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From Netflix to DStv: What to watch this weekend

Showmax
(Image credit: Showmax)

Netflix, Showmax and DStv have loads on offer but it always seems like there is nothing to watch.  Rather than rewatching an old favourite for the umpteenth time, we've made your decision process easier.  

From romcoms to thrillers, here are our top picks on what to watch this weekend. 

Netflix 

The Queen's Gambit

The Queen's Gambit

(Image credit: PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX)

This thrilling drama mini-series has taken the world by storm. If you haven't seen it yet this is the time to get on it. 

It follows Beth, an orphan who suffers from addiction issues but is also a chess prodigy. As she grows up the audience follows her through her experience on the top of the world stage of chess, while dealing with crippling dependency. 

Trial of the Chicago 7 

The Trial of the Chicago 7

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is another Aaron Sorkin triumph. The stuffy courtroom drama could be dull but the impressive interspersed shots of intense police brutality and squabbling activists keep the pace going. 

Following the trial of activists who were protesting the Vietnam War, this infamous moment in history captured the US during the 1960s. 

Rebecca 

(Image credit: Netflix)

This creepy horror follows a young woman who moves into her new husband's estate only to be hounded by the housekeeper who doesn't think she belongs. An even creepier presence is also plaguing Rebecca, the spectre of her new husbands late wife. 

A perfect film to kick off the run up to Halloween. 

The Queen's Gambit

(Image credit: Netflix)

This mini-series follows an orphan in the 1950s who is found to have an impressive talent at chess. Her rise to stardom for her skills is only matched by her battle against addiction. 

Based on a novel, this is a great drama which makes chess way more interesting than you'd imagine. 

Mamma Mia: Here we go again 

(Image credit: Netflix)

The sequel to the hit musical Mamma Mia doesn't fall for the usual sequel issues of being a let down. The story looks deeper into the origins of Donna Sheradon and how she ended up on this magical greek island. It's the background story fans had been waiting for and they pulled it off perfectly. 

David Attenborough: A life on our planet

(Image credit: Netflix)

After years of watching the TV presenter and natural historian show us picture perfect views of expanses of wildlife, Attenborough has finally had enough and is showing us what we've really done to our planet. 

This harsh look at how humans have taken from the Earth but given little back is not a new format, but hearing it from 93-year-old Attenborough seems like the scolding we all need. 

American Murder: The family next door

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An almost typical true-crime documentary but a compelling one at that. American Murder follows the story of the Watts family after wife Shannen and her two daughters go missing. 

Her husband is perplexed and asks for help to find his missing family but as the case unfolds, darker secrets are revealed. 

The Boys in the Band

(Image credit: Netflix)

Based on the 1968 play, the Boys in the Band follows the story of a group of gay friends who reunite to celebrate a birthday in an apartment on the Upper East Side. 

As to be expected from a story set in close quarters, secrets are spilled as the guests get drunk. The unexpected arrival of an old closeted friend leaves the group coming to terms with what they have kept buried for years. 

Emily in Paris 

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Although rom-coms and whimsicle Paris fantasies know no gender, it is clear that this series was made for the millennial girl. 

Emily is a marketing executive who lands her dream job in Paris. In the City of Love she has to deal with settling into her new life, finding new friends and falling in love. 

The Duchess

best netflix uk shows - the duchess

(Image credit: Netflix)

Very loosely based on Katherine Ryan's own life, this single mother and artists is navigating raising her daughter, coming to terms with her fear of commitment and co-parenting with her useless ex. 

A great look at the idea that you can be a terrible person but a great mother all in one go, this dark comedy is a new spin on the women "having it all" trope. 

I'm thinking of ending things 

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

Not for the unadventurous, this Charlie Kaufmann film is weird. If you like dissecting films for their meaning this is for you. 

A woman who is considering ending her relationship takes a trip with her boyfriend to meet his family. As she's having dinner, strange things start happening and the line between what is real and what isn't begin to blur.  

The Social Dilemma 

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you need something to finally convince you to delete your social media accounts, this is it. 

It might not be anything you don't know but hearing the creators of much of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram explain how the sites mine your data and use it against you is enough to make anyone a bit concerned. 

Enola Holmes 

Enola Holmes

(Image credit: Netflix)

A refreshing take on the famous Holmes family, this movie turns attention on Enola, Sherlock's younger sister. 

In her quest to find her missing mother, Enola uses her unique skills to evade her brothers and help a runaway lord. 

Chef's Table

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Whether you like to cook or not, Chef's Table will really make you appreciate this art form. There are six volumes (seasons) to choose from and each is as good as the next. You get to see the inner workings of some of the globe's best restaurants, as well as a peak into the creative minds of the head chefs. Warning: Don't watch while hungry.

