DiversityLatest News and Opinion
Posted Friday 12/07/18 at 10:10PM EST
Why "woke" TV reboots don't work: "Diversity isn’t a varnish you can apply to what’s familiar"
Past TV shows rebooted to emphasize diversity, like Charmed or the upcoming Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot are bound to be problematic, says Emma Grey Ellis. "This is where the of vast majority of woke-ified reboots fail," she says. "They respond to calls for change by retreading old ground—an insulting move on a few different levels. Reboots, remakes, and sequels abound because they’re easy to get greenlit: Executives feel safer shelling out cash for things they know have worked before, things that have a built-in audience. Which is already unsatisfying, but somewhat worse when you consider that many of these reboots have female showrunners and/or showrunners of color, some of whom have explicitly stated that doing a remake of an existing show is the only way to get their stories greenlit. The implication: Stories about women and minorities aren’t seen as marketable enough to stand on their own, unless they are standing on the shoulders of a story by and for white men. Which, even just from a box office numbers standpoint, is plainly wrong."
Posted Thursday 12/06/18 at 3:19PM EST
Golden Globes' biggest TV oddity: The Kominsky Method's nomination over Atlanta Robbin' Season
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The new batch of Golden Globe TV nominations were, says Daniel Fienberg, "the usual assortment of shiny new things, weirdly entrenched old things, baffling snubs and gratifying celebrations. We can begin with the absence of Atlanta in the comedy series category, where you can't say that voters don't know the FX series exists because Donald Glover was nominated for lead actor in a comedy series this year and because Atlanta won for comedy series at the Globes just two years ago. Instead, it turns out that Globes voters just really, really like The Kominsky Method and I'm not even opposed to the Chuck Lorre series, which fairly deftly blends broad comedy and sentimental aging hijinks and was reasonably worthy of the nominations received by both Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. The problem is mostly that the second season of Atlanta was so good and not that the other comedy series nominees are so bad."
- There was a relative lack of diversity among Golden Globe TV nominations, especially when compared to movie nominations
- The Golden Globes needs to do better with its nomination process for television -- The Alienist is a case of "outright category fraud"
- Amy Adams is one of two people nominated three times, including two noms for Sharp Objects
- Can The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel pull off a rare repeat win?
Posted Tuesday 12/04/18 at 1:01PM EST
Mahershala Ali's True Detective character was originally written for a white actor
Ali tells John David Washington in a Variety Actors on Actors conversation that he was originally offered the supporting role on the third season of the HBO series because the lead actor was written to be white. But Ali convinced by creator Nic Pizzolatto to cast him after texting him pictures of his grandfather as a state police officer in real life. “I was like, ‘See, we existed in this space. In the ’60s and the ’70s. State police officers,'” Ali recounts. “I was like, ‘I think your story would be served, I think the story would be improved in this case, if this lead character was black.'” Ali adds: “I could’ve played that second lead, that supporting career. But in my mind, I was like, ‘I’ve done this my entire career though. I’ve never done that,' At that time, I’m 43 years old. If it don’t happen now, it really may not happen.”
Posted Wednesday 11/28/18 at 8:50PM EST
Star Trek's groundbreaking interracial kiss turns 50
On Nov. 22, 1968, William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk and Nichelle Nichols' Lieutenant Nyota Uhura locked lips. The episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren," would help change attitudes in America about interracial relationships.
Posted Tuesday 11/27/18 at 1:19PM EST
CBS' groundbreaking The White Shadow premiered 40 years ago today
Source: New York Post
The White Shadow, about a white former professional basketball player who becomes the coach of an inner-city high school basketball team, is notable for being the first ensemble drama to feature a mostly African-American cast. The New York Post caught up with the stars of the show that ran for three seasons, from Nov. 27, 1978, to March 16, 1981. "The shock waves were immediate and undeniable," writes Peter Botte. "Not only for a diverse cast that recalls with pride the sensitive subject matter the show’s producer, Bruce Paltrow, tackled practically every week, but for a loyal and almost cult-like fan base — from the inner cities to suburban Long Island to outposts as remote as Turkey — that positively reveres the show to this day. Long before a recent generation of sports fans enjoyed and devoured Friday Night Lights, viewers were introduced each week to Coach Reeves and Ms. Buchanan, Coolidge and Salami, Thorpe and Hayward, Go-Go and Goldstein, and the myriad problems they and their families encountered with drugs and teen pregnancy and domestic violence and countless other issues involving their personal lives in inner-city LA."
