In 2021, Showmax has delivered some of the best titles for its viewers in Kenya, from the hit procedural Crime and Justice which is also Kenya’s first Showmax Original to the audience-favourite and Kalasha-nominated Sol Family S2 to Eliud Kipchoge’s inspiring documentary feature, Kipchoge: The Last Milestone to Kenya’s Oscar contender Subira and more local favourites.
As we come to the end of the year, here are some of the best local shows in 2021 to stream on Showmax.
Crime and Justice S1
The first Kenyan Showmax Original and the first co-production with global broadcaster CANAL+ Group, Crime and Justice follows Alfred Munyua (Nafsi, The First Grader) and Sarah Hassan (Famous, Just In Time) as Nairobi Metropol Police lead detectives Silas and Makena, who investigate one ripped-from-the-headlines case per episode.
Crime and Justice is directed by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff (All The Little Things We Kill, You Are Here) and Kenyans Likarion Wainaina (Supa Modo – winner of over 50 international awards, including a Special Mention at Berlin), and Edwin Kamau (40 Sticks) with Tosh Gitonga (AFI Audience Award Breakthrough winner Nairobi Half Life) also onboard to direct the much-anticipated second season that will premiere in 2022.
Recently at the Kalasha Awards 2021, Crime and Justice won Best Actress in a Drama (for Hassan).
Directed by Lawrence Murage and produced by Lucy Mwangi (Njoro wa Uba, Varshita, Auntie Boss), this coming-of-age comedy-drama follows Tony and Wamz, a young couple who are thrown in the middle of raising twins just when their careers are beginning to take off.
The easy-going, fun-loving celebrity radio presenter Tony (played by Morris Mwangi, Famous, Plan B) has his eyes set on hosting the popular breakfast show while the orderly and closed Wamz (played by former Jalang’o TV presenter and first-time actor Violetta Ngina) has just been confirmed as a permanent cabin crew member for a national airline but it seems that life has other plans for them.
Baba Twins is the first Showmax Original film in Kenya, and the second original title in the country after Crime and Justice.
Kipchoge The Last Milestone
On the morning of 12 October 2019 in Vienna, Kenya’s marathon legend and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge shattered “the last barrier to modern athletics” by running a marathon in under two hours, the first human to do so. This was one of the most inspiring achievements in sporting history and one that reaffirmed to the world Kipchoge’s personal philosophy that truly, “No human is limited.” This historic event birthed the inspiring documentary feature Kipchoge: The Last Milestone
Kipchoge: The Last Milestone is an intimate portrait of Kipchoge as he prepares for his record-shattering feat. With unprecedented access to Kipchoge, the documentary follows his journey from his training grounds in Kenya to the high-tech facilities in Europe, to his record attempt in Vienna.
Directed by Emmy winner and Grammy nominee Jake Scott (American Woman), Kipchoge: The Last Milestone is executive-produced by Academy Awards nominee Ridley Scott (The Last Duel, House of Gucci) and Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, One Day in September).
Set in Nairobi’s Eastlands, Borderline is a crime drama that follows two gangsters as they fight for territory and control while also engaging in a deadly war with the police who know only one way to silence criminals – with a bullet.
At the centre of the story is Lebanon Sempele “Lebo” (played by George Mo, Crime and Justice, Lost In Time), a reformed gangster working so hard to stay clean, if only the streets would let him. Lebo is forced to assemble his gang once again, and make a pact with his sworn enemy Tabuu (Edijoe Mwaniki), when the lives of those he loves are threatened by other gang members fighting for territory and a new trigger-happy police officer in town, Kwach (Victor Ber).
This role of Lebo earned George Mo a nomination for Best Actor in a TV Drama at the 2021 Kalasha Awards.
Sol Family S2
Created by Eugene Mbugua, this Kalasha-nominated docu-reality series captures Kenya’s multi-award-winning band, Sauti Sol, like you’ve never seen them before, letting us in on some intimate and personal details about their lives, as well as their Sol Generation protégés Nviiri the Storyteller and Bensoul.
The second season of Sol Family offers a more in-depth look into the group’s romantic relationships, where we see Bien support Chiki in starting her dance studio, Polycarp and Amanda share their home-birth story, and we also get to meet the ladies in Nviiri’s and Bensoul’s lives.
Eugene Mbugua’s most recent project, This Love is a docu-reality series that explores the lives of Kenya’s celebrity couple, Nameless and Wahu, as they share more about their family life, their marriage (that has lasted for 15 years despite the initial skepticism) and the lessons they have learnt along the way.
A 2021 Kalasha nominee for Best Documentary, This Love also follows Nameless and Wahu on their journey to record their first-ever joint album, and the people that are working with them behind the scenes to make the project a success.
Created and directed by Enos Olik, the ten-part music drama series Famous follows three young artists – Nikita, Magic and Nyota – as they navigate the music industry in Kenya.
In this glamorous yet complicated world, Nyota (newcomer Bryanna Wanjiku) struggles to rise to stardom as she battles to overcome her sordid past. Magic (Khula Budi, Maria), a renowned rapper and producer who has gained notoriety for his fast life and wealth, tries to take his empire to the top with his number one artist, Nikita (Michelle Tiren), whose successful career is threatened by new scandals and a desire for even bigger things.
Set in Lamu and Nairobi, Subira is a coming-of-age story that follows Brenda Wairimu (Monica, Disconnect) in the titular role as a free-spirited Muslim girl who struggles against traditions and gender stereotypes to live out her dream of swimming in the ocean.
From a young age, all Subira has ever wanted was to learn how to dive in the ocean. And her fisherman father (Abubakar Mwenda, Nairobi Half Life, Mission to Rescue) is willing to teach her when the right time comes, much to the disapproval of her mother (Nice Githinji, Rafiki, Lusala), who, like others in their conservative Lamu community, prepare their daughters for only one thing – to be married to a good man from a good family.
Subira was also selected to represent Kenya in the International Feature category at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020, won Best Indigenous Language Movie – Swahili at the 2020 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, and took home five Kalasha Awards in 2018, including Best Feature, Best Director and Best Actress for Brenda Wairimu.
This Kalasha-nominated Kenyan drama series follows Brenda Wairimu (Disconnect, Subira) in the titular role of Monica, an ambitious young woman who schemes and lies her way to the top. To put her plans in motion, she sets her eyes on the governor’s son Bob (Fidel Maithya, Selina), all while juggling another romance with her true love Mariga (Ephy Saint, Tahidi High).
In the third season, Monica is on the brink of victory – she’s just about to be appointed to a powerful position at the governor’s office, and her romantic relationships with the two men in her life seem to be going great. But can she really have it all? After all, lies and secrets can only get you so far, especially when a new equally scheming rival (played by Janet Mbugua) comes to town.
Also stream the best international series on Showmax from 2021, like Succession S3, The White Lotus S1, Mare of Easttown, Hacks S1, Love Life S2, Scenes from A Marriage, Gangs of London and the final season of Insecure, which lands on Showmax on 28 December.