I ‘m a little (actually alot) younger than my counter parts at The Community Voice, but they excitedly shared with me their memories and excitement when September rolled around each year. It was back to school and the last of television reruns. The new shows were coming and they needed to figure out which ones to watch.
I’m told, the local “community” newspaper didn’t appear to care that much about the new fall line-up especially since it was relatively void of diversity. Well, we’ve advanced from the days when we were excited to see “one” of us on TV, but we seem to have rolled on past the days of all-Black sit-coms. You know, one of the shows where the characters didn’t have any White friends. Kind of like “Friends” (and so many others) but the opposite.
So this year, we’ve penciled in to watch a few diverse shows with the obligatory Black co-worker, friend or neighbor, plus a few shows, with an African-American lead or a heavily Black cast.
Here are a few shows with potential of becoming one of your new faves.
WU-TANG: AN AMERICAN SAGA
“Wu-Tang: An American Saga” is inspired by “The Wu-Tang Manual” and “Tao of Wu,” and based on the true story of the Wu-Tang Clan. Set in early ’90s New York at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, the show tracks the Clan’s formation, a vision of Bobby Diggs aka The RZA, who strives to unite a dozen young Black men who are torn between music and crime but eventually rise to become the unlikeliest of American success stories. Ashton Sanders, Dave East and Joey Bada$$ are among the lineup. Catch this show on Hulu – it is currently streaming.
Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill’s 2017 arrest for probation violations sparked national outrage. A re-investigation of his original case explores allegations of police corruption as Meek joins forces with Rick Ross and ROC Nation, he becomes the face of a justice reform movement. This show is already streaming on Amazon Prime.
BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA
“Bob Hearts Abishola” is a love story about a middle-aged compression sock businessman from Detroit who ends up in a hospital following a heart attack and unexpectedly falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, played by Folake Olowofoyeku. He sets his sights on winning her over. Undaunted by Abishola's lack of initial interest or the vast differences in their backgrounds, Bob is determined to win Abishola's heart. It premieres Mon., Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m. on CBS.
“All Rise” is a courthouse drama that follows the chaotic, hopeful, and sometimes absurd lives of its judges, prosecutors, and public defenders, as they work with bailiffs, clerks, and cops to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amidst a flawed legal process. Among them is newly appointed Judge Lola Carmichael, who is played by Simone Missick from the popular Netflix show “Luke Cage.” She’s a highly regarded and impressive deputy district attorney who doesn't intend to sit back on the bench in her new role, but instead leans in, immediately pushing the boundaries and challenging the expectations of what a judge can be. “All Rise” premieres Mon., Sept. 23, 8 p.m. on CBS.
Starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Tika Sumpter, this show is a spin-off of ABC’s hit show “black-ish.” In “mixed-ish,” Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow’s parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they’re perceived as neither Black nor White. “Mixed-ish” airs on ABC on Tues., Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
“Evil” – starring Mike Colter from the hit show “Luke Cage” – is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter as they investigate the Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there is a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work.CBS will air this show Thur., Sept. 26, 9 p.m.
GODFATHER OF HARLEM
After stints on numerous network shows, Forrest Whitaker finally gets his showcase in “Godfather of Harlem,” a new Epix hour-long series set in the political ferment of the early 1960s. Whitaker, who plays career criminal Bumpy Johnson, recently freed from prison, returns to Harlem to rule his domain with quiet, seething power. The show is set to co-star Giancarlo Esposito who continuously delivers a powerful performance as well. Look for the premiere on Epix on Sun. Sept., 29, 9 p.m.
KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS
ABC has a new iteration of the classic variety show “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” hosted and executive produced by comedic superstar Tiffany Haddish. The hilarious reimagined format showcases a mix of in-studio segments and taped pieces from across the country, all set in front of a live studio audience. The series will capture Haddish's unique voice and sensibility as she interacts with real kids — and their innocently entertaining points of view. It is set to air on Sun., Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the “Star Wars” universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. The show follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic. Carl Weathers and Pedro Pascal star in this epic “Star Wars” tale that is set to begin streaming on Nov., 12 on Disney’s new streaming service – Disney+.
The Unicorn is a comedy about a tight-knit group of best friends and family who help Wade (Walton Goggins) embrace his "new normal" in the wake of the loss of his wife one year ago. As a sometimes ill-equipped but always devoted single parent to his two adolescent daughters, he is taking the major step of dating again. To Wade's amazement, he's a hot commodity with women, and his friends explain that he's the perfect single guy — a "unicorn" – employed, attractive, and with a proven track record of commitment. With his daughters and best friends rooting him on and hoping he'll find happiness again, Wade and his healing heart are ready to try life ... and love ... again.
“Almost Family” centers on Julia Bechley, who grew up as an only child. Her father, Leon Bechley, is a prize-winning doctor known as a pioneer in fertility medicine. However, her world is suddenly thrown into an uproar when it’s revealed that her father used his own sperm in his fertility treatments – in effect, conceiving upwards of a hundred children.
In the aftermath, Julia discovers she has two new sisters: her former best friend Edie and former Olympic athlete Roxy. So, the series follows the lives of the new sisters as they are thrown into a new reality that each must learn to navigate in their own way. Megalyn Echikunwoke (“Vixen,” “The 4400”) plays one of Julie’s new sisters.