Flaunting suspense at every turn, the pilot episode of Shirley Frimpong Manso's "Shampaign" oozes potential with interesting characters to watch out for.
Directed by Shirley Frimpong-Manso, the series stars John Dumelo, Jot Agyeman, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Joselyn Dumas, Nana Aba Anamoah, Fred Amugi, Zynnell Zuh, Akorfa Adjeani-Asiedu, Anima Amisa Amoah among others.
The first season of the show debuted on Iroko TV on February 1, 2017, and I got to watch its pilot episode which can be described as slickly structured, boring in few scenes, confusing in some and tense in others.
But, there is something that can't be taken from "Shampaign," it is its ability to set several spinning plates in motion while promising an intriguing season.
In the first episode, Dumas as Nana is introduced as a strong and successful single mother, who is in the final days of her campaign to become the presidential candidate of a political party.
Her son gets into a fight at school, and her campaign team do everything possible to keep the news out of the media.
There is also the campaign manager Francis Peters (Chukwujekwu) who is married to Zynnell Zuh. However, they don't have a perfect marriage. His wife is cheating on him while he on the other hand, has a crush on Nana and even jerks off to her photos.
In one of the scenes, he demanded for a divorce from his wife on grounds of her infidelity.
There is also the interesting character of Jot Agyeman as the incumbent President. Despite his one-time scene appearance in the episode, he still presents an interesting character to watch out for.
Much of the credit goes to Dumas, who in this opening episode has already crafted a character worth tuning in for. While her character is still developing, her interpretation of Nana comes with an attitude befitting of an aspiring Presidential candidate with personal demons to fight.
The series doesn't start off as one that is instantly addictive, but it gets well-paced mid-way into the episode and shows off promising elements.
"Shampaign" is a series that comes with lots of drama as every major member of the campaign team appears to have a secret, hidden agenda or is being blackmailed.
In the first episode, few of the main characters make absolutely no impression whatsoever. They simply take up their roles like their major function is to rattle off memorized clunky lines, look slack-jawed when they receive an unexpected news, or pace around like Ghanaian version of Olivia Pope's gladiators in "Scandal."
"Shampaign" is a show in which people rarely sit down, there are a lot of walking-and-talking scenes as it focuses on the final campaigning days of a Presidential election - there are places to be, there are scandals to fix, there are votes to win, it is not a wonted series.
The first episode of "Shampaign" is not perfect, but it oozes potential and possesses all required to move on to the next episode.
There are seeds of something excellent in the pilot episode, one that is able to tell a character-driven story and bespeaks interest in creating a realistic smart and successful woman as a core character.
The final scene in which Nana and her campaign crew were stopped by police officers and an arrest was about to be made packs an intensity that indicates that the season will lay out an engaging spread of tension, intrigue and a dash of ultra-modern politics.
I am willing to give the political drama a chance to win me over more completely and you totally should.