This Week in Black Television - Summertime Shows, pt. 2

Television
by Curtis Caesar John
June 15, 2012 3:30 PM
18 Comments
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Mehcad Brooks, Cedric The Entertainer, Gina Torres
After an unplanned hiatus last week we return with part duex of what you should or could be watching this summer on television, whether with Black talent or just entertaining or different – that’s if you’re not out at the beach, or impromptu BBQ’s and such.  I know I left Melissa & Joey off this list – but trust me, there’s more to see!

Baby Daddy (ABC Family) premieres Wednesday 6/20 at 8:30pm
Thankfully he’s not the titular character, but former Smart Guy star Tahj Mowry, also best known as little brother of Black America’s favorite twins Tia & Tamera, stars as the best friend of some goof named Ben that got a girl pregnant and is clueless that it happened until the bambino ends on his doorstep. So in all sitcom goofiness, and probably less funny than similar-type show Raising Hope (a really funny show, depending on your type of humor) he gets his mother, brother, best friend, and the  girl next door to help him raise his child.  So who’s the best friend?  (Wait for it…) Well it’s Tahj, of course. Who else would be the best friend but a Black guy who has no other friends in the world but this white guy?  Although testing higher than any other ABC Family show in history, this is another BBF show that I’m gonna pass on. Sorry Mr. Mowry.   

Beverly Hills Nannies (ABC Family) Begins Wednesday June 11 at 9pm
I don’t even want to know if there are any Black folks in this!   

Breaking Pointe (The CW) Thursdays at 8pm
Working off the success of Black Swan, this new series goes behind the stage curtain for an intense, unfiltered look at one of the most competitive ballet companies in the country, Ballet West, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Beneath the beauty and glamour of the dance and costumes is a gritty dog-eat-dog world of extreme athleticism, focus, dedication, passion, pressure and, of course, the hunt for the unattainable perfection. Doing in Salt Lake, lucky for them, absolves them from focusing on any Black ballerinas.  Humph! Still, can’t say it doesn’t sound interesting. 

Burn Notice (USA) Thursdays at 9pm

Coby Bell, who also co-stars in as Jason Pitts on The Game, returns for the 6th season of this action-packed show, though he was absent from last night’s premiere. Even so, I treasure new episodes of Burn Notice, regardless of whether Aziz Ansari thinks nobody watches it (look up the comedy routine – it’s actually funny). 

Comedy Bang! Bang! With Scott & Reggie (IFC) Fridays at 10pm
Part celebrity couch-talk/part-comedy sketches, and animations, people harken this back to the older better days of The Conan O’Brien show.  I know comedian Reggie Watts a bit from his comedy routines and from The Yes Men Save The World documentary, so if off-brand humor is your thing, go for it.   

Dallas (TNT) Wednesdays at 9pm
Thirty years later, do you really miss The Ewings? Got a hankering for South Fork? I know my mother does as she used to kick us away from the TV after The Dukes of Hazzard to watch the original version.  I’m thinking what you are:  would I really watch corny actors like Jesse Metcalf & Jordana Brewster in a remake of a television classic? Well consider this, the ultimate stars of the original Dallas were Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy, best known as the goofy astronaut/master from I Dream of Jeannie and The Man From Atlantis, respectively.  Still, that was in an age where they defined the nighttime soap and not just part of a torrent of them.  I missed the premiere this week, but if you saw it please share.

Damages (DirecTV) fifth and final season begins on Wednesday July 11th at !0pm

I wish I had DirectTV because I still haven’t seen season four of Damages.  I’m still pissed the FX Network dropped it.  But if you’ve never watched this fill-in-the-impressive-adjectives thriller starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne in a cat-and-mouse tale, you have no idea what you’re missing. 

Dogs in the City (CBS) Wednesdays at 8pm

Part Cesar Milan “The Dog Whisperer” and part everyday NY’er, Justin Silver surprisingly and effectively teachers city-slicker dog owners how to manager their dogs and other pets.  I only saw the pilot and was pleasantly surprised.  It’s worth a watch, or at the least zapping to when your regular show is at commercial. 

The Franchise (Showtime) Season 2 begins  July 11 at 9pm
This season will feature the Miami Marlins in their new city with their new star shortstop Jose Reyes , (formerly of NY Mets) and new manager, the always shocking Ozzie Guillen.

