Three TV shows I liked recently
As I looked forward to a long, enjoyable weekend in the sun, New York City gave us all the rain (and cold wind) it could muster. So I had no choice but to pull out my sweatshirt and settle in for some great TV instead. (Oh, well!) Here are the shows that caught my attention all weekend …
I had been looking forward to this show for weeks – so much so that friends and I had a soul-food brunch to celebrate its arrival. Based on the book of the same name, High On the Hog joins Stephen Satterfield with food experts from the African diaspora, including author and food writer Jessica B. Harris and food historian Michael W. Twitty. The series begins in West Africa in the country of Benin, one of the ports of the transatlantic slave trade. This was perhaps the most captivating segment for me, looking at the types of meals Beninese enjoyed and passed on to each other before being torn from their homes. Along with the recipes themselves, this show explores the nuances of black individuals as it addresses the emotional impact of their vanished past and the new slave traditions and cuisine brought by Africans to the South.
The first season of Special surprised me. It was so intelligently written and so important that I wondered why not everyone was going crazy about it. When season two came out, I was thrilled. Creator Ryan O’Connell plays a semi-autobiographical role himself – a gay man with cerebral palsy, learning to juggle a career as a writer, dating and friendship, as well as creating a healthier relationship. less dependent on her mother. It’s complicated, beautiful and very funny. The second season continues Ryan’s path of self-discovery and delves deeper into some of the isolation he experienced as a disabled child. He is also looking for a disability support group called “the Crips”. Ryan’s best friend Kim is played by Punam Patel; his confidence cannot be faked, nor his humor straightforward. A laughing moment is when she, Ryan and Ryan’s boyfriend recite the “Why ain’t nobody reaaaddyy?” line of The Devil Wears Prada, because they are late for a trip. It’s perfect.
Master of None did what I wish a lot of series would do: pass the mic to black women. This season titled “ Moments In Love ” follows Lena Waithe’s character Denise through struggles with marriage, ambition, wealth, deciding whether or not to have children and finding someone who feels like home. Naomi Ackie’s fearless and hopeful portrayal of Denise’s wife Alicia has been my favorite part of the entire season. (I took so many screenshots of her crisp wardrobe!) I enjoyed this season’s pivot to the character of Denise and the show’s departure from the previous two seasons, even though they were Great. The usual creator and main character, Aziz Ansari, only appears in the first two episodes and takes on a quieter role as a director. I had planned to watch the first episode and ended up watching the entire season in one night. I loved the voyeuristic feeling of peering into someone’s private life, the quietest and most subtle moments. It’s still my favorite season of the show; and I hope to see more black love stories told in such a tender and nuanced way.
Is there anything I should add to my list? What is a show you’ve been watching lately?
(Photos of LA Times Hulu and Netflix.)