Words by ReBecca Theodore-Vachon
Diversity is good for business and nowhere is the message louder than on primetime television. While Hollywood studios are stuck on cranking on dude-bro and blindingly White narratives on the big screen, television understands the value in reflecting the times we live in. From Shonda Rhimes’ Thursday night block of programming on ABC to the mind-blowing success of Fox’s runaway hit “Empire,” viewers have made it clear they’re tuning in to shows where women and people of color are more than window dressing. 2015 promises to be another fun season of “appointment television” and we’ve listed our most highly anticipated shows:
“The Flash” (CW) Tuesday, October 6th 8 PM
Few TV series hit the ground ground running (no pun intended) like “The Flash.” A spin-off of CW’s superhero hit “Arrow,” the scarlet speedster won over millions of fans largely due to the talent that is Grant Gustin. Gustin is equally excellent portraying adorkable forensic scientist Barry Allen and his hyper-speed secret alter ego, The Flash. Backed by an equally stellar cast (Candice K. Patton, Jesse L. Jackson, Tom Cavanagh, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes), “The Flash” deftly balances humor, jaw dropping action and drama, bringing out the inner inner comic book nerd inside all of us.
“The Knick” (Cinemax) Season premiere Friday, October 16th
One of cable’s most slept-on gems, “The Knick” just might be filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s best work to date. Set in New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital in the 1900’s, don’t dismiss “The Knick” as your run-of-the-mill stuffy, vanilla period drama – topics like class warfare, abortion and racism are dealt with a modern, critical eye and remind viewers that what is old is still new again in American culture. But the real reason you should watch is the stellar Andre Holland, who plays Algernon Edwards, an Ivy-League educated Black doctor recruited to join the Knickerbocker Hospital. Holland plays Algernon with simmering restraint, forced to navigate a sea of racial contempt and incompetence amongst his White colleagues.
“Empire” (Fox) Wednesday, September 23rd 9 PM
With the success of “Empire,” we can finally put to rest the industry lie that Black stories “don’t sell.” Ending their first season with over 20 million viewers, executive producer Lee Daniels promises more dramatic hijinks, edgier fashion and more hits, as Ne-Yo partners with music producer Timbaland. The guest roster is pure star power which will include Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Chris Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Vivica A. Fox, Pitbull and Alicia Keys.
“How To Get Away With Murder” (ABC) Thursday, September 24th 10 PM
Viola Davis is back for a second season as cutthroat legal eagle Annalise Keating and we couldn’t be happier. After years of being relegated to unglamorous and asexual supporting roles, producer Shonda Rhimes and series creator Pete Nowalk have given this talented thespian a platform to use her immense acting palette. Sexy, edgy, brilliant and oh so messy, Annalise Keating is the powerful and unapologetic Black female anti-hero we didn’t think we wanted, but absolutely needed on primetime.
“American Horror Story: Hotel” (FX) Wednesday, October 7th 10PM
FX’s hit horror anthology moves to the West Coast, led by pop-star turned actress Lady Gaga. Gaga plays The Countess, the mysterious owner of The Cortez Hotel, which has been linked to several mysterious and brutal murders in Los Angeles. Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) is sent to investigate and encounters an array of bizarre characters including Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson), Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett), and hotel manager Iris (Kathy Bates). Look for supermodel Naomi Campbell in a guest role as a fashion editor for Vogue Magazine.
“The Walking Dead” (AMC) Sunday, October 11th 9 PM
Our favorite zombie apocalypse returns for a sixth season and the stakes are higher than ever. Expect tension between alpha males Rick and Morgan, and producer Scott Gimple shared the season premiere will have 654 “walkers” – the most amount of zombies ever featured on screen. We recommend a very early dinner beforehand!
“Ash vs. Evil Dead” (Starz) Saturday, October 31st 9 PM
Bruce Campbell returns to the role that made him an icon in the 1981 cult classic horror flick “Evil Dead.” 30 years after saving the world from the brink of destruction, demon hunter Ash Williams has retired to a life of obscurity, when the reluctant hero is called back to action. Lucy Lawless (“Xena”), and Jill Marie Jones (“Girlfriends”) bring the girl power as they band together with Ash to battle the oncoming Deadite plague.
“Blackish” (ABC) Wednesday, September 23rd 9:30 PM
It’s not easy going up against the primetime monster that is “Empire” but “Blackish” finished strong, with a well-deserved second season. Thanks to the wit and humor of the cast and its writers, “Blackish” proved that it was more than just a “Cosby” clone of Black sitcoms. Creator and executive Kenya Barris won’t be pulling any punches when they tackle the “N-word” in their season premiere.
“Truth Be Told” (NBC) Friday, Oct. 16th
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who gained teen throb status on the 90’s sit-com “Saved By The Bell” is all grown-up. Gosselaar plays Mitch, a married college ethics professor, who lives next door to his best friend Russell a stand-up comic, played by comedian Tone Bell. No topic will be off-topic for these two over-sharing couples.
“Minority Report” (FOX) Monday, September 21st, 9PM EST
Set in Washington, DC 2065 (11 years after Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film), the Pre-Crime program has been disbanded and precog Dash (Stark Sands) has been living under the radar, hiding from those who want to use his gifts for evil purposes. Dash partners with Detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good) to prevent crimes, while searching for his twin brother Arthur (Nick Zano) and sister Agatha (Laura Regan).