Futurama (Comedy Central) Season 7 premieres 6/20 at 10pm

This irreverent animated show  began years ago on FOX, was dropped for a while then picked up by Comedy Central is one of my all-time faves.  And actor/comedian/voice over legend Phil LaMarr still provides the voice for Hermes and countless other characters.  This is a sit-back and be offended by show. 

Inside Men (BBC America) -USA Premiere- Wednesday June 20 at 10pm

Ashley Walters, formerly of BBC shows Top Boy (which got a lot of attention here on S&A) and the sci-fi show Outcasts – both of which have recently been added to Netflix – stars as Chris on this drama about three employees of a security depot who plan and execute a multi-million pound cash heist.  The other cool part about this show is that each episode is told from a singular character’s POV. Very cool.  BBC does heist shows really well (to all others out there who are also fans of Hustle), so I recommend peeping the premiere next week – or ask your blokes across the pond if it’s worth the watch. 

LOUIE (FX) Season 3 begins Thursday June 28th at 10:30pm on FX

Arguably the best, or at least the most honest, comedy on television, this very personal and unique program continues to examine the seemingly real life of comedian Louis C.K. who plays himself as a comedian trying to trudge life as a relatively new single man and father trying to make sense of the world.  As the writer of I Think I Love My Wife, Pootie Tang (which he also directed, and has given great advice about), The Chris Rock Show, and other live comedy shows and specials, THIS IS the show you want to see if you’re sick of the other stuff on television – and even if you’re not. C.K. has total control of this show (he’s even edited many episodes) which often feels like as independent as a web series and fun as his comedy shows. 

Necessary Roughness (USA) Wednesdays at 10pm

Yeah, yeah the ladies love Mehcad Brooks - so I had to put him in the photo for this column. See, how I love my readers!  But what I don’t love is this show even though I’m a fan of star Callie Thorne, previously known for Rescue Me and Homicide: Life On The Street. I tried watching the season opener, but this show about a therapist for a football team seems boring to me, even though there are a number of good actors involved. Peep it for yourself, but I can’t recommend it.

Rookie Blue (ABC) Thursdays at 10pm

Yes, you blinked. Now open your eyes to reveal that cop drama Rookie Blue is now in Season 3. Yes, it happened that fast, and though the show isn’t much better than the canceled CBS rookie show NYC 22, word in the trades is that Rookie is a much easier show to produce (see: cheap summer programming shot in Canada), so along with doing decent numbers it’ll probably return next year as well.  Canadian born-Nigeria descended co-star Enuka Okema, there since season one, seems to now be either a plain-clothes office or promoted to detective (though I doubt the latter would happen so soon) which is cool, but tell me regular viewers if this means she’s in less storylines now.  Lyriq Bent and Melanie Nicholls-King (The Wire) also co-star. 

Saving Hope (NBC) Thursdays at 10pm
Yet another medical drama rears its ugly head, but at least there’s not too many on this summer. This one stars the most recent former Lois Lane, Smallville's Erica Durance as a surgeon whose ex-surgeon fiancé (Michael Shanks from Stargate SG-1) is in a coma and interacts with the spirits of hospital patients who've passed away or who are also in comas.  Yawn, I’m in a coma.  Still, just watch it to see ifJ.C. Collins, who also currently appears on SyFy’s Lost Girl (a show I’m just now getting into) gets to contribute to the show or is just a ‘diversity character’ thrown in to make us negroes happy (that’s right, I said it!).  This is another Canadian produced show, so economically produced and can hopefully maximize on the leads. 

The Soul Man (TV Land) premieres 6/20 at 10pm
I can’t believe Hot In Cleveland has a spin-off, but here it is and it’s starring Cedric the Entertainer. But if you live in a city with a bus line you already know that as they’re doing heavy promotion on this show.  Ceddy stars as a former R&B-star Boyce “the Voice” Ballentine, who get’s the calling to serve the lord (you have to say that with an Aunt Esther squeal) and takes over as the reverend at his father’s church.  But it seems the former wild man will have issues being a holy man.  Niecy Nash co-stars as his wife and Jazz Raycole (all grown up now, and formerly of Jericho & the first season of My Wife & Kids) as his daughter.   The always entertaining Wesley Jonathan and John Beasley also co-star. 

