A Different World, Good Times, Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Hanging with Mr. Cooper (among others) are all family shows with predominantly black casts that appealed to a wide audience and used to be popular television on the network stations. For reasons I’m sure others have explained, the big four stopped producing those shows. For awhile UPN filled the void with shows like Moesha, The Game and (my favorite) Girlfriends. When UPN merged with CW they disappeared too.
I’ve been disappointed by the lack of black people on the small screen. Some of the most iconic characters in television history are black. Who in the 1990s didn’t know Steve Urkel? Aren’t Claire Huxtable and Phillip Banks regularly listed as favorite tv parents? And doesn’t everyone knows the theme for Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons?
This glaring absence has disturbed me for a long time. Consequently, when I saw Anthony Anderson and one of my favs, Tracee Ellis Ross, were starring in a family comedy on ABC I was thrilled! Admittedly, I’m not crazy about the title. Blackish seemed to have the same branding issues as Cougartown but perhaps that’s just me.
Regardless, good or bad, I was all in. To my pleasant surprise I’m not watching Blackish out of a sense of duty, it’s a really funny show. Every week I watch scenes that could have been taken from my life (e.g. being so excited about a conversation I forget to listen to what someone is saying). And my friends and family are watching it too. I’ve had multiple conversations where scenes or plotlines have made their way into conversation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the show is a success and reminds television producers that diversity programming is a good thing.
If you’re looking for something to watch at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday nights, check out Blackish on ABC.