Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Trevor Noah has pulled out at the last minute from hosting the MAMAs 2016, due to 'a severe upper respiratory infection'

City Press reviews: Uzalo – too much hype, too little screen value

2015-02-11 12:24

Johannesburg - Much-hyped new telenovela Uzalo premiered on SABC1, trending nationally to an outpouring of mostly love, but also a good bit of meh.

The epic tale of two families and two babies switched at birth – pitting church against crime – was produced by Gugu Zuma-Ncube and Duma Ndlovu and stars national darling Leleti Khumalo as well as a pack of new faces. It goes head-to-head with pay channel Mzansi Magic’s popular drama Isibaya in the 20:30 slot.

Early opinions from viewers could be summed up as:

We kind of agree, but we’re not as convinced as the show’s vociferous fans.

Uzalo has a whole lot of heart, but it was not nearly as good as the hype leading to its premiere suggested it would be. It has some serious problems with delivering consistent, strong screen value.

After the epic baby-switch opening, the ensuing fight scene was hollow. It started well enough with a speeding and screeching BMW. But when it came to the crunch, the beating of some poor guy, there was no, er, crunch. A staged fight without kicking and punching sound effects looks like a staged fight and not the real thing.

We were also disappointed by the church scene, which featured the pastor’s family and pretty much no-one else. A few more extras please.

The father-son story line featuring patriarch Muzi Xulu’s conflict with his son Mxolisi (played by talented newcomer Naymaps Maphalala) shows plenty of promise.

The charming pastor Melusi Mdletshe (played by Bheki Mkhwane) is not too bad, but his dialogue needs to change from Isibaya to Uzalo. The man speaks as if he is singing. It might have worked on Isibaya but it’s starting to be one-dimensional.

Leleti Khumalo did not disappoint either as his wife. Her mild-mannered character is full of grace. At least for now!

Another interesting storyline is that of a young lady, Cindy, whose mother is ill and a diagnosis cannot be determined.

But neither of us is convinced that we will be quitting Isibaya. Our friends and housemates were angry with us for switching over to Uzalo because they were ardent Isibaya fans.

Gcina Mhlope’s narration and the beauty of the KwaMashu setting are things of joy.

For us to make the switch, Uzalo is going to have to offer more consistent performance and much sharper screen value. For now we’ll stay tuned in to see if it ups its game.

Read more on:    sabc 1  |  soapies  |  tv  |  isibaya
NEXT ON CHANNEL24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Recent News

We had a quick chat with Penny Rider about taking that all important first star baker award in the new season of SA Bake Off. Read More »

A source told Channel24 that the SABC won’t see another episode of 7de Laan if there’s no signed contract by Monday. Read More »

inside channel 24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.