There are two very compelling series that took a bow this weekend, with both focusing on young Black men and sports. The Netflix limited series Colin in Black and White will likely get all of the headlines this weekend, with the Ava Duvernay/Colin Kaepernick collaboration placing a spotlight on the former NFL quarterback’s teenage years. The six episodes, all released this past Friday, went all in on how Colin’s history was influenced by racism, classism, and his being adopted by well-meaning but often clueless white parents (never thought I’d give Nick Offerman the side eye but alas, it happened several times while watching).
It was the history lesson most non-Blacks (and some melanated folks as well) need to pay attention to, and explains what a lot of Black teens (a very strong performance by Vampires vs. The Bronx star Jaden Michael) who may be seen as “future prospects” go through in order to achieve their dreams. At some points I wasn’t sure if the series was for my demographic, with the heavy-handed history facts, delivered directly by Colin to the camera (and where Ava’s contribution to the series is clearly seen), and scenes with blatant racism showing me nothing I haven’t both lived and seen before. However, the overall message of the series wasn’t lost on me and hopefully others will get it, too: “Trust your power. Trust your Blackness.”
The other series that made its debut this weekend was Apple TV Plus’ Swagger, from creator Reggie Rock Bythewood and the producing team of NBA All-Star Kevin Durant and his manager Rich Kleiman. The series is about a youth basketball team that calls themselves “Swagger,” and its star player Jace Carson (Isiah Hill). The series is based loosely on the life of Durant, which lends it a similar credibility as Netflix’s Colin, and takes us inside the ups and downs of the player and the team. O’Shea Jackson, Jr. stars as the team’s coach Ike, a former basketball star with a troubled past that made him quit playing the sport he loved, and Shinelle Azoroh as Jace’s mom, a sports mom determined to give her son whatever he needs to be the best player in the state.
Apple released only three episodes this weekend, with these episodes giving us the origin story of the team and showing Jace going toe-to-toe with his biggest rival to-date and Coach Ike warning the kids to block out the outside noise while simultaneously being faced with blasts from his complicated past. What I hope it explores going forward are the stories of Jace’s best friend Crystal (played by Quvenzhane Wallis, who is known for her Oscar-worthy performance in 2012’s Beasts of The Southern Wild as well as the Black version of Annie), who is going through complications of her own as a number one prospect, and more about Jace’s Swagger teammate Phil (Solomon Iraba), whose mother is incarcerated and father seems MIA. I’m totally invested in the storylines and have to give Jackson major respect for his powerful portrayal of Coach Ike.
Can’t wait to see what comes next.
Previously On. . .
I can’t be the only one that gets confused with the back-and-forth on Ordinary Joe. It’s not so hard distinguishing between Cop Joe, RockStar Joe and Nurse Joe. It’s the other characters that I have to concentrate on in order to make sure I’m in the right timeline. All that said, the show is OK and the actor who plays the son is a star, so I’m sticking with it for now.
Two weeks in, I’m really feeling the energy of ESPN’s NBA Today. Malika Andrews is doing a great job so far. Good times.
Showtime’s American Rust has all the makings of a great limited series. It has Maura Tierney and Jeff Daniels as leads, giving all of the angst that has made them famous and my personal favorites. It’s even based in the same type of hometown as last year’s award-winning Mare of Easttown. So I should love it. Well, I’m eight episodes in and am still not sure if the story makes sense. Maybe that’s the point of it all, but I doubt it. Next week’s episode is the finale, so I’ll see it through. But still. . . Sigh.
THIS. . . is my favorite commercial at the moment. It’s so flawless. Goodness.
Recently, I started revisiting Girlfriends, thanks to Netflix, and I don’t think we talk enough about how they changed Darnells (from Flex Alexander to Khalil Kain) on us without as much as a word. Well, if I’m being honest I was kinda happy Flex left (hopefully to star in his own sitcom One on One) since, I still have PTSD after seeing Flex portray Michael Jackson in a movie.
I don’t think there’s ONE character on Apple’s The Morning Show that is likeable. Not. One. I mean, not even the Mindy Kaling cameo made me smile. And I love Mindy. This show, man. I’m literally hate-watching at this point.
I’ve been with Chicago Fire since the beginning, and I’ve seen characters come and go with regularity. I was sad when Dawson left, cried when Otis died, and have put up with all of the constant changes to Ambo 61. This latest departure, by Capt. Matt Casey (leading man Jesse Spencer), was tough. I enjoyed him despite the weird storylines whenever it came to him and relationships (seriously, every time he liked someone it was like he didn’t know what to do. “I can talk about fires, but not about my feelings!” OK, Matt.). All that to say, the day Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) leaves the firehouse, I might be absolutely done with the show. And I’ll say it was a good run.
Grey’s Anatomy might very well make it to a 20th season, and yes, I’ll still be watching. However, the way the original characters are moving these days, they might all need walkers in order to walk the hospital hallways by then. It’s only Season 18 and it’s already becoming tough to watch them in motion.
What are you watching? Please leave a comment and let me know.