Here are some TV series getting representation right on all fronts…
At a time when there’s never been more entertainment options, it’s almost vital to be picky, if only for your over-screened eyes’ sake. But also – it’s 2017. It’s time to say no to problematic television and start choosing shows that are worth the eye fatigue. No show is truly unproblematic, and I for one still won’t give up Game of Thrones, but some shows are better than others at doing seemingly simple, obvious things like portraying women and people of color in positive and nuanced ways. With fall coming just around the corner and the cooler weather encouraging us all to stay indoors more, here are five shows that you can binge (mostly) guilt-free.
Clones? Lesbian scientists? Suburban couples dancing in their underwear on top of piles of money? All of this and Tatiana Maslaney’s master portrayals of a multitude of different characters should be enough to draw you in, but if you need extra persuasion, Orphan Black also asks hard questions about body autonomy, reproductive rights, human cloning, and medically-enhanced body modifications without ever feeling dull. It’s a smart, funny sci fi drama that leaves you wondering only one thing: Is there anything women can’t do?
Quantico first made the news for being the first American show to feature a South Asian female lead, but its decision to choose a diverse cast and discuss controversial political topics has been a mainstay through its run. Priyanka Chopra stars as a rookie FBI agent who dismantles terrorist plots and takes down corrupt white male politicians, but she doesn’t work alone – her fellow officers include more POC than they do white people, and it’s a casting move that feels genuine rather than like it’s fulfilling a diversity quota. Season two aired immediately after Trump’s inauguration, and the showrunners did not hold back on any political topics as the season’s themes revolved around a Muslim ban, a women president, and shady white male politicians.
Michaela Cole writes, directs, and stars in this E4 comedy as a 24-year-old religiously restricted, sexually naive shop assistant trying to find love. Partially based on her own life experience, Cole’s creation is as hilarious and cringey as it is sympathetic, and you can’t help but cheer her on in her romantic ventures even as you look away from the awkwardness onscreen.
It should come as a surprise to no one that this comedy-drama created by and starring Donald Glover is brilliant and hilarious. Atlanta loosely follows Ernie (Glover) and his cousin as they attempt to break into the Atlanta rap scene to improve their lives for the sake of their families. The 10 episodes loosely tell their story, though a few episodes diverge from the main plotline to tackle issues of racism head-on in a way that’s as funny as it is thought-provoking.
How to Get Away With Murder
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without Shonda Rhimes’ much loved How to Get Away With Murder. Featuring the always marvelous Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, a lawyer with a complicated handle on life, the show isn’t afraid to cover dark territory including abuse, adultery, and of course, murder. The show has gotten some pushback for refusing to acknowledge Keating’s bisexuality despite showing her relationships onscreen and covering other spectrums of sexual relationships within the plot, but there’s hope that continuing to include these moments in the show will lead to greater representation in the future.
Follow Into The Fold on twitter: @intothefoldmag