My Octopus Teacher

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This is South Africa's first original Netflix documentary. My Octopus Teacher has been revered as a groundbreaking insight into the secret life of cephalopods. Craig Foster was at a point in his life where he needed to seek out meaning. He decided to free dive every day into the freezing kelp forests of the Tip of Africa as a way to reenergize himself. Here he encountered an octopus, who continuously returned to him like clockwork on each dive. 

Up in the Air

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who doesn't want a bit of George Clooney for their weekend? This critically acclaimed film follows his character, Ryan Bingham, as he travels around the US firing employees on behalf of companies.

This cynical comedy-drama is the perfect middle ground move when you don't think you can handle a full on drama or a silly comedy. It is witty, clever, funny and dramatic all in the same breath. The stark economic realities it is based on will leave you with a lot to think about.

Love on the Spectrum 

(Image credit: Netflix)

Love on the Spectrum is about a group of adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their journey as they navigate dating and relationships. Set in Australia, the show is impressive in its delivery of each story and experience, without the usual sympathetic lens cast over those with disabilities. 

It's largely upbeat and brings up a lot of serious points about how the world has left those with this disorder out of society and how they are often misrepresented in media. 

Lovesick

(Image credit: Netflix)

Although a few years old, this series is a great option if you're looking for a new weekend binge. It follows Dylan who has to contact his previous sexual partners when he is diagnosed with chlamydia. 

The series interweaves the stories of his friend's lives, and all of Dylan's lovers. It's a classic sitcom/romcom but a nice take on the classic mid-20s life crisis in love, work and relationships. 

American Psycho 

(Image credit: Netflix)

A scathing look at the 80s New York yuppie, Christian Bale shines as the psychotic Patrick Bateman. Fulfilling his murderous urges and need to look perfect and outshine his peers take up all his time. Whether these murders are real or he's going insane is not helped by his peers who seem equally as evil. 

The Lovely Bones 

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

This chilling tale follows teenager Suzie who is murdered and left to watch her parents deal with her death. From her perspective we can see the grief but also the murderer's plan to kill his next victim. 

Showmax 

The Loudest Voice

Showmax

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This mini-series follows the life of Roger Ailes, the man who made Fox News. 

Touching on how he created the current American conservative movement through his radical television programming and the sexual assault and harassment claims against him, this is for those who are interested in a part of how the US came to be as it is today. 

Greta

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This psychological thriller follows Frances as she befriends a widow named Greta. What feels like a replacement for her own late mother turns into a dark twisted nightmare as more of Greta's dark secrets are revealed. 

Another great creeper to get scary season going. 

Robin Hood

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A re-make of the legendary tale of this thief for good, this somewhat modernised version has an epic cast including Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx. A classic action-adventure film this is a great option if you just want to turn off your brain for a while. 

Green Book

Green Book

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

This Academy Award-winner for Best Picture was possibly the last of its kind- the white saviour movie. 

In it, the life of African-American pianist Don Shirley is shown through the lens of his white chauffer as they take a tour of the American South in the 1960s. Despite criticism for its white lens, the film is beautifully shot and heart wrenching. 

The Wire

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(Image credit: HBO)

A classic you should definitely consider if you're looking for something to binge. Although quite old, The Wire still holds its own. 

Each season follows a different institution in Baltimore deals with keeping the law. From drug dealers to city government, no area is left untouched or exposed. However, unlike classic cop dramas, the innocent and the guilty are never black and white. 

Big Little Lies

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The renowned series is one you have to watch if you haven't yet. Based off an Australian book series by the same name, it follows a group of middle class women as they deal with children, love and secrets in their small town. 

Filled with A-list actors, this series is another great binging option. 

John Wick: Chapter 3

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Keanu is back as John Wick and this time he's on the run. With a $14-million price tag on his head, he is the target of hitmen and women everywhere. 

Much like the first two instalments of this action series, John is still surrounded by dogs. 

Ben is Back

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This one is a tear-jerker and deals with serious issues from family turmoil to drug addiction. 

Julia Roberts plays the mother of 19-year-old Ben Burns who unexpectedly returns to his family's suburban home on Christmas Eve. While relieved to have her son back, she is still worried about keeping him clean. 

Four Weddings and a Funeral 

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A new series take on the famous 1980s film, the plot is similar but the characters are updated for the younger generation. 

A group of friends from the US all move to London to live out their dreams as political speech writers, designers and teachers. Love triangles, make-ups and break-ups ensue in this very light and fluffy series. 

