Busters of the bizarre
Science-fiction TV series have been the rage for a while in the US, but a new local supernatural drama series in the mould of Fringe enters uncharted territory.
The 13-part show, Room 9, with 48-minute episodes, is set to replace the soppy romantic drama series Shakespeare II: Gugu no Andile (Romeo & Juliet) on Thursday nights at 8.30pm.
It promises eerie happenings: domestic workers being killed by tokoloshes and cases being investigated by detectives with extra-sensory perception.
The production team - screen veterans Darrell Roodt and Athos Kyriakides, up-and-coming writers Zwelesizwe Ntuli and Thuso Sibisi and How To Steal 2 Million director Charlie Vundla - has been working on the series since the beginning of the year. It's being shot in Industria, Johannesburg.
The show is built around the New Azanian police department, which aims to solve bizarre supernatural cases other units have rejected.
Creator Roodt said the series is set in the future, and admitted that peculiar stories in Daily Sun had helped inspire him to begin writing the series.
"But I also like shows like Fringe and American Horror Story, for instance, and I thought it would be cool to stretch the boundaries locally," Roodt said.
While it looks like an odd fit (and a change in tack) for a channel like SABC 1, which screens shows such as Tshisa, Zone 14 and Montana in the 8.30pm slot, Roodt hoped the audience would be "hooked" by the fact that "it's also a police drama".
He said: "This is the first time something like this is being done, but the cast is exceptional and visually it's very interesting. I've had a blast."
Former No 1 Ladies Detective Agency actress Zethu Dlomo (who plays Alice Kunene) leads the principal cast, which also features David Butler (Gabriel Harkness), Anthony Oseyemi (Solomon Onyegu), Angela Ludek (Ruby Prins), Elne Pretorius (Kathrine Harkness), and Yonda Thomas (Monde Kunene).
This is Dv8 Films' most ambitious project yet - feature films have previously been their forte, with critically acclaimed films including How to Steal 2 Million, State of Violence, Shirley Adams and Izulu Lami-My Secret Sky.
Room 9 premieres on SABC 1 on November 8 at 8.30pm.