Production company: Curious Pictures
Written by: Barry Berk
align=justifyDirected by: Barry Berk, Catherine Stewart and John Trengrove
align=justifyScreened: Sundays on SABC 3 at 20:00
align=justifyAs a little girl, my favourite TV programme was definitely The A-Team (American release 1983). In those days this award winning show was screened after my official bedtime and I had to use all my powers of persuasion to convince my parents to allow me this indulgence.
align=justifyThe A-Team told the story of four Vietnam vets framed for a crime they did not commit and how they helped the innocent while they ran from the military. If I had to recall any favourite storylines or episodes I would not be able to do so. I do, however, have fond memories of the cast.
align=justifyThe right people at the right time
align=justifyWhat makes a TV experience memorable? For me the magic happens when the right people come together at the right time. In true “I love it when a plan comes together” style, as Hannibal (George Peppard) of The A-Team would have said.
align=justifyThere have been numerous memorable ensemble casts that graced our screens. Some of my personal favourites include: The witty foursome of the Golden Girls, the courtroom pizzazz of the legal eagles of LA Law, the bathroom sharing, knee tickling bunch of Ally McBeal, the femme fatales of Sex and the City and the desperate antics of Desperate Housewives.
align=justifyThe LAB 2
align=justifyNearer to home, the locally produced drama series The LAB 2 (now in its second season) boasts a brilliant cast. The first season (2006) saw the programme ranking in 12 South African Film and TV Awards (SAFTA). Casting directors, Moonyeen Lee and Gabi Cirillo walked away with the award for best ensemble in a TV drama. SABC 3 reports that The LAB 1 was nominated at the Monte Carlo Television Awards for Best Produced Drama.
align=justifyGood news is that most of the original cast returns, including Nambitha Mpulwana as Pearl, Mothusi Magano as Mingus, Fana Mokoena as Jaws and Graham Hopkins as Monty. Joining the team is the talented and versatile Shannon Esra (Hard Copy and Snitch). Also look out for Shoki Mokgapa as Pearl’s secretary Thumi. The highlight of season two is the wonderful and truthful character development.
align=justifyAs main plot The LAB still dissects wheeling and dealing in the corporate world. The second season, however, sees a stronger emphasis on romantic and personal relationships. Die hard fans of season one may enjoy the focus shift (I predict that this will be the case) or may miss the boardroom storylines. Most of the story lines are adult in nature. Thus, be warned that The Lab is not suitable for family viewing.
align=justifyMy only concern is the scheduling. Even though the show is highly entertaining and could stand its ground against movie blockbusters on other channels, The Lab to my mind is just not Sunday night entertainment. Hopefully the scheduling will not harm the show’s chances for a well deserved third season.
align=justifyMy advice: Put on the PVR and view later. This sometimes gutsy portrayal of corporate SA will have you coming back for more.