dimanche, septembre 10, 2006

Brief Breakdown of the Fall TV Season

As you all know by now (if you are faithful television watchers), that the new fall television season is underway. Over the next few weeks, the rest of the new and recurring shows will be showcasing their premieres. I am particularly intrigued by pop culture, particularly film and television, and how it mirrors and replicates the nuances of contemporary American culture. Let's face it -- mass media --- particularly television and film impact perceptions, attitudes, and even public policy. If the images of people of color and women continue to be marginalized, depict excess (too loud, too "hot", too over-sexed, etc.), two dimensional, etc. then there is a space being created where erroneous imagery and stereotypes are being force-fed at astronomical rates. Media is the fastest way to reach the most amount of people and I feel safe in saying that most people are not problem posing watchers of cinema. So its important to monitor how our image is being replicated across the world. So for this post, I am pretty much going to only focus on the shows that feature people of color or women in interesting and/or prominent roles. With that being said, there is an interesting line up for this fall:

1. Grey's Anatomy -- The largely anticipated third Season of ABC's Grey's Anatomy premieres on September 21st and holds the title of being perhaps the most racially diverse cast on television. Though not without its problems, I am a fan of the show and will post a more in-depth, cultural analysis of it as the season begins. P.S. Diahann Carroll is going to be making a guest appearance this season!!

2. Prison Break -- Fox's second season of the acclaimed drama has already begun and I must say that this is one of my favorite shows currently on the air. The cast is buttressed by actors of color (Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco, Rockmund Dunbar) and I love action/suspenseful stories (not to mention that Wentworth is indeed a hottie).

3. Everybody Hates Chris -- Premiering Oct. 1st at 7 pm on the re-named network "The CW", Chris Rock's hilarious show returns. I must say that while I am not as vigilant in watching in it, I am definitely a fan of it when I do. And somebody definitely has to talk about how wonderful the under-rated actress/singer Tichina Arnold is in it.

4. All of Us -- Premiers Oct 1st on "The CW" at 7:30 right after Everybody Hates Chris. I must give it to Will and Jada -- these are Black folks investing in creating opportunities for Black actors and making films that center around Black people. I have to give it to them for being Black people who create opportunities for other Black people and don't wait around for Hollywood to do the type of programming that they want to see in media. And by the way, its not a bad show.

5. The Game -- When does this permiere? You guessed it! Oct. 1st at 8:30 right after the premiere of Girlfriends. This show actually started as a spin-off of an episode of Girlfriends. It stars Tia Mowry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, and Pooch Hall. Mowry's character is a meidcal student whose boyfirend is a San Diego Sabers rookie. Its basically a half-hour comedy about the wives, mothers, and girlfriends of professional football players. I don't see too much promise with this one but we'll see.

5. Girlfriends -- Rounding Out the Oct. 1st line-up on "The CW" is Girlfriends, a show that I like (and watch religiously) because it is a show that features the trvails of four middle class Black women living in Los Angeles. (Though it is definitely not without its problems. Jill Marie Jones aka Ms. Toni Childs will be absent this season but I wonder if Mara Brock Akil will finally let Joan find a man?

6. Survivor -- What can I say? Separating tribes by race. This idea has nothing but fit for trouble. Premieres Sept. 14th at 8 p.m. on CBS. The ratings will definitely be high but I hope that voices of protest will be as well.

7. Cold Case -- Definitely a sleeper hit in my opinion, I really like the show. I like Kathryn Morris's character Lily Rush not to mention a solid representation of people of color (Daniel Pino, Thom Barry, Tracie Thoms -- an HBCU [Howard graduate] nonetheless :). Premieres Sept. 24th on CBS at 9:00

8. Desperate Housewives -- Eva Longoria is on the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly and I must say that that she and Antonio Ricardo Chavira take the award for being complicit in currently the worst portrayal of Hispanics on TV today. They play complete and utter stereotypes to the core. Let's see what other foolishness they're up to this season. Premieres Sept. 24th on ABC at 9:00

9. Without a Trace -- Love this show. Anthony LaPaglia is great as the leader of his unit and is all around a terrific actor (has anyone seen Lantana?) Roselyn Sanchez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste (terrific in Secrets & Lies, a must see film for you all NETFLIX it now!), and Enrique Murciano.

10.Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- I netflixed the premiere of this one couple of weeks ago. While I wasn't entirely impressed with it, I am intrigued enough to stick with it for a few more episodes. Aaron Sorkins's highly anticipated drama centers around Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry's characters as head writers hired by the newly appointed network exec Amanda Peet to work on the a stalemate sketch comedy show that they were fired from four years previously. I put this show on my "shows to watch list" because 1.)Its so highly anticipated, I just need to see what all the fuss is about 2)Amanda Peet's role as a major television exec -- should be interesting to see how her position as female power player in a world of men is cultivated 3) D.L. Hughley -- never been much a fan of his but he is the only recurrent face of color on the show. In the September 8th issue of Entertainment Weekly , Josh Wolk reports, "D.L. Hughley, a stand up and sitcom vet who plays another Studio 60 regular, has never faced acting demands like this, but he's ready. 'You ask any black person in the country, did he want this role? And I got it. So the cameras will break down before I do". Which brings me to the question, what is the responsibility of the Black actor (or does s/he have one)? While I understand his happiness to get the role, I'm a little concerned with his eagerness in the notoriously racially problematic landscape of Hollywood. We shall see.