The Plot Against America 

(Image credit: Michele K. Short/HBO)

Based on a book with the same name, this series follows a Jewish family as they deal with rising antisemitism in America in the 1940s.

The series poses an alternative reality where Charles Linburg, a celebrity with no political experience, wins the race for President, leaning into right-wing, authoritarian support base and keeping the US out of WWII. 

Younger

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A light-hearted binge-able series with a beautiful cast, this series is for when you just want to switch off. 

Liza is a 40-year-old divorcee who wants to get back into the publishing business after years as a stay-at-home mom. To get the assistant job, she pretends to be a 20-something and manages to keep her secret but for how long? 

Victoria

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This historical drama follows Queen Victoria from the time she ascended to the throne at 18, through her courtship and marriage to Albert and into motherhood. 

In addition to being a fairly accurate re-telling of the monarchs life, the costuming and cinematography is beautiful. 

Yesterday

(Image credit: HBO)

This is the ultimate feel-good film. There is a global blackout and in the wake of it, struggling artist Jack realises that no one remembers who The Beatles were. He then claims their songs as his own and shoots to stardom. The rom-com is bound to have you humming along to these epic classics.

Harriet

(Image credit: Wikicommons)

This is the story of the heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped from slavery and the missions she carried out to liberate thousands of slaves through the Underground Railroad. 

Her story is well-known in the US, but there is something in the struggle for liberation and freedom that almost every person can identify with. It is a fantastic portrayal of her heroism and insight into slavery in the US from the angle of the oppressed rather than the oppressors.

The Nightingale

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Hellbent on revenge, Clare, a young Irish convict, pursues a British soldier through the Tasmanian wilderness. She is determined to right a terrible act of violence committed by the soldier against her family. An eye for an eye. While chasing him down, Clare seeks help from an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who has endured his own trauma. This is a real historical thriller, if you are brave enough. 

I May Destroy You 

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I May Destroy You comes from the much-loved Michaela Coel (creator of Chewing Gum on Netflix, also give that a watch) and follows Arabella, a novelist considered the voice of Millennials, as she comes to terms with an assault she barely remembers. 

Surrounded by friends, going to therapy, and finding coping mechanisms,  the show speaks to the real experience of survivors and the trials of rebuilding your life after such a traumatic experience. 

Ramy 

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Ramy follows its title character as he grapples with being a religious-ish Muslim in the US. From the personal conflict of not being observant enough to the external battles with ignorance and islamophobia, the show is a perspective not often found on mainstream, US-based channels. 

Blackkklansman

BlacKkKlansman

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From the brilliant Spike Lee, this is an unbelievable true story of a black detective who infiltrates the Colorado Springs branch of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. 

This is one of Lee's best works, with his usual didactic style he weaves the history of the struggle for civil rights in America into the narrative of the story. And adds the continuous fight of Black people in America today. 

Love Life 

watch love life online

(Image credit: HBO Max)

A very millennial rom-com, this series feels a bit fresher than others but very much in line with the updated "unlucky in love rope". Anna Kendrick takes the lead role as her character journeys from first love to finding your ultimate person. 

A great choice if you're felling a little down and would like a relatable story about trying and failing and everything in between. 

Booksmart

(Image credit: Netflix)

Considered the first "Gen Z" high school movie, Booksmart flips the stereotypes on their head - kind of. 

One the eve of their graduation, two best friends realise they spent all their time studying and it still didn't give them a leg up on the kids who partied. So they decide to fit all the fun they missed out on in one night.

Extremely Wicked and Shockingly Evil and Vile

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

(Image credit: Netflix)

It seems to be a weekend for true crime dramas. This time, Zach Efron takes on the story of Ted Bundy. While the film was critiqued for making Bundy seem too appealing, it is almost where its strongest effect lies. Bundy's approachability and seemingly harmlessness was the reason he got away with the acts he committed. 

A fascinating and chilling look into the court case and story that shook the world. 

Bombshell 

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Bombshell is based on real-life events that saw ex-CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, fall from grace. It is based on the 20+ accounts of women at Fox News who accused him of sexual harassment, which eventually lead to his demise in the company. 

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie star in the film. It is epic to see these three powerhouses in one film taking on such an important and harrowing subject.

Little Fires Everywhere 

(Image credit: Hulu)

Based on the novel by Celeste Ng with the same name, Little Fires Everywhere is about two families living in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the 90s. The children bring the two families from different socioeconomic backgrounds together, with dramatic results. 

As South Africans, this film will resonate as the gap between those that own the wealth and those that work for the wealthy continues to grow. 

