The Sunday Stream

There were a few times while the pilot episode of The Kings of Napa was on my television screen that I said to myself, What am I watching? And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The pilot was filled with so many twists and turns that it was inevitable that I had a shocked look on my face at least three times. The newest serial from OWN, which is the latest drama featuring wealthy Black folks to make its debut this season (I’m looking at you, Our Kind of People), is definitely over the top and feels like one of those shows that will attempt to one-up itself every week.

Created by Claws showrunner and award-winning producer/writer Janine Sherman Barrois, The Kings of Napa gives us a close look at the King family and what happens when a wine business suffers a sudden, crushing blow.

The series stars Ebonee Noel as August King, one of the heirs to the House of King wineries, an idea person who is always looking for the next thing that will take the business to the next level. Rance Nix is Dana, August’s older brother who serves as the company’s CFO and believes he should be next in line to run the winery. What happens during the first episode pits the two against one another in an age-old sibling rivalry plot line that will hopefully be explored with care as opposed to with reckless regard (who am I kidding? It’s a soap opera. Let the recklessness reign!).

Rounding out the cast are Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (The Wire) as patriarch Reginald King, Karen LeBlanc as matriarch Vanessa, Devika Parikh as Vanessa’s sister Melanie, Yaani King Mondschein as Melanie’s daughter Bridgette, and Ashlee Brian as the youngest King sibling, Christian. Recurring cast members include Curtis Hamilton, Heather Alicia Simms and Samantha Walkes.

Barrois got the idea for the show from a trip to Napa Valley, where she saw an abundance of Black-owned wineries and thought it would be a great setting for a television series. And through her exclusive deal with Warner Brothers, she got the ball rolling. This brought us to Tuesday night’s debut, which got the show off to a rollicking start. I won’t give anything away for those who have yet to watch but what I will say again is, be ready to ask yourself if you really heard or saw what you just saw or heard.

It’s great to see rich Black folks making things happen on television, operating in social circles that are usually reserved for their white counterparts. I can’t wait to see how ridiculous and over the top they get with their spending and fashion. What will also be worth keeping an eye on is whether Kings can keep up the pilot pace, or if, like Our Kind of People, the writing and storylines start to rot on the vine (heh, wine reference!) and become untenable. That’s what will keep me watching. Hopefully The Kings of Napa will continue to bear interesting fruit (another one!).

The Kings of Napa airs Tuesdays on OWN.


Throughout my journey with NBC’s This Is Us, I’ve had different favorite characters. Of course Randall is my guy, with his storyline strangely and accurately mirroring my own life path. Then of course there’s Beth who is written as the wife every man should want. I’ve loved Toby, thought Annie was the cutest kid ever, smiled whenever Deja hit the screen, and even thought Jack was dad goals. However, ever since he appeared on the show, I can’t get enough of Nicky. He is so awkward, so in his own way, so genuine. This past week’s episode only made me love him more. Lawd I’m gonna miss this show.

The Progressive commercials where the older gentleman is teaching folks how not to act like their parents make me laugh every time. “The shopping cart is pulling to the left…” Heh.

The CW’s Naomi got off to an interesting start. Can’t wait to see where it goes. Also hoping that the sale of the network doesn’t put any of the scripted shows in jeopardy.

What is going on with The Good Doctor? Looked this week to see when it will be back on the air and there’s no solid info. That’s not good, and confirms what I already believed: the show fell off a short cliff when Antonia Thomas left. Just sayin…

NBC is going to ruin all of their series next month when it starts airing its coverage of the Winter Olympics. February will be a bust, viewing wise. I’m not happy about it. At all.

I might be ready to quit OWN’s Ready to Love. What started out as a dope platform for older folks to find love has turned into a version of all the other reality shows on television. Plus, now there’s seemingly no gaps between seasons, with this current DC iteration ending next week, followed immediately by the next season airing… the following week. It’s getting to be too much. Quantity over quality is the show’s motto, I guess. Huge womp.

What are you watching? Please leave a comment and let me know.

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