I don't think I've ever been this deflated by a new show. Sure, I've had favourites start going south after being renewed for new seasons -- sharrout to Intersexions for staying trill and on form -- but to be let down by a new show I'd been looking forward to? This is a first and is hugely due to my not letting myself excitedly anticipate new productions.
You'll need a bit of background... I read about this new show called End Game a week before its debut. The PR on a local blog just about gave away the whole season. This spoiler made me majorly amped for the new addition to the Mzansi unSure line up. And three episodes in here we are...
Points of excitement:
Nothing makes me as happy as a good cast does. The meticulous assemblage of brilliant actors in roles that curve around their ranges like mold curves around something. Top of the bill on this show is Bubu Mazibuko. I love this woman. I'm always here for her getting cast in roles. She doesn't work as much as the average South African actor and I imagine it gets a bit tough. I'm trying hard not to believe that Jerusalema is the last I saw of her until now. Next on the Bill is Hlomla Dandala, now let me tell you that I was far too young during his Isidingo era but I appreciated him in Interrogation Room and Jacob's Cross. Reading the presser further I saw Sthandiwe Kgoroge's name and I was sold. She's one of my all-time favourites. She's just come off a great role on 90 Plein last year and directed a gripping episode on season two of Intersexions. She's living. There's also Ronnie Nyakale who's managed to WERK getting typecast as inswelaboya all these years. Special mention goes to Yonda Thomas who's been working hard since not winning the first season of Class Act.
I'm certain End Game is described as a political thriller somewhere. So far what we know is that Jet Hlatshwayo aka Mr Clean [played by Dandala] is the minister of environmental affairs. He's married to his wife whose name I don't even recall [played by Mazibuko]. Jet's out there acting like he's the people's minister, like he lives on the straight and narrow but is busy bedding his assistant [played by Tango Ncetezo] behind closed doors. His wife is bored and frustrated and their children are just floating along. On the first episode Rose the assistant and mistress got strangled to death with the same scarf minister Clean gave his wife for their anniversary. That's as exciting as it's gotten.
I don't know who to blame for this show falling so short of its potential. They have a great prime cast and a saucy premise [Mrs Clean is supposed to uncover a conspiracy that could blow the bottom off of her charmed country club life, parliament and the country at large]. I tweeted during the premier that the pace is quite slow. It's not Days of Our Lives - we don't need a back story for every character. Each and every scene ought to be electric and pregnant with the possibility of all the secrets getting spilled. However, sadly, it isn't. Some scenes feel like throwaways. I also think that with the nothing-short-of-awesome run of 90 Plein you can't just throw around the words "political ____" all willy nilly.
Ronnie Nyakale's character is the only one that's elicited a reaction that wasn't "that's superficial" or a variation thereof from me. He's that dude who's been screwed over time and again. The fact that reality [aka real life, right now, service delivery/economic/unemployment/housing frustrations] is the backdrop of this drama yet fails to permeate to the worlds on screen is another source of disappointment. I expected to be on the edge of my seat and for every scene to feel like shiz is about to explode.
Will I be watching this week? Yep. The reason for that is that some shows are slower to get going than others. I believe in locally conceived and made concepts - I just hope it gets moving soon.
Have you been watching the show? What are your thoughts?
Image via SABC 1 website