Miracle Workers 

(Image credit: Warner media)

Miracle Workers is an anthology comedy based on writings by Simon Rich. Daniel Radcliffe further cements his position as an actor with alternate tastes, taking on the role of a "wish fulfiller" in heaven. 

The first season follows Radcliffe and his new intern as they try do more for humans on Earth while having to deal with a jaded, grumpy God (played by Steve Buscemi). 

It's a weird show and might take a minute to get into, but once you've come to terms with the bizarre elements it's worth it. 

 

On the Basis of Sex

(Image credit: Participant )

In a nod to National Women's Day coming up over the weekend, this film is well-worth watching to gain insight on just how difficult men have made life for women. 

The biographical legal drama film follows the life and early cases of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While Notorious RBG might be considered a badass now, this film showcases her battle for equal rights and the early fights and triumphs of her career. 

What We Do in the Shadows

watch what we do in the shadows online

(Image credit: FX)

Based on the acclaimed indie film of the same name starring Taika Watiti, this off-beat series is a mockumentary/horror/ comedy which follows the lives of vampires residing in an apartment in New York. It sounds silly because it is and once you give into the absurd, it's a great time. 

DStv

The Gentlemen

(Image credit: DStv)

Another great Guy Ritchie thug romp, the Gentlemen is an ensemble action comedy which pulls you in with its rich cinematography and gruff dialogue. 

It follows an American marijuana kingpin in England who is looking to sell his business, setting off a chain of blackmail and schemes to undermine him.

Enslaved

(Image credit: DStv)

This docuseries follows actor Samuel L. Jackson as he returns to Ghana to understand more of his roots and family history. Tackling the horrific slave trade and how descendants of these trafficked people are often left without a link to heritage, it's a searing look at the effects of the past on our present. 

Chasing the Sun

(Image credit: DSTV)

For a patriotic weekend you have to watch this new documentary series about the Springboks road to the Rugby World Cup win in 2019. 

While it may seem like it's only for super rugby fans, but the series is likely to make any South African patriotic. There are new episodes coming out each weekend so you're sure to be caught up. 

A million little pieces

(Image credit: DStv)

This semi-autobiographical film based on a book by the same name, follows James Frey as he is checked into rehab by his older brother.

The story is in part about the process of recovery but also about the characters and personalities Frey meets on this journey in rehab. While it falls well within the classic genre of drug addiction films, it is still quite compelling. 

Addams Family Values

A promo shot for the movie Addams Family Values

(Image credit: Amazon)

It's very unlikely you haven't already seen this incredible film but if you haven't you really should give it a try. The second of the two Addams Family films, it carries on the tradition of quirky spookiness as you follow the different family members on their adventures. 

Although sometimes slightly outdated for its 1990s feel, this is a great film to get your excited about Spooky season. 

Mrs. America

watch Mrs America online free

(Image credit: FX/Hulu)

This series follows the fight for equal rights for women in America in the 1970s. It makes an interesting choice by chronicling not only the fight from the side of the radical left figures like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan but also from far right anti-feminist activist Phyllis Shlafley. 

Cate Blanchett shines in this complicated role as a woman who is fighting against equality as one of the most liberated women of her time. 

Rhythm Section

(Image credit: DStv)

This action thriller follows a grieving woman who sets out for revenge after discovering the plane crash that killed her family was a terrorist attack.

A classic heart-thumping thrill ride, it is also interesting to see Blake Lively in such a different, grittier role. 

Blindspotting

(Image credit: DStv)

The film takes a look at the  corrupt American justice system and how it creates the people it is supposed to protect society from. 

Daveed Diggs plays a parolee who is trying his best to avoid going back to prison. Three days before the end of his sentence he witnesses a police shooting. On top of complicating his parole, the incident puts a lifelong friendship on the line. 

1917

1917

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

If you haven't seen this war epic, now is the time. In addition to being a captivating story, the single shot style captures the chaos of war in a very unique way.

Two soldiers are sent from the trenches during WWI to deliver a message that will stop 1,600 British soldiers from walking into a death trap set by the Germans. One of the soldiers is especially committed as his brother is part of that battalion. 

Hustlers

(Image credit: DStv)

Based on a true story, Jennifer Lopez plays a pole dancer who seizes the opportunity to steal money from unsuspecting customers. 

With a gang of other strip club dancers, they drug men before swiping up high values on their credit cards. All the while knowing no one will believe they were robbed. 

Five Fingers for Marseilles 

(Image credit: DStv)

This South African film made a major stir when it was first released and for all the right reasons. 

Tau, a young man from the shanty town near Marseilles in South Africa, kills two policeman, which sets in motion a string of events which shake up the town and reveal the dark demons that lurk beneath. 