Suits (USA) Thursdays at 10pm

One of the top three USA Network shows by far.   I didn’t get to watch last night’s premiere so please, don’t spoil it for me, but all that needs to be said is two words (one name) Gina Torres.  As law firm head Jessica Pearson, she doesn’t get down and dirty in each episode like the two male leads BUT she dictates what goes on in the firm.  Last night it appears she had a lot to do, and hopefully that’ll be the case all season.  Gina Torres! 

Young Justice Invasion (Cartoon Network) Saturdays at 10:30am

Fast-forward five years later from the end of last season (well, just 9 weeks ago) and you have this new version of animated series Young Justice, the b-team/secret squad/junior version of the Justice League. Instead of Superman and Batman you have Supes’ clone Superboy and Batman’s partner Robin, now graduated to leading the team as Nightwing and with a new Robin taking his place in the field.  So what happened to Aqualad (Khary Payton)?  Great question…you’ll have to watch to find out.  Now also on the team and lending great diversity and fun to the cast are Bumblebee/Karen Beecher (voiced by Masasa Moyo), Blue Beetle/Jaime Reyes (voiced by Eric Lopez), and in a support role running mission control at the headquarters (so, no powers) Mal Duncan (voice vet Kevin Michael Richardson).

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18 Comments

  • michelletoo | June 20, 2012 8:14 PMReply

    I don't see how you can leave Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva off that list.

    Army Wives has two Black series regulars and several recurrings, including one of the actors from The Wire.

  • cpiddy_86 | June 19, 2012 5:40 PMReply

    RE:Baby Daddy... There is also another "new face" on ABC Family's Baby Daddy. The Bartender who works with Jean-Luc Biladeau's character, Ben. His name is Jase Whitaker. Such a cutie and is definitely a face too watch...

  • Akimbo | June 18, 2012 2:01 PMReply

    Necessary Roughness is one of two USA shows I get down with. I can do without the patient-of-the-week aspect, but the main story is fun and compelling to me. I also have to give them props for being the only project to ever make good use of Mehcad's limited acting abilities. He seems natural and actually decent here. Dare I say that he's doing a good job with this PTSD storyline they've got going for him.

  • Dr. Boogie | June 18, 2012 11:25 AMReply

    "THIS IS TV, WE DON'T NEED" TO WAIT FOR A PROMOTION!!! (Martin Lawrence)..Yeah, Enuka's character will start a training rotation with the detective squad & catch a case NEXT WEEK. Apparently in between seasons, the character has been fast tracking herself via summer classes and as another character has stated she, "knows what she wants." [Whaaaa!?!?! A young black female role with direction that goes beyond another male character's crotch!?! A single mom who isn't tragically fighting to keep her job while fighting her baby daddy?!?!? What's in the water in Canada?] Rookie Blue is lovely. But S&A, no praise for Lyriq playing the chief of the division and taking an interest/role of protector in Melanie's "having a baby by myself before it's too late" character? Shade?

    Gina Torres gives life in every episode of Suits, even when she's not on the screen because as managing partner of the firm, this is her world--everyone else (except the other partner-yikes) is just a squirrel trying to get a nut. LOL. And slowly they have been alluding to the fact that she has a few dirty bones in the closet (Harvey NOT knowing that Jessica had been married is still too good. Way to play it close to the corset girlfriend....And what was that about plagiarism and your age? Chile!!). Shows show respect to the actors/characters in small ways--The time/style/funds spent on Jessica's clothes alone----HANDS DOWN CORPORATE DIVA PERFECTION!!! POWER DRAG REALNESS--SICKENIN'!!! Love it or suffer.

    Anna Deavere Smith has been doing a wonderful job as Gloria Akalitus on Showtime's Nurse Jackie for several seasons now. And this season art is imitating current hospital privatization reality & has put her character on the screen longer and even more enjoyable than previous seasons. She may have been recently fired but last week proved that she is not completely out and has one 30 year administrator dirty card left to play before it is over...Outside of a few other characters, she also has the best quotes on the show. LOL.

  • misha | June 17, 2012 1:23 AMReply

    I don't know what in the hell ya'll are bitching about (lol) but I just got to say that that GINA TORRES is something FIERCE! The woman commands the screen as the cool, sophisticated, sexy HBIC. Gah! I wanna be just like her when I grow up! :) Seriously, she should be the star of her own show but I'd settle for her getting more airtime on Suits and Thursday's season premiere was a great start.

