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Michael Afenfia: Which is the Better TV Show? Forbidden Or Ajoche?



The other day, I walked into an argument between my kids. I really didn’t want to be dragged into that particular discussion, but the moment they sighted me in the living room, I knew there was no escaping. As far as they were concerned, my addiction to television and the fact that I write stories more than qualified me to be the decider on the matter.

That was how I became the arbiter, charged with the responsibility of deciding which was the better TV show between Forbidden and Ajoche, two shows that have been showing one after the other every week night on DSTV channel 151 for some months now.

It was a strange argument they were having really, because these are two different kind of soaps, but my boys felt the need for the comparison, because maybe something about the way I pick and choose what shows to follow and how critical I can be sometimes have rubbed off on them. But that is a story for another week.

While Forbidden is a contemporary series set in present-day Nigeria, Ajoche is a period piece set in a time I cannot decipher with exactitude – although judging from the references to white people, the costumes and setting of the drama, it is safe to conclude that the writers of the series must have had the period between the 18th and 19th century Africa in mind to situate their story.

I say this advisedly, because the cast are dressed in loincloths, are involved in crude battles and live in mud huts without electricity. I know some of you reading this are thinking that you know places in modern-day Nigeria that are still like that, even now in this world of glass houses, high-rises and skyscrapers. Again, that is a story for another week.

Forbidden has a cast of veterans, known faces and a smattering of newbies. Ajoche is mostly kids, some unknown and not-too-popular actors and a handful of old-timers. Forbidden features some notables like Norbert Young, Tina Mba, Theresa Edem Isemin and Kunle Remi, from whom one would have expected more in terms of role interpretation and fluidity.

Sola Fosudo, Rakiya Attah and Charles Etubiebi are the standouts for me, but there’s really not much they can do to save an average script. The credit roll lists researchers, but I wonder what kind out research was done to come up with the office scenes and dialogues, especially those between a very stiff Kunle Remi and an ultra-plastic Toni Tones.

Ajoche, on the other hand, stars Femi Branch, Hilda Dokubo and Keira Hewatch as some of its more well-known cast members, but even the child actors like Nifemi Lawal who plays the young Alechenu is so believable, some of the guys from Forbidden should be taking acting lessons from him. With every episode of Forbidden that I have seen, someone acts so badly, that the novice in me just wants to reach inside the TV screen and pull them out.

I find the storyline in Forbidden weak, forced and unbelievable. All that fake accent jars the ears and I’m hoping that at the next major programme-scheduling meeting of Multichoice bigwigs, they would consider a more entertaining or engaging use of that primetime slot.

Again, to contrast both shows, except for a few contradictions and inconsistencies in Ajoche, like how people and fashion manage to stay exactly the same despite the passage of time, the acting rings true. The characters come across as believable, as you grow to love or loathe them. The kids in the show certainly have a bright future in acting, should they and their parents decide to make acting a more permanent gig.

Ajoche is good. Tunde Aladese and her team of writers deserve more than just a perfunctory accolade. So, I’m sure by now you can tell what team I belong to and who won the argument.

Photo Credit: © Noriko Cooper |

A proud son of the Ijaw nation and lover of Nigeria, Michael Afenfia associates with everything good and exciting about Nigeria. His ongoing work, the Mechanics of Yenagoa, is published on his blog every fortnight. So far, he has authored three critically acclaimed novels and a number of nonfiction writing, including a biography. He is @MichaelAfenfia on social media and can be reached via [email protected]


  1. Baybie

    July 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Ajoche is my fav too

  2. Joy

    July 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I love Ajoche……like we are all hooked in my family….the acting is so believable…
    Forbidden z ok….and yes….am so glad Toni Tones character got killed off….she was borderline irritating….and please….dt waist trainer shd be thrown away….

    • Ngozi A

      July 6, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Really, ToniTones was my fav character actually, her and Charles Etubiebi, I’m hoping her character is coming back. Can’t wait for Charle’s character to become rich and show them pepper.

  3. africhic

    July 6, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    I LOVE Ajoche.

  4. Dunsgirl

    July 6, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Ajoche is far better. The Forbidden storyline is just bland. It falls flat in comparison to Battleground and Hush. Meanwhile, what is it with Multichoice soaps and all the ladies having full faced make up with perfect brows, all day, waking up from sleep with make-up, mourning with make-up. Haba the directors should please fix it.

  5. Wsb

    July 7, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Ajoche all day, every day. The lighting, the costumes, the storyline, the acting…simply amazing. William Benson as General Apeh is menacing and mesmerizing. Lota as Oofun is insidious, the kid actors are amazing considering the car crash that usually ensues when Naija kid actors feature in movies. Ajoche is different and standout. Forbidden feels like a rehash of too many wannabe movies. Sometimes going back to the basics is the best and the same is true for Ajoche!

  6. Osita Chinedu

    November 24, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I love this (critique) as I share your views about the both shows. I commend the makers of Ajoche (cast and crew); aside the stagnant age on some of the characters like Oufuni, I guess its a great production in general. Casting, role interpretation, costume, setting, diction, oh, so cool.

  7. DAJE

    May 30, 2019 at 11:26 pm


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