Amazing Grace

(Image credit: Wikkicommons)

This concert film takes viewers back to 1972 when singer Aretha Franklin performed gospel songs at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. While obviously  based around the Church and Gospel, this powerful and emotive documentary concert showcases this incredible singers power and captures this chapter of her career perfectly. 

Killing Eve

watch Killing Eve season 3 online

(Image credit: AMC/BBC America)

Killing Eve follows the life of an extremely intelligent M15 security officer, Eve, who is contrarily bound to her desk. She inevitably feels the boredom of her job until she is assigned to hunt down and Villanelle, a psychopathic assassin. 

This series has been hailed as groundbreaking for its representation and addictiveness. You have been warned, it's a binger.

Lovecraft Country 

(Image credit: HBO)

This horror drama series set in the in the 1950s follows Atticus Freeman, his friend and uncle as they take a trip across the segregated south to find his father. This inventive script intertwines their need to avoid becoming subject to racist terrorism from the white people they meet and the monsters that plague one of the towns. 

This series takes the horror genre out of its usually a-historical space and makes it fresh, thrilling and enterataining.   

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm )

If you haven't seen the final instalment in the Star Wars series, or if you have but want to watch is again, now is your time. Make a binge weekend out of it and see if you can watch all the films or just catch-up with Rae and see if she can find out who her family is. 

Parasite

Parasite movie (2019)

(Image credit: CJ Entertainment)

This is a must-see before you die kind of movie, so this weekend is a great time to tick it off your list. 

From the incredible Bong Joon-Ho, this upstairs/downstairs Korean drama highlights the massive gap between the rich and poor and how this can have terrible consequences. 

Although completely in Korean, the subtitles are barely a hurdle once you settle into the story and follow the lives of the poor Kim family as they con their way into getting jobs for the rich Park family.

Bad Education

watch Bad Education HBO online

(Image credit: HBO)

If it had not been for coronavirus this movie would have been one we were all talking about for ages. Possibly Hugh Jackman's best role and based on a true story, he plays a school superintendent who is at the centre of what became the biggest public school corruption scandal in US history. 

The Wife

(Image credit: Netflix)

The always impressive Glen Close plays the wife of a man who is receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. During the process she begins to question her own life, and how she ended up in the role on her husbands arm. 

A fascinating look at marriage, the position of women and relationships. 

I,Tonya

Another true story, this film follows Tonya Harding's perspective on the infamous Nancy Kerrigan scandal. It also is an impressive turn by Margot Robbie, who completely transforms into Harding, taking the audience through her experiences and difficult life. 

Molly's Game

A promo shot for the movie mollys game

(Image credit: Amazon)

Jessica Chastain is undeniably a Hollywood queen and her title is solidified in this film. Based on true events, Molly's Game follows an underground world were the rich and famous throw away their riches in a high-stakes poker game organised every week by Molly Bloom. We're talking millions and millions of dollars being thrown around like it's nothing. It's a real insight into how the 1% live and how one woman worked hard to protect her clients, in fear that they would do bad things to pay her back. Also, Player X is technically an amalgamation of the celebrities she crossed paths with but a popular fan theory suggests its Toby Maguire. 

On Becoming a God in Central Florida

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This dark comedy film stars Kirsten Dunst and is based in the 90s in Orlando, Florida. She plays Krystal Stubbs who works at a local waterpark for minimum wage. Krystal, however, is seeking a better life for herself and does so through a multi-level marketing scheme which she eventually turns on its head. 

 It's epic to see Dunst on the screen again, feels like it been a minute. 

Red Joan

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It would be a crime to have a spy movie without Judy Dench. This film is based on a novel of the same name, written by Jennie Rooney. The tale is inspired by the life of Melita Norwood who worked at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association  and passed nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

Black is King 

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Black is King is Queen Bey's new musical film and visual album. This work of art was directed, written and executive produced by Beyoncé. It speaks to a pan-Africanist sense of identity, not locating itself in any one country but rather weaving together different African cultures and nationalities through an artistic lens. 

Many South Africans like John Kani and Mary Twala make appearances, while some of the shots were done in our country, with South Africans working behind the scenes as well. 

I Know This Much is True 

watch I Know This Much is True online

(Image credit: HBO)

Mystery, intrigue and Mark Ruffalo: An addictive and binge-watchable trip. he show follows the life of Dominick Birdsey (Ruffalo, who also plays Thomas Birdsey) and how he learns of his grandfather's arrival to Three Rivers in the early 1900s from Sicily. Domincik is convinced his family is cursed and the mysteries unravel from there.