Generations: As much presence as a pot plant

2014-12-02 12:02

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Granted, Mfundi Vundla didn’t have a lot of time to remake South Africa’s most-watched TV show from scratch. But that’s not enough of an excuse to justify the lameness that viewers were subjected to when they tuned in to last night’s first episode of Generations The Legacy on SABC1.

If you’re going to fire a pretty strong cast of actors, you better replace them with real talent.

Aside from stalwarts Connie Ferguson and Rapulana Seiphemo, that was not the case. With their characters Karabo and Tau “back from London”, Connie and Raps took to their old roles seamlessly. But it wasn’t enough to lift, hold and balance the terribly stilted acting from the new and apparently inexperienced faces in the soap.

Besides Letoya Makhene as Tshidi and Manaka Ranaka as Lucy – both delicious troublemakers with great acting chops that hint at the return of the “uber-bitch” days of Ntsiki – the rest of the newbies are shockingly vacant – absent facial expressions and about as much presence as a pot plant.

Executive producer Vundla displayed better acting during the press conference, during which he claimed to be the victim of extortionist actors before he jetted off to an overseas holiday to recover.

In the new Generations, one sibling wants to take control of the other sibling’s business. The one is a secret illegitimate son and real heir to a media empire. The other gets out of jail and will have to reconnect with the daughter who grew up without her.

One family is stinking rich. The other is very poor. The poor one, having had all her wealth stripped from her, will presumably suffer for a while because she is really evil, but will scheme and claw her way back to wealth.

Say stop when you’ve seen any of this before on Isidingo, Muvhango, Scandal!, Rhythm City, Isibaya, Zabalaza or Rockville.

Karabo and Tau aside, viewers also got to see e.tv’s Sello Maake ka Ncube, now in Scandal!, who used to be Archie Moroka – although just in numerous photos. Who knows if he’s even being paid for the use of his images and likeness.

Generations was groundbreaking when it started two decades ago. During its moment of existential crisis, it had a chance to reinvent itself and be that again. Yet the first episode offered a Generations that is emulating instead of leading. There’s nothing about the new Generations that feels new.

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