This Fall, TV Will Make History By Truly Being Presented In Living Color
Just six days ago (September 6), the Fall 2016 television season debuted “Atlanta,” a Hip-Hop centered FX series created by and starring Donald Glover. The dramedy is but one of the many offerings making this year one of the most diverse in television history, thanks to the inclusion of many shows featuring cast and crew members of varying races, genders, sexual orientations, and other demographic markers. Much like “Atlanta,” many of today’s most popular shows (“Black-ish,” “Empire,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Power,” “Scandal,” and others) center around the stories of African American characters, many of whom are women, as well. It’s a trend that is also making its mark on shows that have yet to air, which could mean that the 2016-2017 TV season is poised to be the most progressive in recent memory.
The Undefeated recently published a preview of more than 80 television shows, both brand new and longstanding, which will provide viewers with storylines representing a cornucopia of perspectives, racially and otherwise. Stalwarts like “Criminal Minds,” “The Daily Show,” “Frontline,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Law & Order: SVU,” and “Project Runway” are included alongside newer but well established favorites like “American Horror Story,” “Arrow,” “Elementary,” “Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars,” “New Girl,” and “The Walking Dead.” Though all of these programs vary greatly in genre, ranging from procedural crime drama to horror to reality to news, what they all share is the incorporation of divergent voices thanks to diverse casting and subject matter. However, adding to the game-changing element of the upcoming season is the growing list of debuting shows which further expand diversity in Hollywood.
Hip-Hop Heads have much to look forward to in the way of television shows, not just because of “Atlanta,” “Power,” and “The Get Down.” Netflix’s much anticipated “Luke Cage” series features the all-Black lead cast of Alfre Woodard, Mike Colter, and Mahershala Ali, and, as is noted in the compendium, “every episode is named after a Gang Starr song.” On October 21, Heads can tune in to PBS for a documentary on the groundbreaking Broadway play, “Hamilton,” which tells the story of a Founding Father with the help of Rap. Also on PBS, “Soundbreaking” will be a miniseries that focuses on the production process in music and will include contributions from the likes of Questlove, Q-Tip, Sheila E., and others. Still awaiting final details but scheduled for airing this fall on Lifetime is “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge, & Me,” which is described as “made-for-TV movie about the singer and former girlfriend of N.W.A’s Dr. Dre,” Michel’le. But music fans are not the only ones who will be catered to.
In addition to “Alanta,” Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s new OWN series “Queen of Sugar” is being praised by the Undefeated as “one of the most intimate and personal looks at the lives of [B]lack women to ever grace a screen.” Also mentioned are Fox’s forthcoming Damon Wayans-led cast of the brand new “Lethal Weapon” series and the Laverne Cox-led cast of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”; “Black America and Still I Rise,” a new four-hour miniseries also from PBS and airing November 15 and 22; HBO’s “Insecure,” which is a vehicle co-created by comedian Issa Rae (with former host of “The Nightly Show,” Larry Wilmore), lovingly known as the “awkward Black girl”; Wyatt Cenac’s forthcoming comedy series “People of Earth” on FXX; Mekhi Phifer’s science-fiction inspired CW series “Frequency”; and many, many more.
Not mentioned but well worth noting is comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s brilliant “The Carmichael Show,” which was renewed for a third season by NBC earlier this year.
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