Posted Sunday 11/18/18 at 4:37AM EST
Is Doctor Who finally getting it right when it comes to race?
Source: The Guardian
With episodes tackling Rosa Parks and the 1947 partition of India, "this season of Doctor Who has reached back into history to tell some of the most racially charged stories of the 20th century," says Martin Belam. "It has been a throwback to the show’s original educational roots – but has raised questions about how Doctor Who has handled race both on and off-screen in the past." He adds: "There is much to be applauded in the approach taken this year, though, as a sign that the show is attempting to get to grips with how Doctor Who has dealt with race and racism in the past. Earlier this year streaming service Twitch showed most of Doctor Who’s original 1963 to 1989 episodes back-to-back, and it only served to illustrate for a modern audience how the original series had been almost exclusively cast as white people."
Posted Friday 11/09/18 at 10:34PM EST
What's up with TV cop shows depicting "brave" white cops fighting minority higher-ups?
Source: The Washington Post
Nathan Fillion's The Rookie "joins other police procedurals that position straight white men as heroic outsiders battling shortsighted women and minorities in leadership roles," according to Elizabeth Hoover. In Chicago P.D., Bosch and (the canceled) Training Day, to name a few, white men with a willingness to use off-the-books tactics to protect the city’s most vulnerable are discounted by a system hamstrung by 'political correctness,'" says Hoover. "Even the comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is now highly praised for its diversity in terms of casting, started its run with a story line about the charming white detective Jake Peralta locking horns with his uptight superior, Capt. Raymond Holt, a gay black man. Holt must begrudgingly admit Peralta is a gifted detective, even though — and perhaps because — he doesn’t always stick to the rules. In these shows, 'political correctness' and prioritizing diversity are depicted as eroding American institutions and endangering our cities." Hoover adds: "Treating white men as outsiders in police departments run by people of color is at odds with reality. In truth, law enforcement faces a diversity crisis — especially at the leadership level. According to a 2016 report from the Department of Justice, police forces consistently fail to recruit and retain people of color, which could be contributing to a lack of trust between police and the communities they work in."
Posted Monday 10/15/18 at 9:45AM EDT
The CW launches a #CWOpenToAll campaign
The advertising campaign aims to reinforce The CW's commitment to inclusion and representation. “We think this campaign really captures the spirit and mission of the CW and why our fans come to us,” says CW president Mark Pedowitz. “We are committed to making sure our viewers see themselves represented on screen, and that we also have diverse voices being heard behind the camera.”
Posted Friday 10/05/18 at 3:56AM EDT
Star Wars live-action TV series The Mandalorian reveals its first image, announces directors including Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard
The What We Do in the Shadows director and the Jurassic World co-star -- whose dad, Ron Howard, directed Solo: A Star Wars Story -- will be among the first non-white male directors to ever direct a live-action Star Wars project, joining TV veteran Deborah Chow and Dope director Rick Famuyiwa. The first episode will be directed by Star Wars: The Clone Wars vet Dave Filoni.
Posted Friday 9/28/18 at 11:40PM EDT
This is the year networks finally embraced diversity
Source: BuzzFeed News
"For the first time in network TV history, shows with actors of color in lead roles outnumber shows with predominantly white casts," reports Kate Aurthur, adding: "Changes onscreen have come slowly to all of television. And at the ad-supported broadcast networks — which, with a few exceptions, still provide the biggest platforms — deeming the lives of people of color unworthy material for popularized storytelling has had toxic consequences. There are real-life effects for showing black and brown people as criminals, or otherwise dehumanized. Conversely, so rarely presenting the lives of people of color as joyful or romantic or exceptional enough to provide dramatic or comedic fodder has also contributed to decades’ worth of damage."
