Watchable TV in 2021
So far at least
Writing a weekly blog is a learning process. There are many ups and downs. The ups come when I click the publish button, often at the 11th hour, signaling completion. The downs arrive shortly thereafter, in knowing I only have 6 days to come up with another topic. I burned out in 6 months the first time, for a variety of reasons. Taking myself and this blog too seriously was one. I needed to relax and enjoy the process. Come up with topics that interest me and hopefully you, my faithful reader.
I was a TV kid
It would be safe to say that television raised me. From Saturday morning cartoons to the Norman Lear sitcoms to MTV, television has served a timestamp on my life. As a kid, I dreamed of acting on TV, like Todd Bridges on Fish, the sitcom with Abe Vigoda. Many appearances and decades later, I still love television. Never did it cross my mind, growing up, that I could be in movies. There was no one that looked like me in movies, but on television, I could see myself. Highlighting the importance of representation for all races and types.
The SAG Awards Television Nominating Committee
Last week, I received an email from SAG saying that I had been selected to participate in the SAG awards nominating committee for the 2022 season. For Television. From August 2021 until January of 2022, I, along with 2499 other members, will be privy to all television projects for consideration in all matters of television performing. As a result, I will get access to these projects and the events they hold to promote them. One can only serve once every 10 years and when I last served in 2008, it was for movies. I had a blast sitting in these private screening rooms with just a few others well in advance of their release dates. I will share the experience with you this year. Finally something to force me outside the house.
2021 post-Pandemic Television
There are currently around 500 television shows on the air. Coming from the Jurassic era of 3 channels and ONTV, that’s daunting. I believe the best marketing is still word-of-mouth. It’s the equivalent of going viral. We all have our favorite genre, obviously mine is comedy. Good comedies, in my opinion, are very hard to find these days. Good writing too. As an actor, a great script is like a dream and I’ve watched many be destroyed by inadequate casting, direction and/or editing. Entertainment is subjective, a good thing, and I’ve compiled a list of shows I’m currently watching and want to use my mouth, or computer keys, to spread the word.
2021 shows to watch
Mare of Easttown
Mare of Easttown (HBO Max) This limited series, I predict, will be a factor in the awards show season. A rare occasion when all the elements come together in this near perfect collaboration. Kate Winslet is spectacular as a detective in a small town in Massachusetts investigating a murder. Unlikely that this limited series will progress beyond 7 episodes, it’s riveting from the first minute to the surprising finale. Mare of Easttown trailer
The Upshaws (Netflix) The always hilarious Wanda Sykes has created this throwback sitcom reminiscent of the classic Sanford and Son. Mike Epps and Kim Fields have terrific chemistry as a working class couple in Indiana trying to make it work with a blended family. Happy to hear Netflix has picked it up for a second season. The upshaws trailer
High on the Hog
High on the Hog (Netflix) This brilliant 4 episode series hosted by African American Chef, food writer and sommelier, Stephen Satterfield, illustrates how Black food is American food. From Africa to Texas, the through lines of food are researched and displayed in mouth watering photography. It’s also emotional and very moving. high on the hog trailer
Hacks (HBO Max) Jean Smart is brilliant as an aging Las Vegas comedienne who reluctantly mentors a millennial in this comedy/drama. A talented cast with intelligent writing, they are quick to chew the necessary scenery to get the laugh while keeping it real. Hacks trailer
Kenan (NBC/Peacock) The very likable Kenan Thompson, SNL great, plays a recently widowed Dad and talk show host, trying to raise his young daughters. Don Johnson and Chris Redd bring the funny and the writing is good, albeit a bit formulaic. The strict parameters of network television can sometimes hinder a comedy show. Kenan is balancing that fine line well. watch Kenan trailer
Girls 5eva (NBC/Peacock) A pleasant surprise is this Tina Fey produced comedy about a one-hit wonder girl band from the 90’s who get a second shot at fame when a young rapper samples their song. Hamilton Tony award winner Renee Elise Goldsberry is a scene stealer amongst a talented, veteran cast. I lol’d often. watch girls 5eva trailer
Real World Homecoming New York
Real World Homecoming New York (Paramount+) For those of us who were raised by MTV (I used to do my homework to it in high school), The Real World was the genesis for reality television. Everything reality stemmed from this show that no one could have predicted its impact. As a result, to see them reunite nearly 30 years later was a well-invited walk down nostalgia lane. real world homecoming trailer
Guilty Pleasure – Big Brother
Big Brother (CBS) I totally blame The Real World, and I’m not advocating reality television, but, I will admit this ridiculous show makes me feel better about myself every summer. This year they’ve promised a more racially diverse cast of people willing to embarrass themselves for a moment of fame. I’ll be there. Don’t judge me. (Starts July 7)
Not TV – In the Heights
In The Heights (in theaters and Disney+) I know I said television, but I had to put in a shout out to the genius that is Lin Manuel Miranda and this feel good movie. Its joyful and masterfully done. The racial imbalance controversy is absurd and social media created by woke kids who don’t know theirs or anyone else’s history. Pure, raw, veteran Latinx talent is on that screen showing everyone else how musicals should be done. A must see. In the Heights trailer
What’s your favorite TV show? Guilty pleasure?
Very good! Had to do it in two sittings, but I watched all of the trailers.
Awesome Gayle! I hope you like the shows!
OK, I got me some shows to watch….no more L&O reruns!! Yahoo!
Well done, Chris! Helen M.
Thanks Mrs. M!