Shuga 1 caused quite a stir with its frank portrayal of Nairob’s youth flashy and promiscuous lifestyle. It was thus no surprise that Shuga 2 was highly anticipated. It was shot last year and finally had its red carpet launch on February 10, 2012.
Its TV launch was symbolically set for Valentine’s day 2012 and these are my thoughts on the first episode.
I felt they got the scheduling wrong. I get the symbolism of Valentine’s Day but it was a bad day to pick since folk would be otherwise engaged. Champions League football resumed on the same day and this also pulled away audiences. The 2230 time slot is pretty late for your average viewer. They opted to premiere it on KBC (I guess for mass appeal) and KBC delayed transmission by 20 minutes so it finally aired at 2250.
So they picked wrong day, wrong time slot and wrong station to premiere it. Definitely not a great start.
The first episode was certainly less dramatic than Shuga 1. I wondered whether that was deliberate as a result of shocking many folk with Shuga 1.
I am unsure about the quality of some of the acting, scripting and directing and I felt that there were too many story lines competing for attention.
Shuga would not be Shuga without club scenes but in a 20 minute episode the girls went out on two nights. Overkill? In one of the club scenes there was randomly girl-on-girl dancing. I wondered as to how it furthered the story.
The sound tracks were overkill. Almost every scene had a sound track and that was pretty jarring.
Felt that V’s character could have been more expressive and less rigid. As for V’s ‘shagsmodo’ parents, I am lost at to what they are meant to portray. They are 101% at variance with V. Their casting and dialogue sequence is wanting. V’s use of Kiswahili with her parents also made their dialogue unreal. The lunch scene between V and her mum and the classroom and car scene between V and her dad could have been more emotional.
I was pretty impressed by Baby. I have seen her act at for years at Heartstrings as an unruly teenage girl who speaks Swa-English and I reckon she has transitioned brilliantly from stage to screen. I think Shuga 2 will be her big break.
In conclusion, V and Baby are the standout characters of episode 1. There was no standout male character. I felt that the director opted for a lot of movement over substance and that there were some scenes that could have been more tightly cut.
First episode I give it 5/10. You can watch it HERE. Waiting for Episode 2.
PS: Given that the cast and production house and most of the people involved with Shuga are pretty young and internet savvy one would have expected them to have a stronger online presence and dispense info well on social media. That is not the case. Up to to before it aired I was not sure if it would air on KBC, KTN or NTV. Even now I have no idea when episode two will air.
PS: From the credits I noted that Lupita Nyong’o is now Co-Director and that Alison Ngibuini is now an Associate Producer. Clearly there were demotions and promotions. I wonder what is the story!
I have watched Episode 2, 3 and 4.
I still rate it at 5/10.
I feel they crammed too many story lines into the plot and they are thus forced to rush the stories and not fully develop them. I still have issues with acting, scripting and also wardrobe and makeup.
But let it be clear that I appreciate the effort put into it and that I may also not be exactly the target audience.
GOD BLESS KENYA!