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TV shows that thrilled us

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The fixer - kerry

ABC

Kerry Washington in The Fixer.

TV critics are calling this the “golden era of TV”. Looking at the ingenious offerings which have transformed the television landscape, it is difficult to argue with that statement. Debashine Thangevelo revisits the shows that held us hostage in 2013…

 

Devilishly groundbreaking dramas

 

Viewers were like kids before Christmas every time M-Net unveiled its next big drama series in the course of this year. They may have drummed up some serious hype, but it wasn’t without merit when it came to The Following, Ray Donovan and Hostages.

Aside from the brilliant casting of Hollywood heavyweights (Kevin Bacon, Liev Schrieber, Jon Voight and Toni Collette) attached to the offerings, it was underscored with such menace and darkness that viewers marvelled at the ingenuity of the writers who broke away from convention with their storytelling.

TO rockville shona and connie

The Rockville cast

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Brilliant translation from the big to small screen

 

Not all bestsellers translate into box office hits. By the same token, producers have to be very brave when trying to adapt and capture the essence of box office successes into TV series. Foolhardy an idea, it may have seemed.

But Hannibal, born from Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, which gave birth to several movies – the most iconic being The Silence of the Lambs with Anthony Hopkins – was turned into a successful TV series. Although, Mads Mikkelsen as Dr Hannibal Lecter did have a fair amount of sway in that regard.

Another winner was Bates Motel, which displayed a palatable amount of disturbing atmosphere to leave viewers glued to every twisted and dark deed that unfolded.

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Zakeeya Patel on Strictly Come Dancing.

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Most ingenious script and casting

 

House of Cards only recently debuted on our screens. I was fortunate to have caught a few preview episodes before it officially aired and I was hooked. Spacey is matchless in his manipulative role as politician Frank Underwood. What I love about this series is how the political realm is turned into a playground where ambition flourishes and power destroys. Aside from the script rais- ing the bar, the casting is on point.

 

Unlikely bedfellows

 

I was sad when Brothers & Sisters ended. One of my favourite actors in the series was Matthew Rhys. He was so polished and emotionally flawed.

And then he surfaced again in The Americans, a period spy drama. Not only that, he was paired with Keri Russell (Felicity), but I had a few reservations about the partner- ship. However, they made such a dynamic team that I was glad to be wrong about my misgivings.

 

Breaking new ground

 

South Africa’s favourite TV couple, Shona and Connie Ferguson, ventured into the producing realm with Rockville, which has been given the green light for season two. They have proved they have the Midas touch behind the camera, too.

 

Most overrated series

 

Big names don’t often translate into sure-fire hits. While I might not have learnt my lesson with the insipid sci-fi series, Terra Nova, which was sold on Steven Spielberg’s name, I certainly did with Under the Dome. Spielberg is more in his element with big screen, big scale offerings, clearly.

Another sore point was Robin Williams returning to his TV roots with The Crazy Ones. Let’s just say the title is indicative of the audience it aims to attract.

 

Stand-out TV Star

 

Aside from taking her performance up several notches in the second season of The Fixer, Kerry Washington also made an indelible impression in Quentin Tarantino’s western, Django Unchained.

Earlier this year, she tied the knot, much to her male fans’ disappointment, to her football player beau, Nnamdi Asomugha.

 

Flavour of the local scene

 

Zakeeya Patel first captured the imagination in her dark role as Amita in The Wild before bagging a part in High Rollers. But what really made South Africa take notice of this petite actress was her winning SABC3’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Talk about shimmying her way into popularity.

 

Interesting series spin-off

 

When Sarah Jessica Parker learnt of The Carrie Diaries, a spin-off of Sex and the City, she wasn’t exactly ecstatic about the news. But after watching AnnaSophia Robb as the younger version of her character, she had to swallow her pride. And the series has proved a hit with the teen brigade, which was enough to merit another season.

 

Still the sexiest TV heart-throb

 

Mention the name “Harvey Specter” (played by Gabriel Macht) from Suits and women turn into something out of the book 50 Shades of Grey. Maybe it is his confidence, that comes across as arrogance. Maybe it is his smarts, or pizzazz or those sexy suits (pun unintended), but Harvey is the kind of guy all the ladies want. Grrrrr!

 

The Queen returns

 

After missing Oprah Winfrey on our screens, she returned as an OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) block on TLC Entertainment. Fans were over the moon. The queen has finally reclaimed her throne.

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