If you've checked out what's to come on Netflix, get ready to have your mind blown. Aside from the totally obsession-worthy shows you've already seen a million times, they're getting pretty good at giving the public A+ original content. Such is the case with a quiet new series about to launch, Shadow. You may not have heard much of just yet (but you will), and by the looks of the trailer, it's hard to tell if Shadow is based on a true story or not. The answer is complicated.
There isn't a lot of information widely available about Shadow, which is odd, but as far as I can tell, it's not based on a true story. It's complicated because, much like South African star, Pallance Dladla, who plays Shadrach ‘Shadow’ Khumalo, the character was born in Soweto, Johannesburg and the show takes place in Johannesburg as well. Location and culture aside, that may be where the similarities end. The new series follows an ex-cop (Dladla), who doesn't feel pain after he was struck by lightning, which affected his nervous system. Sounds cool enough, but it gets better because in this town, there's crime, and justice that needs to be served by someone. This is where Shadow steps in as a vigilante of sorts to help and protect the powerless. It's a mix of superhero antics (which can't be based on a true story, obviously) and a thriller-based plot with international appeal.
The synopsis goes into further details stating:
"After being struck by lightning, a young man emerges from the shadows to become Jozi’s hero. Giving up his badge to pursue justice for those who can’t help themselves, Shadow is Mzansi’s new vigilante. Haunted by a tragic loss, an ex-cop with a rare inability to feel pain strikes out on his own to catch offenders who've eluded Johannesburg police."
While there are certainly aspects that could be based on real life experiences — and how lovely it would be to not feel pain and to use it to help others — this definitely sounds like more fiction than not. Writer and director Gareth Crocker said of the eight-episode series, it's a "fast-paced emotional thrill-ride, which, thanks to its exotic locations and international storylines, will appeal not only to African viewers but viewers all over the world." He went to add of the importance saying, "It’s a major endorsement of our studio. We hope this will help to open international doors, not just for Motion Story, but for other emerging film studios in Africa."
Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix’s vice president of international originals for Europe, Turkey and Africa, said, in a statement, "Great stories are universal, so we expect this gripping teen drama, with its view on contemporary high school life, to appeal to young adults from South Africa, as well as the rest of the world."
Though there hasn't been a lot of press for the new series, the talented cast alone is enough to give it a try. Dladla is joined by Khathu Ramabulana and Amanda Du-Pont. While Dladla is known for his work in soap drama Isibaya, Du-Pont (who plays Shadow's love interest) is a South African actress, television host, and model.
If you're in the mood for a new series to get into, Shadow sounds like the perfect weekend treat. Whether it's to check out a different landscape, or to live vicariously through vigilante-style justice, Shadow checks all the boxes. Plus, with the tagline "no pain, all gain," you'll feel like a total badass after watching.
Shadow premieres March 8 on Netflix.