February marks the start of Black History Month, a time when we celebrate and elevate Black voices and culture.
In honor, we’re highlighting some TV shows that are the center of Black excellence.
These are the stories told by Black directors and producers, the ones that highlight the talents of Black actors and cast members, and aim to educate and entertain.
If you’re looking for a new show to watch, these are a good place to start!
The United States vs. Billie Holiday – Hulu
Though it premieres towards the end of the month, the upcoming American biographical drama stars Andra Day as the jazz singer and documents the Federal Bureau of Narcotic’s investigation against her.
Dear White People – Netflix
The comedy-drama follows several Black college students at an Ivy League college and tackles modern race relations.
Black-ish – ABC
The comedy tracks the Johnsons, a wealthy family, that learns the importance of incorporating race into their identity, which allows them to honor their background and history while tackling modern-day issues and dilemmas.
Lupin – Netflix
Inspired by the adventures of Arsène Lupin, a famous thief looking to avenge his father for the injustices committed against him.
On My Block – Netflix
The coming-of-age comedy focuses on a group of street-savvy Black and Latinx friends living in a Los Angeles neighborhood and navigating issues such as gang activity and gun violence daily.
Black Lightning – The CW
Jefferson Pierce suits up as the Black Lightning to protect his daughter, Jennifer, who gets recruited by a street gang in this DC Comics-inspired series.
Greenleaf – Netflix
On the outside, the Greenleafs, who manage the Memphis megachurch Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, are the poster family, but underneath it all, they’re consumed by scandal, secrets, and lies.
Lukas Cage – Netflix
Though there are only 2 seasons, Mike Colter brings to life Marvel’s crime-fighting hero with superhuman strength and abilities living in Harlem.
Power – Starz
A wealthy New York nightclub owner who has it all moonlights as a drug kingpin in this crime drama starring 50-Cent, who also serves as executive producer.
Atlanta – Hulu
The comedy-drama created by Donald Glover focuses on the music scene in Atlanta for up-and-coming rappers like Alfred Miles, who tries to take his career to the next level.
The Game – Peacock
With nine-seasons in the bag, the sitcom, a spinoff of Girlfriends, follows the wives and girlfriends of pro football players looking to launch their own careers.
For Life – ABC
Drawing inspiration from Isaac Wright Jr., the legal and family drama centers around Aaron Wallace, an imprisoned man who becomes a lawyer to fight for the freedom of other inmates, while also attempting to overturn his life sentence for a crime he was falsely accused of and get a fresh start.
Queen Sugar – OWN
The drama focuses on the estranged Bordelon siblings in Louisiana, who are brought together following a family tragedy and forced to work together to run the struggling sugar cane farm.
Raising Dion – Netflix
A kid-friendly show about a second-grader who discovers he has superhero powers and gets help navigating them from his single mom.
Underground – Hulu
The historical drama about the Underground Railroad is set in the 1850s and highlights the heroism of those who attempting a daring escape and looking for a better life and future.
When They See Us – Netflix
This Is Us – NBC
Despite being centered around a white family, Randall’s experiences trying to understand his Blackness, struggling to fit in, looking for his roots, and eventually getting to understand his background lends way to some insightful television. Sterling K. Brown does a phenomenal job telling these stories and addressing them in light of current events like the BLM movement.
Batwoman – The CW
Not season 1, per se, but season 2 redefines the tone of the series with the casting of Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, the first Black Batwoman in the franchise.
Girlfriends – Netflix
Nothing is strong than your group of girlfriends. These exceptional women are there for each other through life’s highs and lows.
Insecure – Netflix
In this comedy-drama, created by co-star Issa Rae, Issa and Molly are two best friends whose lives are overrun by their insecurities.
All American – The CW
Spencer James, a star high school football player, is recruited to play on a team in Beverly Hills. The opportunity is too good to pass up, but finding his footing in a school in a predominantly white school where the coach’s son deems him to be a threat proves to be the real challenge.
