In a very short time, The Hostel series had changed the way we looked at local TV, achieved what no other show had, a great cast, the right TV station, fan base and a quality production to top it up.
Not that this was the greatest story ever told or the finest acting.
In fact, some critics always had issues with the show’s writers and their depiction of a modern University hostel, but that aside, The Hostel enjoyed a cult following in a short time and thus making other reputable productions like NBS’ Destiny or NTV’s runaway hit Kakibe Ki a total joke.
Its season one that got many of us glued with a rich cast that included the breed of actors like Michael Waweyo, Mathew Nabwiso, Dickson Zizinga and Danielle Kahunde among others. The producers also pushed the envelope with a few surprises like the inclusion of former Obsession dancer Hellen Lukoma, comedians, Daniel Omara, Richard Twangye and Isac Kadzu.
With such an expensive cast, the hostel easily rode into the hearts of many local TV lovers that embarked on leaving jobs early to catch up with their favorite residents at 7:30pm.
By season two, things had changed; the storyline was literally out of order that we could barely tell to whom it belonged to.
When the show screened the third episode of their second season, it was visible they had lost some of their star quality, and as you could expect, more new faces.
That’s when the beginning of the end started for the series, by the end of 2012, the show had allegedly taken a Christmas leave that in turn lasted more than three months.
It was later revealed that the Fast Track (the show producers) were operating in loses and since they could barely breakthrough, they had sold shop to NTV.
During the break, NTV looked for alternatives in Kenyan series Mali, Noose of Gold and Demi Gods. They also tried their hand at yet another drama production in form of Deceptions.
Deception took the 7:30pm slot that was originally enjoyed by The Hostel.
It came with a rather easy story we have known for a long time – the mother in law dealing with the daughter that has failed to give her son a baby for a long time.
Much as the acting of some actors was lacking, the polarizing performance of Sarah Kasawuzi’s Mama Nalweyiso and Pretty Katende’s Lillian were simply exceptional.
When Patra and company came back for the third season, the ground had changed, they had to fight and win back viewers they had lost to the new drama and unlike years back where they enjoyed the 7:30 timeslot, this time they had to battle for late TV viewers at 10pm with the incomparable Agataliiko Nfuufu on Bukedde.
But that wasn’t all; the entire cast had received a makeover that saw the inclusion of Kenyan actors and Neo-soul singer Maurice Kirya – which also affected the main story.
According to a viewer, Winnie Nakate, Season two and three were out of the Hostel most of the times even then the show continued moving with the same title. She even blames the producers for intentionally depicting hostels as brothels opposed to what they really are.
“Kids in hostels are wild but they don’t bring men to their rooms, in fact not even their men would allow meeting them in the rooms,” she says.
Nakate notes that the show was inconsistent on many scenarios including the joint parties, thrown by parents and students together on the famous show were more fictional than real.
Reknown film critic, Polly Kamukama though thinks a lot of factor affected the show. In his view, the trio of Omara, Twangye and Kadzu had pulled many people to the show and thus, their departure must have taken the fans with them.
“They had also established a keen fanbase, so once they fell off the cast, a lot of fans went along with them. Then there was that unexpected break at the start of last year; it was a disapointment to fans most of whom quickly found solace in Deception. But their storyline too needs serious redress, with more emphasis on the adult life of the original cast.”
Very few even realized the third season ended, its like it just vanished off the screens though word from the show producers is that it’s coming back for a fourth season soon.
Other viewers argue that unlike Deceptions whose storyline is almost a clear adaptation of one of the famous letter from Tittie and Omulongo Babirye’s shows, The Hostel had lost touch with the real Uganda.