Posted Tuesday 9/18/18 at 3:13PM EDT
Maybe the Emmys should adapt the "Popular Award" that the Oscars proposed
Sure, a hit show like Game of Thrones won the top drama award last night. But as Peter Rubin points out, "trophy after trophy went to the most prestigious of prestige TV: Netflix's Queen Elizabeth II bio-series The Crown; FX's Cold War domestic espionage cat-and-mouse The Americans; Amazon's upstart comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; HBO's ... everything. No question, these were deserving shows and performances. Henry Winkler? Still a treasure, even if his Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award for Barry came at the expense of Atlanta's far more deserving Brian Tyree Henry. Meanwhile, some of the television series I've had the most conversations about it—the good kind, the morning-after-Slackathon kind, the "oh, you've gotta watch this" kind—got overlooked... All of which makes me wonder if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences might have been on to something with its proposed-then-scrapped idea to introduce a 'outstanding achievement in popular film 'Academy Award category—not for the Oscars, but the Emmys."
- Emmys allowed Lorne Michaels and his SNL stars to run wild, forgetting that they're supposed to be the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players"
- The Emmys did break diversity records, but it was during the Creative Arts Emmys
- Why The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is deserving of its Emmys sweep
- Oscars director Glenn Weiss and his new fiancé met at an awards show: The Tonys in 2001
- Ryan Murphy says he feels like he's "in the club" after his American Crime Story directing Emmy win
- New York Times to issue a correction after mistaking Angela Bassett for Omarosa in an Emmys caption
- Henry Winkler says winning his first Emmy "feels unbelievable"
# TOPICS: 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, NBC, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Angela Bassett, Glenn Weiss, Henry Winkler, Lorne Michaels, Omarosa Manigault, Ryan Murphy, Award Shows, Diversity, Oscars
Posted Tuesday 9/18/18 at 8:17AM EDT
Emmys became a bloated SNL episode
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Lorne Michaels decided to turn the entire Emmys telecast "over to Saturday Night Live and Saturday Night Live-adjacent personalities in a way that no single show has ever dominated the Emmy proceedings in my lifetime," says Daniel Fienberg. The SNL bloat could be seen with longtime cast member Kenan Thompson being part of the beginning and the ending of the show. "Heaven knows I'm an appreciator of Thompson and his marvelous SNL legacy and his impressive pre-SNL legacy, but there's a statement you're making when you have Kenan Thompson present for outstanding drama series and it's something along the lines of, 'The history of television is, for tonight, all about just one show," says Fienberg. He adds: "Imagine CBS using its platform a decade ago to only let various cast members from CSI and its respective spinoffs present. Or ABC doing an Emmys telecast in which each award is presented by somebody from the Bachelor franchise. This was a bad look for NBC and for Michaels, and it'd be hard to begrudge any future network in this Emmys rotation thinking that skipping NBC talent for presentations would be fair play."