The Chi – Hulu
The coming-of-age drama about Kevin, a preteen navigating life, paints a realistic picture of the dangers that plague the residents living in the South Side of Chicago.
Madelaine Petsch’s ‘Hotel for the Holidays’ Is a Gem Among Cliché Films
There are a lot of Christmas movies out there, which is why it’s important to make the right choice this holiday season. After all, no one has the time to waste over two+ hours on a bad movie.
At the top of your list should be Hotel for the Holidays, a rom-com that offers a refreshing take on a festive genre that oftentimes lacks creativity simply because the forces behind the scenes know it will make money regardless as everyone longs for a slice of familiarity and comfort around the holidays.
There’s plenty of Christmas magic (it must’ve slipped through the cracks) in Hotel for the Holidays, and it sneaks up on you—and Madelaine Petsch’s character, Georgia—in the best possible way. It’s Amazon Freevee’s first original holiday flick, and hopefully, not the last.
The plot is rather simple on the surface, but it isn’t predictable as with other holiday rom-coms.
Here’s the gist: Georgia is a young and ambitious hotel manager at the historic Hotel Fontaine (it gives The Plaza Hotel vibes from Home Alone 2), which attracts an eclectic bunch of guests, including some heartbroken singles, an infamous popstar, a European ex-prince looking for a taste of the real world, and more. They all arrive in New York City for the holidays looking for an escape from the norm, and Georgia is determined to give it to them. However, she also has her own plans and goals that get her into a bit of a love triangle with the hotel’s chef, Luke (Mesa Massoud from the live-action Aladdin), and the ex-prince, Raymond (Max Lloyd Jones from Book of Boba Fett). It also stars Kayleigh Shikanai (American Gods) as Pandora, Jami Belushi (According to Jim) as Kiki, Neil Crone (It) as Milton, and Jayne Eastwood (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) as Florence.
Pretty early into the film, it’s obvious how Georgia’s romantic life will resolve itself, which allows the film to dig into other captivating subplots that are positively unexpected. Unlike other holiday films, Georgia values herself beyond a romantic partner, which, right off the bat, is a breath of fresh air.
The supporting cast plays an integral part in the film, right down to the chef’s best friend/fellow chef and the janitorial staff. They may not be the sole focus of the series, but the team behind the rom-com found a way to involve them in a way that’s natural and easy to keep up with. Pretty soon, you find yourself rooting for the happiness of everyone at Hotel Fontaine—the staff and the guests.
The acting is also great. It’s just the right amount of feel-good so it never feels forced, nor do the character’s choices seem questionable. It’s all believable within the world they’ve created, aside from the scene where they are dining on a rooftop in the dead of a New York City winter without jackets or even sweaters. How are they not cold? As for the few over-the-top performances and characters, well, they also work—the prince’s bodyguard (AJ Zoldy) is a delight.
If I’m being perfectly honest, the magical thing about the film is that it’s a love letter to the community of people you surround yourself with: your found family.
The film doesn’t just settle for telling a story about two people who finally admit that they love each other because that’s tired and expected. Instead, it recognizes that romance comes in all shapes and sizes—in romantic partners, in co-workers, in friends, and even in new acquaintances that pass through your life for a brief moment (or stay awhile).
The storylines come together seamlessly, and the themes of belonging and acceptance—in addition to staying true to yourself, finding the inspiration to pursue your goals and ambitions, and acknowledging that it’s ok to move and find happiness on your own terms, even if it doesn’t always please everyone—help the film stand out among the other cliche seasonal offerings.
Most importantly, Petsch shines… and it’s so deserved. The film allows her to show off her range of acting chops that, sadly, get stifled on Riverdale. The CW series may have been her mainstream big break, but it stopped working in her favor a long time ago, so it’s exciting to see her take on new projects and characters.
Of all the Christmas films that I’ve seen in 2022 thus far, Hotel for the Holidays is one of the best.
Check it out for yourself when it premieres on Dec. 2 on Amazon’s Freevee.
9 TV Shows to Watch After Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is a time for reconnecting with friends and family and indulging in some delicious meals.
