‘Summertide’ is a brilliantly cast family drama that mindfully deals with loss, love and hope

The Field family with Evangelina Hallock (Lucy), Frank Rautenbach (Martin Field) and Jan Combrink (Tristan) in ‘Summertide’. Picture: Supplied

The Field family with Evangelina Hallock (Lucy), Frank Rautenbach (Martin Field) and Jan Combrink (Tristan) in ‘Summertide’. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 29, 2024


M-Net has been hyping up “Summertide” since last year. The home-grown, multigenerational family drama, which will air for 52 weeks on the channel, is produced by powerhouse couple Corné and René van Rooyen from Red Letter Day Pictures.

If you are a fan of family dramas like “This is Us”, “A Million Little Things” or “Brothers & Sisters”, the series will leave you in your feels.

I got to catch a few episodes before the show’s première on Sunday. But don’t worry, there are no spoilers here.

There are no cliffhangers at the end of each episode. The story simmers with emotions running high as each character suppresses their pent-up anger and frustration.

To put viewers in the picture: Martin Field (Frank Rautenbach), a marine biologist, uproots the lives of his children – 16-year-old son Tristan (Jan Combrink) and 10-year-old daughter Lucy (Evangelina Hallock) - after the death of his wife, Julia (Amalia Uys).

Moving from Italy to False Bay is a difficult adjustment for everyone.

But Martin’s supportive parents, Wilma (Terry Norton) and Jack Field (Andre Jacobs), who is on the cusp of retiring as a naval commander, help offset some of the challenges by providing a comfortable home environment.

Martin’s younger brother, Gavin (Ty Keogh), hasn’t left home and mooches off his parents while living the laid-back lifestyle of a pro surfer and the town’s resident ladies' man.

As Martin works on establishing his business and, in so doing, getting his kids adjusted to life in the coastal town his late wife loved so much, he encounters people from his past and a few new townsfolk, too.

One such person is Rebecca Solomons (Monique Rockman), who was Martin’s first love and is entangled with his brother Gavin.

A Michelin-star chef in New York, Rebecca returns home after her father Solly’s death and takes over the family restaurant business, which isn’t doing well.

The first episode introduces the key characters in the story, which is underpinned by the contentious topic of conservation in the town.

The casting for this series is spot on. Don’t go looking for fireworks à la “Still Breathing”.

The measured storytelling allows the characters to develop their respective journeys. The subtlety is commendable as the viewer becomes invested in the story arcs.

“Summertide” is beautifully shot, with the town becoming a character in the story.

I am pretty sure that the writers will throw plenty of curve balls in the upcoming episodes to heighten the tension in the drama. As such, the beauty of the series will centre on how the bumps in the road are handled.

So far, Gavin is walking a treacherous path, playing around with many hearts. Tristan has found someone who he can confide in and stay put. Lucy, ever-so-caring for everyone around her, adjusts to life without her mom.

Martin is looking to make positive changes but, in doing so, he has to confront dormant issues with his father.

∎ “Summertide” airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Sunday at 6pm.