- UPDATE: 70th Primetime Emmys hit a new ratings low, based on early numbers
- A cringey, tone-deaf embarrassment and an enraging slog: This was the worst-produced awards show since James Franco and Anne Hathaway co-hosted the Oscars
- The Emmys joked about TV's lack of diversity, and then demonstrated it by handing out 22 of 26 awards to white nominees
- Michael Che and Colin Jost had the energy of two students giving a dutiful book report: Their jokes suggested they barely watched TV, and they looked like they'd rather be anywhere else
- It seemed like every presenting pair would've made better hosts than Che and Jost
- Opening "We Solved It" number upstaged hosts Che and Jost, making them uncomfortable, unfunny afterthoughts
- There should've been some award show chaos -- instead, Che and Jost took these crazy times and turned them into something humdrum
- Perhaps what was most admirable about the telecast was how little Trump came up
- It's remarkable that an Emmy ceremony that emphasized diversity awarded statues to shows that barely addressed race at all
- Honorees created moments that felt bigger than the show encasing them, from Henry Winkler to Thandie Newton
- Emmys steering clear of overt political gestures was a welcome change from last year
- Netflix topped all networks with five Emmy wins Monday night, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel led all shows with five wins
- Overall, HBO and Netflix tied with each taking home 23 Emmy awards this year
- Oscars director Glenn Weiss on his surprise Emmy proposal: I expected the Emmys director to cut me off and play me out
- Glenn Weiss considered warning the Emmys director about his proposal -- but the Emmys director was a rival in his category
- NBC's SNL and ABC's Oscar ceremony were the only broadcast winners Monday night
- John Oliver weighs in on Emmys ignoring Trump: “In the drinking game, I think we’re just trying to keep America sober"
- RuPaul wasted his RuPaul’s Drag Race historic Emmy victory by focusing himself instead of the LGBTQ community
- Atlanta was completely shut out as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel dominated the comedy categories
- Emmy winners (The Americans) and losers (Emmy bits)
- More winners (old people) and losers (the loudest crowd in recent memory)
- Darren Criss' lead actor in a limited series victory marked the second year in a row that an actor of Asian descent won in the category
- Hannah Gadsby nearly stole the show with her one minute of Emmys glory
- Emmys bleeped out Thandie Newton saying "I am so f*cking blessed to work with the people I have gotten to work with"
- Six of the most awkward moments: From the silences to Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph's awkward bit
- Donald Glover's Atlanta character Teddy Perkins was spotted in the audience -- played by SNL alum Jay Pharoah
- Henry Winkler and Ron Howard had a Happy Days reunion in the audience
# TOPICS: 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, HBO, NBC, Netflix, Atlanta, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Colin Jost, Darren Criss, Glenn Weiss, Hannah Gadsby, Henry Winkler, John Oliver, Lorne Michaels, Michael Che, RuPaul Charles, Thandie Newton, Award Shows, Diversity, Emmys, Ratings
Posted Monday 9/17/18 at 4:43PM EDT
Watch the trailer for Chef's Table's more diverse Season 5
David Gelb’s docuseries returns on Sept. 28, addressing concerns about diversity by including more women and people of color.
Posted Thursday 9/13/18 at 11:07PM EDT
NRA depicts Thomas & Friends with KKK hoods to slam diversity
NRATV used the iconic kids' character Thomas the Tank Engine to mock the show's recent partnering with the United Nations to increase diversity on the program. Mattel later denounced the use of its show in association with hate images.
Posted Wednesday 9/12/18 at 1:11PM EDT
BoJack Horseman creator: "The fact that I’m still making this show with mostly white people in every episode fills me with tremendous guilt"
"I say this not to just flagellate myself or to show off what a great guy I am," says Raphael Bob-Waksberg, "but because I want to put this on the record and to hold myself up to this when I go about making other shows. Also so that other white people making shows can see that this has been something that I have wrestled with, (instead of) looking at my show and saying, 'Oh well, he did it and it’s OK, so maybe it’s not that big a deal.' I would (also) like to be very open that my guilt does not solely come from a place of white progressivism. I do think that the show has been hurt by our all-white cast." Bob-Waksberg points to Alison Brie's casting as an Asian-American woman. "For a long time, because we cast a white actress to play Diane, I was afraid of this conversation happening," he says. "And because of that, we really downplayed her race and her cultural heritage. We’ve treated her basically like a white woman because I didn’t want to have a white woman playing an overtly Asian character, because that felt somehow more wrong to me. And now I feel the opposite. We did a complete disservice to the character by making her so white. Obviously what white-coded means is subjective, and there are Asian women who relate to Diane and I don’t want to discount their experiences. But I do think we have avoided stories that could have been more interesting because of my own fear and guilt about the casting."