But after all the turkey, sides, and pie is cleared off the plate, the only acceptable activity is binge-watching some feel-good TV shows.
Here are some post-Thanksgiving dinner show suggestions:
You’ll be just as surprised as Mel to fall in love with the picturesque town of Virgin River. Come for the views, stay for Jack.
Hart of Dixie
Dr. Zoe Hart arrives in Alabama looking for a fresh start and learns that the Southern way of living might actually be what’s best for her.
An unbreakable mother and daughter bond, a charming town that would make any Lifetime movie jealous… plus, an unspoken love for coffee? Say no more.
Selena + Chef
You might know her as a Disney Channel actress and pop star, but now, she’s adding chef to her resume. And since Thanksgiving is all about food, this is one show you don’t want to pass up.
You might think it’s odd that a mafia crime drama made the list, but at its core, the series is about family and how far two dedicated and loving moms would go for their family. It’s a thrill from beginning to end!
The modern-day update to the Chuck Norris classic hones in on family above everything, with a side of roundhouse kicks.
A Million Little Things
A group from Boston bond under the unlikeliest of circumstances and get a much-needed wake-up call following the death of a close friend.
Though it falls into the “sci-fi mystery” category, La Brea hinges on a family determined to find their way back to each other despite all the obstacles standing in their way and all the sacrifices needed to be made.
Dream Home Makeover
If there’s ever a time to get inspired for a home makeover, it’s after the holidays (and during Black Friday when everything is on sale!) And the McGee family is the cherry on top!
This is… a no-brainer. No show captures the essence of what it means to be a complicated, loving, flawed, and fulfilled family more than this NBC drama.
When Is ‘Dead to Me’ Season 3 Coming Out?
There’s been a lot of buzz about the upcoming third season of Dead to Me, which will, unfortunately, also be the final season of the Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini-led comedy drama.
When Will Dead to Me Season 3 Premiere?
Well, the wait is thankfully almost over because the series is set to hit Netflix on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
And that means, you’ll have the whole entire weekend to binge watch all 10 episodes to see how Jen Harding and Judy Hale’s adventures come to an end.
It’s been a bit since new episodes aired, however, with Dead to Me Season 2 dropping on the streaming giant in May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic along with Applegate’s MS (multiple sclerosis diagnosis) delayed the upcoming season significantly, so it’s understandable if you don’t actually remember where things left off.
How Did Dead to Me Season 2 End? Let’s Recap!
For starters, a dog digs up Steve Wood’s body with his brother, Ben, getting the dreaded call. Judy and Jen find the money that Steve was laundering for the Greek mafia behind the frames of Judy’s art paintings, which allows them to buy out the house and get a new car for Charlie with a shiny new bow on top. Unfortunately, on their way home, they get into an accident with another vehicle… and it’s revealed that the driver that hit them is Ben, who has an empty bottle of liquor by his side. He’s a little banged up, but he drives away. This is honestly messy, so I’m glad we’re on the cusp of the new season. And on top of all of that, Charlie finds the letter that Jen wrote (and Judy didn’t destroy), which probably includes way too much information about what’s going on.
Dead to Me Season 3 Trailer
Applegate on Filming the Final Season
Applegate, who recently received her much-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, told Variety that while filming the new season of the Emmy-award winning drama amid her MS diagnosis was challenging (she had to use a wheelchair to get to set because walking was difficult and painful), she remained dedicated to finishing out the story for fans, which we truly admire and are grateful for.
When the creative forces behind the show asked if she wanted to pull the plug since they felt like they were “torturing her,” she replied, “But I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no: We have to finish this story. It’s too important to our hearts; too important to our souls. And we have to give this gift, not only to ourselves — there are people that love these characters, and we’ve got to let them have their closure too.’ So, if that meant me having to take a break in the middle of the day so I could go sleep — or me just leaving because I couldn’t do anymore — then that’s what we had to do.”
And knowing how much dedication went into it will make watching this season so more rewarding and gratifying.
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