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A year of Covid-19 in SA: 5 TV shows that got us through the coronavirus pandemic

The cast of ’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season 12. Picture: Facebook

The cast of ’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season 12. Picture: Facebook

Published Mar 5, 2021


It’s been a year since the first coronavirus case was recorded in South Africa and the fear of the unknown pandemic set in globally.

Once lockdown first started, many South Africans had no choice but to have their only source of entertainment be what was available on their screens. Many shows were at the epicentre of social media conversation.

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One thing we did do was use TV series as means of escapism while dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are five TV shows that kept us entertained during a year of Covid-19:

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12

Racers, start your engine and may the best drag queen win!

When it comes to reality TV, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a global sensation and 2020 was no different.

The franchise branched out more with drag race shows in Canada and Holland making their debut alongside the main franchise.

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Season 12 was an experience for viewers and the queens.

Not only did the pandemic hit by the second episode, resulting in the queens having to miss out on the usual viewing parties and touring opportunities, but one of the queens, Sherry Pie, had several sexual assault victims come forward.

This left the editors to scramble to re-edit the show to minimise her appearances. This was a huge task, since she made it to the end of the show.

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Nonetheless, season 12 was still enjoyable to watch and since it was filmed in 2019, at least once a week we could watch a show without the fear of the pandemic.

We got to watch Crystal Methyd be confused by Mother Ru bringing up El DeBarge in every episode due to her mullet, some stunning runways from the likes of Gigi Goode, Jan constantly being safe and Heidi N Closet having her name changed every other week.

What did affect the show was the reunion and grand finale, filmed a couple of weeks before the end of the season with the finale usually in front of an audience.

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This makes season 12 unique as they had to have everything over Zoom with Jaida Essence Hall being crowned as the winner.

The Undoing

In this whodunnit psychological drama, Hollywood A-listers, Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman star as husband and wife couple, Jonathan and Grace.

Their lives get turned upside down when the heinous murder of Elena Alves takes place in the community, leaving viewers to guess who had enough motive to commit the crime.

The mini-series takes you through twists and turns before piecing the puzzle together in the last episode.

In adapting the book, writer-producer David E. Kelley turned the story into a whodunnit that, at various points, casts suspicion on everyone from Grace and Jonathan’s 12-year-old son to her menacing father to Elena’s grieving husband to Grace.

Blood & Water

Blood & Water premiered on Netflix in May and it immediately became a hit with fans worldwide.

Just a month after its release, Netflix confirmed the series has been renewed for a second season.

Though it’s not yet confirmed when the second series will commence, fans, including Gabrielle Union and her husband, retired NBA star, Dwyane Wade, are waiting for the new season.

“I JUST was talking about #BloodAndWater during a pitch today!! Me and @DwyaneWade are anxiously awaiting season 2!!” tweeted Union.

The six-part series revolves around Puleng (played by Ama Qamata), a high school girl whose sister, Phumele, was abducted as part of a human trafficking network shortly after she was born.

Puleng gets invited to a party of Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema), a popular athlete studying at Parkhurst College, a prestigious school in Cape Town.

After Wade (Dillon Windvogel), a new acquaintance, points out their resemblance, Puleng starts to suspect that Fikile is her sister. In a quest to find out if Fikile is indeed her sister, Puleng transfers to the elite school.

While trying to solving the puzzle, Puleng discovers the mystery of her missing sister is not the only secret her friends and family keep.

Crash Landing On You

One of South Korea’s biggest television successes kept us all on the edge of our seats with this story.

It was directed by Lee Jeong-hyo and featured Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Kim Jung-hyun, and Seo Ji-hye.

Crash Landing On You is about a South Korean chaebol heiress who, while paragliding in Seoul, South Korea, is swept up in a sudden storm and crash-lands in the North Korean portion of the DMZ, and meets a captain in the Korean People's Army. Over time, they fall in love, despite the divide and dispute between their respective countries.

The series aired on tvN in South Korea and on Netflix worldwide from December 14, 2019, to February 16, 2020. It is the highest rated tvN drama and the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history.

It is also the perfect production to start with if you want to venture into K-Dramas.

Lovecraft Country

One of the last new shows to premiere at the tail-end of 2020, Lovecraft Country, became one of the most talked-about online. It is based on and serves as a continuation of the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff.

The show became a cultural phenomenon for the way it positioned black people in the horror genre. The show tackling various horror sub-genres while still telling a thought-provoking character-based story.

The show also didn’t shy away from interweaving racism during the Jim Crow era in America.

Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors gave award-winning performances with the show being hailed as one of the best shows to debut in 2020.

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