Now that the nascent 24-hours news channel ANN7 has worked through some initial bumps and settled into a polished, well-oiled media machine, the Daily Maverick takes the opportunity to pitch a slate of high-concept programmes that could transform the channel into the Al-Jazeera of the south. Happy viewing! By RICHARD POPLAK.
Grand Pricks: Our Leaders and Their Vehicles
South Africans love to catch a glimpse of the country’s big shots as they zoom by in BMW 7-series limos, leaving gore-slicked roads in their wake. Wouldn’t it be great to experience just how passionate they are about their fabulous motor vehicles? A cross between Pimp-My-Ride and House of Cards, Grand Pricks takes us into the garages of the country’s finest, detailing just how exacting they are about their motoring preferences. Sponsored by Mercedes Benz’s high performance AMG division, we get up close and personal with a range of spanking new, blinged-up supercars! Priceless moments include shopping for a Lambo to go with Philisiwe Mthethwa’s dress for a National Empowerment Fund- backed Louis Vuitton store opening, and an extended sequence of President Zuma’s driver trying his best to fit all his vehicular treasures into the 74-car-garage in Nkandla.
A rollicking insider’s look at the tick-tock machinery of the country’s police forces. Ever wanted to get drunk in a squad car with Gauteng’s finest? Here’s your chance!—a perp’s eye-view of how our men and women in uniform keep us safe from each other. Watch how the “Chief” picks her provincial commissioners by throwing darts at a board, whilst blindfolded. Understand how signing off on lease agreements is the most critical component of running a sound police force. Glean why it is essential that our cops moonlight as the drivers of SUVs with flashing blue lights. And while there may not be a character doing impressions of cop cars and machine guns, we guarantee an uproarious good time.
The Mother City: Johannesburg at 200
In celebration of Johannesburg’s double century, this sumptuously shot, Ken Burns-style multi-episode documentary series charts the city from its conception to its current standing as the “capital of Africa.” Watch beautiful re-enactments of Jan van Riebeeck sailing to the shores of Emmarentia Dam, and note the dressing down he gets from early ANC comrades who tried valiantly to head off the inevitable. Experience the Gold Rush, and note how those same comrades try to organise labour and, again, forestall the worse. Most pleasingly, enjoy sweeping shots of Sandton as it is today—hi-tech stomping ground of the country’s power players, replete with delicious lattes, fine automobiles and an absence of poverty. Narrated mellifluously by Mac Maharaj, whose grasp of historical detail is trumped only by his empathy for the minor characters in this grand, unfolding historical drama, The Mother City is sure to be the definitive historical document of an incredible place.
The New Age’s New Age
Inventing the news, as William Randolph Hearst used to point out, is quite a hard job. The New Age’s New Age takes us behind the headlines and into the nerve centre of South Africa’s most prominent news-making machine. Considered by most to be “Africa’s New York Times”, we follow dogged, unrelenting “New Agers” as they chase the stories of the day, stopping at nothing to get to the core of the issues. Battling a truculent political opposition hell-bent on sending the country into oblivion, the New Age’s fearless team is the last stand against a tidal wave of gloom. But fearless reporting makes for incredible television, and The New Age’s New Age is sure to inspire a wave of young South Africans to pick up a notebook and a pen, and to get busy mopping up the political slime.
President Zuma Gone Wild
Some members of the South African community just don’t seem to understand President Zuma. In order to reach out to them before the 2014 election, we watch the president delve into their primary passion: saving wildlife! Incredible moments include feeding a juvenile goshawk with an eye-dripper full of Johnny Blue; lecturing rhino on how to dodge enemy salvos and stay alive when every odd is stacked against them; hiring the right legal team for the country elephants so they too can endlessly forestall their demise; teaching an owl to sleep with two eyes open. With beautiful shots of African sunsets and sunrises, and much drinking of gin and tonics and eating of biltong, this is sure to put President Zuma in good standing with all of his beloved constituents.
Weather is not a specific phenomenon, but a general happening that occurs all over South Africa. While a thumping techno beat plays in the background, our youthful presenters wave at a map of the country, while assuring us that if it is not sunny and warm today, it will certainly be so tomorrow. Why sweat the details? Weathers makes sure that we never have to.
A comedic mocumentary series that follows the pratfalls and bumbles of the Public Protector’s office. Oh man, that Thuli Madonsela is a one-woman comedy show, getting it wrong every step of the way, chasing down the good guys and letting the bad guys get away free of charge. A sure winner for those who like their politics and their humour in one hilarious package. DM
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