Is the mediocrity of Idols VI getting you down? Are you taking the axing of Desperate Housewives badly? Does Private Practice not compare to Grey’s Anatomy? Relax. Close the tab on your The Simpsons reruns and get back on the couch. Some tantalising titles are heading for the South African small screen.

Now showing: The Borgias

This fictional historical series is based on the notorious Borgia family, an Italian dynasty of Spanish origin that controlled the papacy during the late 1400s. The series captures all the elements surrounding the actual corruption of the Catholic Church during this period. Expect a mess of scheming, simony (the buying and selling of church offices), sex, feuds and murder. It’s rather like an Italian version of The Tudors. The costumes and scenery of oldRome are exquisite but lead actor Jeremy Irons steals the show. Though the storyline is intriguing, it would definitely not be able to captivate an audience without Irons’s mastery and a strong supporting cast. Just to emphasise this fact, the tagline on the series’s promotional posters is “Jeremy Irons is Pope Alexander VI”. Enough said.

The Borgias premiered on Mnet on 9 August. Start catching up now on Tuesdays at 22:00.

Coming soon: Game of Thrones

Be excited. Be very, very excited. HBO has created yet another masterpiece for us to devour. Game of Thrones is based on the first book of George RR Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice. For lack of a better comparison, expect a more-medieval-than-fantasy version of The Lord of the Rings, where characters are killed off indiscriminately. Watch the noble families of the mythical seven kingdoms of Westeros battle it out for the Iron Throne. The series was signed for a second season only two days after its overseas premiere and has garnered 13 Emmy nominations. The pilot reportedly cost HBO between five and ten million dollars and the total budget for the first season has been estimated at between fifty and sixty million dollars. Thus, the production value is eye-popping. Audiences are also spoiled with the acting skills of Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady and Mark Addy. Eye candy includes new Conan the Barbarian star Jason Momoa and the broody Kit Harrington.

Game of Thrones premieres on Mnet on Monday 26 September at 21:30.

Due in 2012: Terra Nova

Steven Spielberg is the executive producer: that should already whet your appetite. The year is 2149 and all life on earth is threatened with extinction. In an effort to save the human race, scientists develop a time machine that sends people back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth. The Shannonfamily joins a pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first human colony on the other side of the time portal. Unbeknown to them, Terra Nova is set in the heart of a territory filled with hungry dinosaurs. The series stars Band of Brothers actor Jason O’Mara. It’s become clear that a new type of series is developing: the blockbuster series. Terra Nova cost roughly four million dollars per episode, and visual effects editing has repeatedly set back its release date. Science-fiction fans will definitely not be disappointed.

Terra Nova premieres on Mnet in early 2012.



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