As we get into the swing of the festive season, two things happen. Firstly, many regular series go on a break; and secondly, there is a ton of tinselly viewing focused on families and Christmas itself.
Just the other day, I was browsing through Explora Catch Up and found a channel filled with at least half a dozen of these titles, so if that’s what you want, off you go.
They’re not my taste, which leans more towards gritty dramas like The Deuce, which I’ve already binged on Showmax.
More about that in my round-up of the best (and perhaps the worst) of this year, on December 29.
The platform has plenty of alternative viewing for non-Christmas folk, as does Netflix.
Both come in handy while other favourites are on a break. However, here are some appropriate highlights on Showmax this month.
The Bible is a new title, which was nominated for three Emmys, including Outstanding Miniseries, among other awards. In 2013, it was Mark Burnett’s (Survivor etc) first scripted series.
He co-created it with Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel), who stars as Jesus’s mom, Mary.
The series covers Genesis to Revelation in “one grand narrative” within five two-hour parts, each containing two or three biblical stories told through live action and computer-generated imagery.
According to Burnett, it included “obvious” stories such as Noah’s Ark, the Exodus, and the life of (white) Jesus Christ. Five hours are taken from the Old Testament, and five from the New Testament, based on the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
For the young and the young at heart, watch Stick Man, animated in Cape Town by the award-winning Triggerfish studio. Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their three stick children, and he’s on an epic adventure across the seasons. Stick Man was nominated for a Bafta, and has won numerous awards.
If you fancy compiling your own playlist, Friends season 7, episode 10 is The One with The Holiday Armadillo. Season 5, episode 11 of House is titled Joy To The World, in which Dr House (Hugh Laurie) is trying to be nice to his patients over the holiday season.
This is what we would call a losing battle, especially when a young woman who doesn’t know she’s pregnant comes in. And, yes, you guessed it - she swears she’s a virgin.
Six Feet Under is always worth a revisit. Find episode 8 of season 2 (It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year) in which each member of the Fisher family takes a moment to quietly remember their time with patriarch Nathaniel, on the first anniversary of his death.
Housekeeping: Trust Me, which has only just begun on M-Net 101 (Mondays at 8pm) to replace The Good Doctor, which is on hiatus until 1 January 2018, will itself be taking a two-week break. ‘Tis the season, as dedicated TV fans will know, which is a good reason to have at least one streaming service to take up the slack.