11. Heroes -- I will definitely be watching heroes because it is one of only a handful of shows this season that features an Asian regular -- Masi Oka. Just as bad as being inundated with a pelthora of representation that verges on the two-dimensional stereotypes that are so easy to replicate (i.e. Black folks in TV) is the virtual absence of any representation on TV (i.e. Asians). When was the last time you saw a show on TV where Asians were the focal point (remember Margaret Cho?). Premieres Sept. 25th on NBC at 9 p.m.

12. CSI: Miami -- Premieres Sept. 18th at 10 p.m. on CBS See Adam Rodriquez and Khandi Alexander. Don't like it as much as the regular CSI but I do like David Caruso's quiet intensity...

13. Friday Night Lights -- Premieres Oct. 3rd on NBC at 8:00 Based on the 2004 feature film which was based on H.G. Bissinger's non-fiction book, the show portrays the football culture of a small Texas town , through the eyes of a high school team. The movie tocuhed on a lot of topics -- racism, education, parent-child (particularly father/son) relationships, etc. It will definitely be interesting to see how this show deals with these topics, particularly that of racism.

14. The Unit -- Premieres Sept. 19th on CBS at 9:00. This is its second season. I saw it last season, because its headed by Dennis Haybert aka the former President of the Unites States on my favorite show 24). Molly Blane co-stars as his wife. I don't know how long this one is going to last. I'm watching because of Haybert and Blane but its not one of my personal favs. I'm just not that interested.

15. Standoff -- Debuted Sept. 5th on FOX at 8 pm. Watch for Gina Torres

16. House -- Debuted Sept. 5th on FOX at 9pm. Omar Epps is in this one. Heard great things about it but never seen it. Its next in my Netflix queue.

17. Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Premieres Sept. 19th on NBC at 9 Courtney B. Vance is out and in comes Nona Gaye. Am I the only one that is questioning this decision? Also, look for Thera Randle in at least three episodes. In my opinion, the weakest by far of the Law & Order franchise.

18. Law & Order : SVU : Great show. Best of the Law & Order franchise in my opinion. Only problem: Ice-T. They can't find another Black man to play this role? Love B.D. Wong though! He is one of only five Asians who have prominent, recurring roles on Network TV (Sandra Oh, Naveen Andrews, Masi Oka, Parminder Nadra)

19. America's Next Top Model. Premieres Sept. 20th on the CW at 8:00 p.m. The show's addictive despite Tyra's annoying remarks and race issues.

20. 30 Rock -- Debuts October 11th on NBC at 8:30. I'm not a fan of Tracy Morgan or Tiny Fey but is getting a buzz and may check it out. We'll see...

21. Lost -- Premieres Oct. 4th on ABC at 9:00 p.m. Season 1 was excellent. Season 2 not so much. Will tune in for it though!

22. Justice -- Debuted August 30th on FOX at 9. Interesting show. Kind of like a Law & Order remake but you get to see what really happened at the end. Has Eamonn Walker aka Said from Oz.

23. DayBreak -- Debuts Nov. 15th at 9pm on NBC. Taye Diggs headlines this drama as a cop framed for a murder and must through a horrific 24 hours that repeats itself every morning. That's all I'm gonna say about it.

24. Criminal Minds -- Premieres Sept. 20th on CBS at 9 Shemar Moore co-stars. I had to briefly supress a giggle but he does try though ya'll...

25. Kidnapped -- Debuts Sept. 20th on NBC at 10 but you can Netflix the premiere episode now. I did. Its interesting. I don't know about Jeremy Sisto in the title role but I do like Mykelti Williamson and Delroy Lindo

26. CSI: NY -- Sept. 20th on CBS at 10 The CSI that I like the least but Hill Harper is on it!

27. The Nine -- Debuts Oct. 4th on ABC at 10. Chi McBride has a featured role.

28. Ugly Betty -- Sept. 28th Created by Selma Hayek and featuring America Ferrera, Ana Ortiz, and Vanessa Williams. The show intrigues me. I'm interested to see how it will play out. Based on a Columbian telenovela, the name bothers me for a little...But after I see the show, I will be able to talk more about it.

29. ER -- Premieres Sept. 21st on NBC at 10. I'm still hanging on to ER... Maybe this season will pick up. Look for Mekhi Pfeiffer and Parminder Nadra.

30. Law & Order -- Sept. 22nd on NBC at 10. Is Law & Order still viable? We'll see this season. Look for Jesse L. Martin.

31. Ghost Whisperer -- Debuts Sept. 22nd on CBS at 8. They killed Aisha Tyler last season but apparently she comes back as a ghost. Whatever...

32. The Wire -- Premieres tonight on HBO at 10. Trying to get into this show because it has tons of Black folks on it. I'll report on this a little later...

Shows To Watch:

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Ugly Betty
Prison Break

I'm concerned with the lack of Asians on TV. Only five with recurrent roles??? And as for Black people, well I'll save that for another post!

surcease -- noun: Cessation; stop; end.

“I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water”
--- Amy Tan



Blogger Berry said...

dannnnng you will be watching a lot of TV...good thing you are taking the jazz class to break some of that up. :-)

8:56:00 PM  

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