For a lot of years, television has been viewed as sort of second string to film. It was good, of course, but usually couldn't match the quality of the high profile, big budget blockbusters we saw at the cinema. But recently, television has been making huge strides towards closing the gap, thanks to some tremendously innovative, groundbreaking programs. So it's fair to say that in regards to the new crop of television shows premiering this fall, our expectations are understandably pretty high. We've gotten used to Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and Orange is the New Black -- goofy little Chuck Lorre comedies on NBC just aren't going to cut it anymore for the discerning viewer. We have more refined tastes now. The following shows are the programs that we think have the potential to be genuinely good. Tellingly, there's a healthy mix between the networks, cable channels, and nontraditional mediums like Amazon. Every year that goes by, it becomes a little more clear that the major networks are no longer king, and with a world of options at our fingertips, they've really had to step up their game to stay relevant. Luckily, this fall it seems like they have risen to the challenge.
10. Black-ish (ABC, Wednesdays 9:30/8:30c)
Black-ish continues on in the grand tradition of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and, to a lesser extent, The Cosby Show and Family Matters. It's a comedy on the surface, but it's also an examination of the complexities of racial identity in the modern world, the difficulties in navigating through a culture than is fraught with tension surrounding the problematic issue of "blackness". There is a deep desire to stay true to one's perceived roots, and there's an inevitable conflict that comes when one engages in behavior that doesn't conform to racial stereotypes. In Black-ish, Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross struggle to raise their children with an awareness of their cultural heritage, while living in an upper middle class environment that distances them from the elusive ideal of "remembering where they come from". It's smarter than most other comedies on television, and hits on a lot of issues that many audiences, African-American or otherwise, can easily relate to.
Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.