10 items from 2016
The 2016 Emmy Awards season is officially underway! To celebrate, we’re highlighting a few of this year’s nominees whose recognition from the Television Academy feels long overdue. These hard-working acting veterans consistently deliver brilliant performances in everything they do—but this year, in these roles, their work practically demands that statuette of a winged woman holding aloft an atom. Which actors do you think are especially deserving? ABC’s “Black-ish” scored Emmy nominations in three top categories this year: lead actor Anthony Anderson, lead actress Tracee Ellis Ross, and outstanding comedy series. All three are particularly well deserved given the show’s brilliant second season; showrunner Kenya Barris incorporated funnier gags and more hot-button issues into his increasingly ambitious sitcom about the African-American experience today. And his two leading actors upped their game to do right by that material. Although the Academy left out the strong supporting performances »
Is this a golden era of TV comedy? With performances as strong as what Aziz Ansari, Rachel Bloom, Constance Wu, and Jenifer Lewis gave us this season, the answer might be yes! Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish” (ABC)Anderson has remained bracingly consistent as a father of four trying to balance his career and family life while maintaining his kids’ and his own sense of blackness in the lily-white surroundings of suburban, upper-middle-class California. Even when facing tough issues like police brutality, Anderson did so with grace while never sacrificing the heart of the family sitcom. Throw in Anderson’s chemistry with his co-stars, which include Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne, and Anderson’s Season 2 performance is shaping up nicely as an Emmy race contender. Aziz Ansari, “Master of None” (Netflix)Ansari is nothing short of awesome as the star-creator of this original series. Audiences laughed—mostly at his character Dev’s expense—as he navigated love in the modern age and a career as an actor in whitewashed Hollywood. His signature awkward, deadpan deliveries made Dev feel familiar, but Ansari managed to bring new »
Every Emmy voter has hard choices to make, but the comedy categories might be the home of the toughest races. Hourlong programs often make more noise and get more buzz, but much of TV’s center of gravity has shifted over to the comedy realm — and the numbers prove it.
Between 2009 and 2015, the number of prime-time scripted series roughly doubled from around 200 to more than 400. But the pace of that increase played out differently in comedy and in drama. During that time, the number of dramas grew by 80 percent, but the overall quantity of comedies increased by 120 percent, according to FX Research.
Given how crowded various fields are, there are dozens of credible candidates for every comedy category in the Emmy competition. And rather than break down each race, I’d prefer to offer a few recommendations in three major arenas. These are just a few reminders that may offer »
- Maureen Ryan
Emmy voters love Allison Janney, who already has a total of six statuettes for her work on three different shows — “The West Wing,” “Mom” and “Masters of Sex.” Janney looks to be a sure thing to land a third consecutive nomination for her work on “Mom” this year, having won the last two years in a row.
Can anyone overtake Janney? Perhaps previous winner Julie Bowen, who continues to score nominations even when other “Modern Family” co-stars have dropped off the list. If there’s a surge of love for the former champ, her co-star Sofia Vergara could also score another nomination.
There are plenty of previous nominees who have yet to win, including Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”), Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”), Gaby Hoffmann (“Transparent”), Jane Krakowski (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and Niecy Nash (“Getting On”). Hoffmann’s co-stars Judith Light and Amy Landecker also had standout years, while HBO »
- Jenelle Riley
[caption id="attachment_48521" align="aligncenter" width="590"] (ABC/Ron Tom.)[/caption]
Ain't we lucky we got 'em? Check out these photos of the second season finale of the Black-ish TV show on ABC. In "Good-ish Times," Dre falls asleep watching a Good Times TV show marathon. In his dream, the Johnson family goes back to the 1970s and are transformed into the characters of this classic TV show. The episode airs May 18th.
Black-ish stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin, and Jenifer Lewis. Guest starring are Peter Mackenzie, Jeff Meacham, Deon Cole, and Catherine Reitman. The cast of the original Good Times TV series includes: BernNadette Stanis, Ralph Carter, Jimmie Walker, Ja'net DuBois, Esther Rolle, John Amos, and Janet Jackson (Miss Jackson, if you're nasty).
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[caption id="attachment_45227" align="aligncenter" width="556"] (ABC/Bob D'Amico)[/caption]
Back in black-ish! ABC has renewed its Black-ish TV series for a third season. This smart family comedy, created by Kenya Barris, manages to address family and social issues with candor, while hitting the right comedic notes.
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Week after week, black-ish delivers as many laughs per minute as any comedy on television.
But while Wednesday’s installment had its fair share of wicked zingers — Ruby’s “Trust me, precious metal and sexual favors are the only currency during times of civil unrest” springs immediately to mind — the serious subject matter and compact direction made it unfold like a half-hour stage play about the nation’s epidemic of police brutality against black people (and the failure of the justice system to remedy it).
Relatedblack-ish Has Quietly Become TV’s Best-ish Comedy
The episode — which took place almost entirely »
It’s a small prop, dwarfed by other items on the dark wooden table.
Among the books, decorative objects and remotes on the coffee table in the large family room, which is at the heart of the action in most “Black-ish” episodes, lies a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me.”
In the Feb. 24 episode of “Black-ish,” Coates’ National Book Award-winning work is not only mentioned, there’s a joke about the fact that Andre Johnson (executive producer and star Anthony Anderson) has trouble pronouncing the author’s name.
It might seem strange for a broadcast network comedy to wring a punchline from a searing meditation on police brutality and the persistence of racism in America. But it’s more than just a well-crafted comedy: Over the course of its first two seasons, “Black-ish” has emerged as the ideal family sitcom for the age of Black Lives Matter. »
- Maureen Ryan
The Feb. 24 episode of “Black-ish” will take on police brutality, Variety has learned.
The episode, titled “Hope,” will revolve around a fictional incident of police brutality that Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson) discuss with family members, including the couple’s four children. Much of the episode will focus on various characters’ reactions as they watch a news broadcast about the case, which involves an African-American teenager’s encounter with police.
As was the case when the family talked about the issue of guns in the home, members of the Johnson clan do not necessarily see eye-to-eye about what the kids should know and when they should know it. Rainbow would like to shield the kids, especially the younger ones, from life’s harsher realities as long as she can, while Andre feels that they need to know about the challenges of the world they’re »
- Maureen Ryan
Robert Townsend has gotten behind the camera again; this time directing (and starring in) a basketball-themed rom-com titled "Playin' For Love" which tells the story of Coach Banks (Townsend) who is used to calling all the shots for his championship high school basketball team and in his own love life. But that’s about to change when he meets, Talisa McCoy (played by Salli Richardson-Whitfield), the mother of a star player, new to Jackson High. She’s a beautiful, strong-willed single mom, with her own ideas on a winning team… and the perfect man. Now, this coach will have to learn a few new plays if he’s going to stay in the game. Esai Morales, Jenifer Lewis, Lawrence »
- Tambay A. Obenson
10 items from 2016