A wave of TV series is strongly diluting Rwandans taste for movies, especially the Nigerian and Hollywood releases.
When one mentions ‘Prison Break’ or ‘24’ it is like a national language. Instantaneously, a conversation sparks on with those watching the current episodes updating their friends who may be lagging behind.
The emerging dominance of television serials is evidenced by owners of video stores testifying to an upsurge of borrowers and buyers shifting their preferences from movies.
DJ Gaston Muramutsa, an employee at Dream Video in Remera one of the store owners explained that serials sustain the feeling of suspense and keeps the viewers longing for more unlike movies whose time frame is already determined.
“Many of my customers ask for serials and are usually students. The reasons are that films are short but Series keep them expecting more. Series also contain a long follow up of love stories.”
Though some testify to the educative nature of Nigerian movies other don’t like them. Muramutsa also said that the strong urge for tantalising action packed movies has considerably diminished.
Chris Kaggwa Proprietor of Big Top Video store explained that unlike movies, series encompass various components.
“Series have a combination of genres like action, detective, love and they keep the suspense going and you take long to know the end.”
Series have been secondary to movies because the latter give an instant plot and enjoyment, besides, movies were easy to find.
But over the years the tables are turning in favour of series and video stores are increasingly stocking up to keep up with the increasing demand.
But more interestingly as Kaggwa explains is that there is a section of his customers who have taken these series as a teaching tool to grasp the English language.
“They [series] are more educative in terms of English speaking since the system has changed from French to English. With the Nigerian movies the English is not good,” he said.
Eugene Mutara, a journalist who follows ‘24’ and ‘Alias’ explained that series present complete episode unlike movies.
“In a movie there are some scenes that are incomplete unlike in series where they show you the complete development of almost every episode,” he said.
The owners of video stores divulged that among those that have captivated the public include Prison Break, Lost, 24, One Tree Hill, Smallville, Heroes, The 4400, Boston Legal, Lincoln Heights, Desperate Housewives, OZ, OC, and Friends.
For those conversant withFrench, their favourites are Mariena, Mari Mar, Rosalina, and Labelle Mer among others.
Some of those that keenly follow the developing episodes are drawn to them by the characters within the series.
Characters like Wentworth Miller [Michael Scofield- name of character] in Prison Break, Jack Bauer in 24 and Elizabeth Garner in Alias.
However, Terry Kitale, an employee at Tri Star home video at Union Trade Centre (utc) in Kigali city called a usual Rwandan culture of following something latest.
“In Rwanda, it is a culture that once something is new there is a mass following,” she said.
Mike Bwatete, an employee at Big Top disclosed that unlike movies the prices of series are not negotiable due to the huge customer demand.
“For renting it is between Rwf500 to Rwf1000 but the buying of films is between Rwf3000-Rwf5000 but for series it is fixed at Rwf5000,” he said.
Kaggwa also said that Nigerian movies are easily determined because they surround the same topics.
“These Nigerian movies are about the same thing. If it is not love it is the message of the gospel. You find that they are different types of movies but the same topics. Usually the topics are love gospel, and money,” he said.