The new season of Rockville is said to introduce new cast, new themes and a double whammy of villains. The only thing that is not new is the redundancy of writing for social media.
I was eagerly awaiting the new season of Rockville. Not that the show is the best drama series on tv but because for a long time it was the best of what we have at the moment. The cast is wonderful, the writing was tolerable and the overall show was well packaged.
Seeing our beloved Connie Ferguson in a departure role from her famous Karabo, tv presenter Boity holding her own against seasoned actors like Lehasa Moloi, Shona Ferguson and others, as well as the fact that they all look so good — the show was fun to watch.
Now they have ruined it and I doubt I will be sticking around too long for this new season. Word is that Season 4 of the show will feature a storyline about 'Blessers'. Seriously! Just when you thought this blesser trend was fading, Rockville is jumping on the bandwagon. WHY?!
Where is the originality? Blessers are the rage at the moment so the writers of Rockville couldn't be bothered to think out of the box. Most scriptwriters in SA have started their careers on soapies and the influence is starting to show.
Rockville's credit list include writers, Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Gwydion Beynon, Linda Bere, Chisanga Kabinga, Pamela Power and Sibusiso Mamba. Six people, and not forgetting the input of producers, but not one thought maybe we can do better than pandering.
Perhaps this is a formula that works for Ferguson Films so they don't wanna take risks. The production company is fast becoming synonymous with jumping on bandwagons for storylines. Another of their big social media fodder drama, iGazi, can never be accused of being the most original concept on tv.
Much like what the new season of Rockville will be doing, iGazi's plot, while compelling in parts, is nothing but a pandering twitter trend bait. Snakes and witchcraft were all the rage and that is what you got when the show hit our screen. I stopped watching after about 4 episodes.
Social media pandering works for Mzansi Magic. The highest rated show on Mzansi Magic will likely pull around 1.2 million viewers so ratings are hardly the crowning glory for any Mzansi Magic show. BUT the channel's standard has somewhat become judged by social media reaction. A successful show on Mzansi Magic, is a show that trends.
Television is a business. iGazi is the number one rated drama series on Mzansi Magic and I am certain Rockville will do well for the channel as well. However, one hopes that as we open up the industry and introduce more opportunities for our people to tell stories, we could be a little bit more creative.
There are so many complex and interesting stories that we can tell. Life, our South African life, is so much better and bigger than talking snakes and blessers. We can tell complex and dynamic stories. We can create rich characters that are nuanced.
It is unfortunate that our tv shows, not only look the same and feature the same faces all the time, they are now jacking content from social media trends. We can do way better than this. We are more talented than this.
Alas, will Rockville become yet another soap opera masquerading as a stand alone drama series? The show has earned its keep. It had a biting freshness but will it wither into redundancy like the Twitter fads it will now be drawing into its plot?
Let's hope I am wrong and the writers will introduce some surprising angle to the blesser thing beyond just a young girl having sex with a rich old man because she wants nice things.
Season 4 of Rockville starts Sunday July 10th at 20h00 on Mzansi Magic.