By Onyinye Ugwu
In 2018, one would think that television programs filled with predictable, caricatural, theatrical and overly dramatic plot twists would be less than successful. Telenovelas like On The Other Side of The Wall, Gangaa and The Promise, however, are proving that school of thought wrong. More than a handful of Latin America programming including Prisoners of Love, You Are Mine and Waiting For Love have become households favourites in Nigeria and it is not hard to see why.
While many of these shows generally recycle the same storylines and actors, there is something about these Latin American tales that Nigerians find addictive. What is this something? What is this thing that can compel Nigerians to dedicate their time, attention and allegiance to their television screens daily? To truly comprehend this elusive phenomenon, we must first understand that the Telenovela appeal is not a function of one factor but a perfect combination of several factors. This perfect recipe can be referred to as the “evasion magic mix”.
The first part of the magic mix is the fact that Telenovelas are the perfect blend of Nollywood and Hollywood. There is a thrill that Telenovelas give the everyday Nigerian viewer that is not in the format of Nollywood or Hollywood movies. There are elements in the larger than life scenarios and over the top characters depicted in Telenovelas which every Nigerian can relate to, while there are other unrelatable elements that serve as a form of evasion or escapism for the viewer.
The ability to exist in a world different from yours, if not for a couple of minutes, but still identify with certain parts of your own world can be a truly satisfying one. This brings us to the very next ingredient of the magic mix; satisfaction. Hollywood series, even when they are supposed to be comical, usually seem to be driving home some sort of intellectual proposition or the other. With Nollywood series, there’s usually a very visible moral lesson that the program is positioned to teach. The average Nigerian can escape all these agendas when watching a Telenovela and simply be satisfied with the melodramatic characters in their English dubbed dialogue.
Since they made their debut on television screens across Nigeria some 26 years ago, Telenovelas have continued to garner a faithful following in Nigeria. Video Entertainment companies like MultiChoice, through their DStv and GOtv platforms, have also played a very significant role in ensuring that Nigerians get the latest episodes and Telenovela series as they are being shown around the world. DStv’s EVA and Telemundo channels, for example, have continued to churn out popular telenovelas like Twist of Fate, Lodestar, Zuba, My Heart beats for Lola, Manuel and Silvana, Iron Rose and Secret Love. These shows have stepped into their own as both pop culture phenomena and topical issues of debate amongst their fans. From dramatic crying scenes to romantic moments featuring sculpted men and women, Telenovelas seem to have it all and Nigerians want it all.
Telenovela fans can tune into Star Life, Zee World, Zambezi Magic, Telemundo, Fox Life and Eva on DStv and GOtv to explore and enjoy a vast selection of telenovelas from around the globe.
Telemundo (DStv Channel 118 & GOtv channel 14)
On The Other Side Of The Wall (Mon- Fri at 6 pm)
Prisoners Of Love (Mon-Fri at 9 pm)
Zee World (DStv Channel 166 & GOtv channel 25)
Twist of Fate (Mon-Sun at 7pm)
Gangaa (Mon-Sun at 8 pm)
The Promise (Mon – Sun at 9 pm)
Fox Life (DStv Channel 126 & GOtv channel 20)
Lodestar (Mon- Fri at 5:35 pm)
You Are Mine (Mon-Fri at 9 pm)
Star Life (DStv Channel 167 & GOtv channel 23)
Waiting for Love (Mon-Fri at 8 pm)
EVA (DStv Channel 141 & GOtv channel 13)
A Que No Me Dejas (I Dare You To Leave) (Mon-Fri at 3 pm)
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