Death by funeral

2014-12-07 08:30

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The first episode of Generations The Legacy, which aired on Monday, reminded me of the movie Death at a Funeral. You know you’re watching one thing, but it actually belies a much deeper truth.

It’s impossible to watch the SABC1 soap without wondering about the scandalous backstage drama that saw an entire lead cast axed. It taints everything.

Given that executive producer Mfundi Vundla is credited as ­co-writer on the first episode, it’s impossible to ignore his subliminal venting when characters spout things like: “He doesn’t want the media to be in charge of his legacy.” How over-the-top meta can it get?

Much of the “acting” on the reset soap is atrocious. Vundla promised a newer, younger cast. What viewers got was inexperienced actors looking like Madame Tussauds’ wax figures with moving lips.

Soap actors should know that their faces are their canvas and need to show a rainbow circle of emotions. Someone forgot to mention this fact to the new Generations actors.

Besides returning stars Connie Ferguson and Rapulana Seiphemo, who emote expertly, new actors are apparently only able to show viewers “I’m angry” or “I’m a good one”.

The most charismatic new addition and total scene-stealer is just-released jailbird troublemaker Lucy (Manaka Ranaka).

The first episode – from the title sequence to the credits – seemed old and boring.

It was a rushed assemblage of the kinds of characters, scenes, stories, daddy issues and even lines that viewers have seen before on Isidingo, Rhythm City, Scandal! and Muvhango.

What could have been a vibrant new start for fan-favourite Generations instead felt flat – like a death at a funeral.

Thinus Ferreira

After seeing the first episode of the new Generations, I am tempted to revert to the DA’s election advertisement campaign: Generations ayisafani nakuqala (it’s not the same).

– Siyabonga Sithole

The plot of Monday night’s episode just left most viewers baffled by the returns and fast-forwards.

As South Africans, we are far too compliant. How, 20 years on, are viewers still subjected to these mediocre, meandering story lines? It’s time we look at ourselves and ask what we deserve.

We need to improve our TV industry, or face series after series of this kind of low-quality fare. This is supposed to be South Africa’s top show, but it’s completely shameful.

Thembisile Dzonzi

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Why on earth would anyone want to replace the Generations theme, which had been calling us to the TV for so long?

That was the first jarring moment for me, but my raised eyebrows were soon interrupted by a frown settling on my forehead.

What is going on with that opening sequence? All silver, gold and black. All mechanical and techy, empty and soulless. What is that interrupting my frown? Ah, a sneer. Is it even possible to deliver a line with less emotion?

The new cast seemed to draw inspiration from the new title sequence – which in turn inspired the sanitised, underdressed spaza set that felt nothing like a spaza.

Picking this first episode apart is way too easy. So let’s focus on what went right.

The rescue plan was correct, shifting the action two years into the future accommodates any eventualities. Tau and Karabo are wonderful anchors. There are some really promising new baddies in the mix.

It’s clever to shoot on location while you quickly create the new sets – getting back on air as fast as possible.

I don’t think the show will lose viewers. It’ll do way better than Skeem Saam, which lost 3?million of the slot’s regulars in a month.

But when the score at the memorial is so sappy and the acting so dodgy that you’re grateful for an ad break featuring Desmond Dube selling death, then something’s not right.

Charl Blignaut

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