  • checkitout | June 15, 2012 4:27 PMReply

    I know you're only focusing on television series, but you can't leave out LET IT SHINE, the hip-hop/gospel flavored movie update of Cyrano De Bergerac that premieres tonight at 8pm on the Disney Channel featuring an all black cast (Tyler james Willams, Coco Jones, Trevor Jackson, Brandon Mychal Smith Couryney B. Vance and Dawnn Lewis) and awesome musical numbers. Everyone should tune in.

  • CareyCarey | June 16, 2012 10:51 PM

    I understand. It probably wouldn't have been my first pick but I have an 8 year old living with me, so it was "bonding time". Then I just relaxed and enjoyed the entertainment. Btw, I was not familiar with Dawn Lewis, so after reading your first comment I googled her. Then I realized... oh yeah, she was the mother. But again, she had a few less than memorable scenes. Oh, I see Disney is getting their roll out b/c the movie was on again today. And yeah, I'm a Steve Martin fan. The Jerk still cracks me up. How about that scene with his black family :-)

  • JMac | June 16, 2012 9:58 PM

    Thanks for the synopsis. I did manage to catch the first 20 minutes but it wasn't for me. I only would have watched for Dawn so looks like I didn't miss anything. BTW, loved Steve Martin's version.

  • CareyCarey | June 16, 2012 1:19 AM

    JMac, twas not a remake by any stretch of imagination. It may have been based on the concept of Cyrano de Bergerac, but I'm leaning toward Steve Martin's "Roxanne". Also, gospel music barely scratched the surface. Only one "gospel" song was in the production. And if she (Coco) was not singing in a church, you wouldn't even define it as a gospel. Dawn Lewis had a minimal role (maybe 10-15 lines).

  • JMac | June 15, 2012 9:55 PM

    What?! Dawnn Lewis! But it's gospel ... and a black remake ... and on the Disney Channel... I'll just listen for her on Futurama. Sorry DL. Thanks for the heads up though.

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 4:03 PMReply

    Let's really speak on it! WHAT EXACTLY IS WRONG WITH THE BLACK BEST FRIEND ROLE IN TV/MOVIES? It's an easy way to include a character of another race. How else do you think a black character can be easily introduced? As a sibling? Parent? Of a WHITE CENTRAL CHARACTER? So you would rather NO BLACK ACTORS be featured in a show than have A "TOKEN" BLACK? I really dont get it. It's just a show people, not your life...

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 9:40 PM

    Um, Troy... so whose fault is it that Tahj Mowry no longer has star power?.... And if he was the lead character of THIS SHOW... LAWWWD I dont need to think about the uproar

  • Ali | June 15, 2012 9:04 PM

    No, but he did have a main role on a more recent hit show that actually ran on ABC Family. Is the argument that Tahj Mowry should have more than he has(he really might!) or that there is something wrong with the role he's playing itself? Because, Tahj Mowry has been gone from the public eye in a big way for awhile. He might be trying to get his name out there to the current ABC Family demographic like the lead did.

  • troy | June 15, 2012 8:50 PM

    Was the white lead a child star with a nationally sydincated tv show with Yep sisters who did the same thing?

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 4:53 PM

    That "Girls" show for example had no black "Girls" and people were crying. Here's a show with a black friend and still the crying continues. I just dont get it.

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 4:51 PM

    @ALI: Exactly! Now Im not saying that these token roles are always developed and great roles for actors to chew on but all Im saying is that to dismiss a show simply because the black character is a BBF makes no sense to me.

    @NADIA: No, I am not 12 years old.

  • Nadia | June 15, 2012 4:26 PM

    What are you 12? Your comments read like you are. There's nothing to "speak on." If you don't already know the answer to the questions you ask, you've got a lot to learn young man/woman and I don't have the energy, but maybe someone else does to lay it all out for you. SMH.

  • Ali | June 15, 2012 4:25 PM

    One thing I'd never do is write off a "black best friend" role. I don't feel we should just be grateful with whatever we're thrown but, come on now. It's not an unrealistic depiction and they could easily replace that black actor with a white actor and no one would complain. To be honest, almost any black actor with some self-respect would LOVE to get a BBF role even if it's just for exposure. It's very true though, what else are black people supposed to be on a show when the main characters are white? Everyone's got friends. It doesn't mean they can't be developed just because they are the friend or supporting. Having said that, television shows should develop them if they are seen regularly. A lot of the time the least developed character is the "token."

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