Season 1

The Africa Channel

The inmates of Room 9

  1. Welcome To The Edge Of The World
  2. The Werewolf Of Zamampilo
  3. Chasing Dreams
  4. The Mermaid
  5. Ogun, God Of Iron
  6. Blood Seeds
  7. In The Shadow Of The iZulu
  8. Zombie Cops
  9. Mantis
  10. Voodoo Warehouse
  11. Faceless
  12. Room 666
  13. Dreamcatcher

Alice Kunene - Zethu Dlomo

Gabriel Harkness - David Butler

Solomon Onyegu - Anthony Oseyemi

Ruby Prins - Angela Ludek

Kat Harkness - Elné Pretorius

Buffy The Vampire


Welcome To The Edge Of The World

In the African country of New Azania, ambitious female detective Alice is assigned to work with the team of Room 9, also known as the basement. Her first case is that of killings believed to be the work of the African boogeyman, the Tokoloshe.

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The Werewolf Of Zamampilo

Something is roaming the night, ripping victims to shreds with roars and screams aplenty.

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Chasing Dreams

Blind researcher Ruby has a vision of a young girl being killed and the body shows up in a remote town later. A faith healer seems to be responsible, but Alice has her doubts.

The only real genre elements to this police procedural storyline are the visions that Ruby has, none of them enough to stop the crimes, just enough to make sure that Room 9's team investigate them. A narrative device, in other words.

Sadly, the murderer and their motivation is obvious from the first minute that they appear on screen and there are no surprises along the way. Considering the ease with which she was captured, the ease with which Alice escapes is less surprising than it ought to be.


The Mermaid

Young boys are being killed, boys whose only outlet in life was the swimming pool they attended. Some believe there is a mermaid at work, but can the team evade her song for long enough to confirm that?

This episode works hard at keeping an open mind on whether the mermaid actually exists or not, despite the fact that every single member of the team hears her song and is affected by it to one extent or another. After that, it hardly seems worth the effort.

The sequence in which a second victim is drowned in a small barrel is really well done and effective, despite being really simple.

Like its main character, the show needs to come down off the fence on the subject of the supernatural.


Ogun, God Of Iron

Solomon's past comes back to bite him when the latest case features a mask that has the ability to make the wearer's strongest fears come to life.

It's nice to get some backstory on smooth operator Solomon and the mask is a nice mcguffin> The contrast between the brutality of the past and the unreality of the visions is strong, but did the visions have to be so dull and predictable?

A patchy entry into the show.


Blood Seeds

Pregnant women are dying, their deaths granting immortality to a witch and her partner.

What could have been a straight story of murder and immortality with a nice line in that one of the perpetrators is reluctant (to say the least) gets muddied in the telling and loses a lot of goodwill for being completely unbelievable in the way that the pregnant women go missing from a maternity clinic without anyone even noticing.


In The Shadow Of The iZulu

A ruined hotel provides a refuge for the city's down and outs, but only if they can bring in enough stolen goods to keep a horrific end at bay.

The terror behind all of this may be a simple vampire, but this episode does a good job of building up the tension by focusing on the plight of one of the potential victims as much as it does on the investigation, a whole lot more in fact.

The poverty and desperation are palpable and believably rendered, creating a gritty background for the plot to play out against, making this probably the best episode of the show to date.


Zombie Cops

The slur of 'Zombie cops' has followed Alice ever since she joined the team in Room 9, but when zombies are involved in bank robberies, the name becomes apt.

The use of the Guy Fawkes mask that has been adopted around the world by protestors gives this episode a touch of relevance and immediacy. Personal involvement comes in the shape of the Ruby's relationship to the perpetrator of the crimes and the fact that Alice's estranged husband is bitten by a zombie and thus possibly infected.

That makes for a lot of elevated angst in the team, but the police procedural side of the story is flawed, most especially in the muddled showing of the team taking down the final heist.

The zombie makeup's pretty good though.



Young and wealthy men are being seduced and then slaughtered. Alice is more interested in her ex-husband's slow descent into potential zombieism.

Choosing a praying mantis instead of a black widow spider can't hide the fact that this is an old story that has been used before and doesn't have much else going for it. Having Solomon targeted by the monster ups the tension a little, but the focus on Alice's husband and Harkness's comatose wife dilutes things immensely.

And then right at the end some Americans appear out of nowhere to force the mantis to be handed over to them in a very confusing postscript.


Voodoo Warehouse

Kat takes up with Zulu Rock band Voodoo Warehouse, not knowing that they gain their success from sacrificing virgins at secret gigs; gigs like the one they have just set up.

This is a bit different. Once again the genre element is almost incidental aside from Ruby being able to 'read' the echoes of Kat's conversations in various locations, which actually doesn't get the team anywhere. Only policework and a handy hit off a traffic camera lead to a conclusion.

Putting Kat at the heart of the story exposes Elné Pretorius' limitations as an actress, which had only been hinted at before. She never comes across as convincing whether vamping it up, admitting she's a virgin or being afraid.

David Butler gets to add parental fear to his list of expressions, but to be honest they all the look the same and he refuses to take his coat off even for the potential death of a daughter. Alice's ongoing issues with her husband are less irritating this time around, taking a less predictable path. The band don't actually do anything other than ride around in a van. Is this what they call success in music these days?

Once again, the big action climax is fluffed and a total let down.



A villain from Harkness' past comes back with the power to change the way he looks and mimic anyone, including the crew from Room 9. How can the team fight when they don't know who to trust?

The source of the shapeshifting power is somewhat mundane, but the show does some interesting things with the power itself, pitting the team against each other, but also tapping into the feelings that they have for each other. The story doesn't always go quite where you're expecting it to.

It doesn't quite make as much sense as it ought to (copying Mrs Harkness is one thing, but how did they arrange to have the real Mrs Harkness moved out of the room?) and the climax isn't as exciting as it ought to be, but for once the show comes up with something that combines both the threat and the character stories in a neat and satisfying way.


Room 666

A priest of Harkness' acquaintance takes a young girl hostage. Room 9 swing into action when it becomes clear that the baby is possessed by a demon. Alice, though, has a hard time believing that.

One thing that ROOM 9 has consistently failed at is action sequences and this episode does nothing to dispel that. Seige situations are inherently tense and dramatic, but the actions of the unbelievably gung-ho military officer and the constant media intrusion turn it into something that teeters dangerously on the edge of farce.

That said, there are some nice touches (the baby strangling its own mother to stop them moving her, the sight of the demon through the camera) and for once Alice's issues with the identity of the threat comes from wider considerations rather than just some stubborn unwillingness to believe.

The early section with Solomon trying to make up for shooting Ruby and Alice trying to come to terms with her own actions with the doppelganger are nice, as well, giving a more human face to the characters and the team. The results of storming the hut in which the demon is located are surprising and there is a twist that sets up the finale well enough.

This episode neatly encapsulates ROOM 9 - some nice ideas, but let down in the execution.



Harkness is still in a coma, so Alice and Solomon decide to enter his mind through a dangerous machine to bring him out, facing a demon in the process.

Going into the mind of comatose patients is a tired old storyline, but ROOM 9 manages to come up with a couple of new twists to freshen it up slightly, such as the duels with the demon residing within.

That said, the presence of a couple of minor characters are completely superfluous, the conversations with someone who has already gone on are predictable and the twist at the end is ripped straight out of TWIN PEAKS.

The show has never managed to really make its unusual location (for european and US viewers anyway) and the characters have only come alive to varying levels of success. It might be nice to see the show given a chance to improve, but then again, it might be better to just leave it at this.






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