Dahlia's second seasonSunday, July 04, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
SCREENWRITER, playwright, actress and media personality Dahlia Harris is unwavering in her commitment to provide quality Jamaican content for television.
Following the overwhelming success of her dramas Ring Games and Love and Dancehall, Harris is ready to hit local television with the second season of her production Thicker Than Water come August 14.
Harris first penned the play which ran on local stages back in 2013. Such was the response that she was encouraged to adapt and take to the small screen the following year. That first season comprised five episodes and, according to Harris, a second season was always on the cards.
“It was always something on the table but other things just came into the picture. However, now that TVJ is seeking to double its local content, the time was just right for the second season of Thicker Than Water. It doesn't hurt that fans of the show's first season were always asking for a continuation of the battle between my character Kimberly and the character played by Shantol Jackson.”
Harris shared that season two of the office drama moved to the company's head office, with a slate of new characters. She however noted that persons who missed the first season will be able to follow season two but advised that they should not miss any of the coming season as it is filled with dramatic and surprising plot twists.
“At the core of the story is Kimberly's quest to become the head of the company. She has worked long and hard. Things change with the unexpected appearance of the CEO's long lost son. There begins the battle for control. What we see is the whole thing of inter-office relationships. We explored themes and issues including sexual harassment, classism, colourism and general human relations. If you missed the first season you won't be at sea with season two. But don't blink, because the things that happen in this season are simply exciting,” she said.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Harris is committed to raising the bar for local productions and striving for international appeal. One way in which she tries to achieve the latter is by including international actors in her cast. For season two of Thicker Than Water her pick is Nollywood star Kenneth Okolie.
“I have been getting a lot of calls for the next season of Ring Games but trust me, when Thicker Than Water starts I guarantee that they will be just as involved. One of the big attractions is Nigerian Kenneth Okolie. Jamaican audiences know him quite well from the comedy The Royal Hibiscus Hotel and features on Netflix. If you recall, we brought in Troy Crossfield from Canada for Ring Games. It is part of the effort to expand our market with a more global look and feel. I feel like these guys bring a difference to the set because of their experience, especially with an episodic series. Each time they come they are able to share their knowledge. It is always about growing and sharing with our local actors, and we do the same with them.”
The challenges of bringing a local production to the small screen were amplified by the current global health crisis. Harris, her cast and crew were forced to abide by all the protocols in order to get the project off the ground.
“Season one was not as sophisticated as this one — that was only five episodes with six characters. This is now 12 episodes with over a dozen characters. Then there was COVID. We had to ensure that there was daily testing and that everyone was negative. During the casting process, one character was cast four times because persons were coming down with the virus. I have to pay tribute to the cast who had to work in masks every single day and ensure that everything was smooth and, thankfully, once we started there was not one COVID case,” Harris noted.
General manager for radio and Television Jamaica (TVJ), Claire Grant noted that season two of Thicker Than Water fits in perfectly with the station's aim for local productions.
“We are on a mission to double, year on year, our production of dramas, sitcoms, reality shows from TVJ. The pandemic slowed us down but we are ready to roll now. We have many plans for this particular series locally and abroad and look forward to the trail it will set for the three other dramas set to be shot in the next nine months.”
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