'll be tweeting, live on @SM_Magazine, @SMtv_Guide and I'll also be on my Twitter- @Buhlebonga, during the episode. 

I. Can't. Wait!!! 

From Kimmel to Conan: How television’s fraternity of late-night hosts honoured David #Letterman

 


David Letterman concluded his reign as dean of late-night television Wednesday night, and his peers across the networks (even cable!) all pitched in with tributes on their respective shows.
Jimmy Kimmel
Kimmel couldn’t stop himself from getting weepy as he described watching Letterman in his bedroom as a teenager. He was so impressed with him that he would host midnight-viewing parties and confessed to drawing sketches of Letterman in his school notebooks. Even his birthday cake and car license plates were celebrations of “Late Night.”
“Even though it looked like every other talk show, it wasn’t,” Kimmel said. “It was totally original, primarily because the host of the show, who, a lot of the time seemed embarrassed to even be there — he did not seem like he was a part of show business — was uncomfortable.”
Later, he choked up again. “The reason I have this show is because the executives at ABC saw me when I was a guest on his show and hired me to host this show.”

 Read More Here

#MTVMAMA15: @Buhlebonga chats to @AlexOkosi about the #MTVMAMA15




I was right. In my last column I wrote that the MTV Africa Music Awards were coming back to Durban; and last Thursday the senior vice-president and managing director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa, Alex Okosi, confirmed they would be held on Saturday, July 18. I spoke to him this week. 
The awards were a highlight for many last year – were you, as MTVBase, happy with them and the whole production?
We were excited about the awards and happy that they were a success. Not only for us, but for the publicity and exposure that Durban received from the global media we had in attendance and the awards being shown around the world. We were happy at how Durbanites embraced the awards and the activities around them. We believe we contributed in making 2014 a successful year for Durban. 
What do you look for in a host city?
Can the city stage a world class event? Does it have a music culture? Will it be able to showcase the beauty of the continent to the world? Do they have the vision to take the continent to another level? It's those things. 
What placed Durban on your list of cities to host the awards again?
It ticked all the boxes. It has the perfect venue with the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, the music scene is one of the most vibrant in the country, has a thriving tourism sector and has the right infrastructure to handle an event as major as the MTV Africa Music Awards. 

FROM LEFT SVP of Viacom Africa, ALEX Okosi, MTV BASE presenter Nomuzi Mabena , DJ CNDO and MTVbase creative director, Tim Horward at the ICC at the eve of the MTV Mamas, last year. picture: Siyanda Mayeza
Last year was a big year for African artists, especially those in hip hop – will we see a large hip hop influence this year?
Definitely. Hip hop continues to be one of the strongest genres in music and the MTVbase and MTV audience are huge fans. Hip Hop on the continent has grown – the standard of music being released and the videos. Artists on the continent are collaborating more often, which is what we have always wanted. So the awards should and will definitely reflect that. 
And the host? Have you decided who it will be?
Ah man, it’s too early to reveal. We want to keep people guessing. We will let you know in due time. 
What about Trevor Noah? He’s to host The Today Show on Comedy Central, which is your sister channel. It’s his continent and he could treat it as his “farewell tour” before he joins The Today Show. 
That would be cool. He’s one of the people we would only dream of having on our stage at the Mamas. He is a great ambassador for the continent. Our theme this year is Africa Re-Imagined and he’s that. Who would ever have guessed that he would be hosting one of the most popular late-night talkers? 
Will there be US/UK artists performing, or will it be strictly African?
Our audience enjoys international music too, so without a doubt. We also need to remember that these are global awards with viewers all over the world, so anything that will help them tune in, why not? 
What will make the Mamas different this year? 
The channel is celebrating its 10th year, so we are doing things differently. There are new acts that weren’t in the industry last year. If last year was great, then this year will be on another level. We are pushing ourselves and pushing boundaries to make this year the best yet.

MAMA MTV Africa Awards Launch at Maharani Hotel, which will be helled in KZN in July. From Left is Danger Big Nuz, Dj Tira and Caspper Nyoves. Picture by: Sibonelo Ngcobo

8.5.15

Season 8 of @StrictlySA on @SABC3 to start in 28 days time...

I guess it's final. There is going to be a new season of SABC 3's popular Strictly Come Dancing. Now who the contestants will be, we don't know, but with SABC 3's target being younger viewers, it's sure going to be some of the coolest and trendiest celebrities in the country. I also wish it's an All Stars edition of the show. That would be great! 

The weird thing about SA's Strictly, is how its contestants are mainly SA's current crop of famous young things. Unlike the UK and US, where most of the contestants are stars whose hey day has long come and gone, our version is another platform for starlets and those rising stars, to raise their profiles. 

We are so looking forward to it! 

7.5.15

2015 Critics Choice TV Awards Nominees

The nominees for the 2015 Critics Choice TV Awards were released recently and it gives us great pleasure to note that Taraji P. Henson has been nominated for her amazing portrayal of Cookie Lyon on Empire. This nomination marks the start of the new TV season, with the TCA's happening in a few weeks and the Emmy nominations being announced in months to come. New shows and new seasons of shows are also being shot and made ready for September premieres. 


Other notable nominees include HBO shows like Girls, Silicon Valley, Olive Kitteridge and of course, Game of Thrones. HBO got a total of 27 nominees and was followed by FX with 16. 

Here are the nominees of the awards, which will be awarded on Sunday, May 31. 

Drama Categories


BEST DRAMA SERIES
The Americans (FX)
Empire (Fox)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Homeland (Showtime)
Justified (FX)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES  
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful (Showtime)
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS)
Keri Russell, The Americans (FX)
Taraji P. Henson, Empire (FOX)
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel (A&E)
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES  
Aden Young, Rectify (Sundance)
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel (A&E)
Matthew Rhys, The Americans (FX)
Timothy Olyphant, Justified (FX)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Carrie Coon, The Leftovers (HBO)
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife (CBS)
Joelle Carter, Justified (FX)
Katheryn Winnick, Vikings (History)
Lorraine Toussaint, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Mae Whitman, Parenthood (NBC)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline (Netflix)
Christopher Eccleston, The Leftovers (HBO)
Craig T. Nelson, Parenthood (NBC)
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland (Showtime)
Walton Goggins, Justified (FX)

GUEST PERFORMER IN A DRAMA SERIES  
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Julianne Nicholson, Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Linda Lavin, The Good Wife (CBS)
Lois Smith, The Americans (FX)
Sam Elliott, Justified (FX)
Walton Goggins, Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Comedy Categories

BEST COMEDY SERIES 
Broad City (Comedy Central)
Jane the Virgin (The CW)
Mom (CBS)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Transparent (Amazon)
Veep (HBO)
You’re the Worst (FX)