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Keep Watching: Catching Up with New and Old Favorites

It’s fall and usually that means it’s time to chat about returning or new TV shows, but this fall you’re more likely to see your favorite writers, actresses, and actors on social media posting that they stand with Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).


Since May 2 and July 14, WGA and SAG-AFTRA , respectfully, have been in ongoing labor disputes with Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPT). As of September, the company still needs to negotiate with both unions. I am a person who enjoys good movies, television shows, drama, etc. but I refuse to watch any Nollywood-produced films at this time—if it gets to that point, so be it. Until then, I’ll be catching up on shows and series' that we’ve watched, we've missed because life be lifeing, we're running back to because we can’t get enough of, and we can't forget because they still tug on our heart strings.


This month let's get into the shows that were canceled, those that were affected by the last writer’s strike in 2007, and those that have already been affected by the current strike.

Girlfriends

This is a comedy I can rewatch anytime. A true show for the new millennium. It ran from 2000-2008 and established characters Joan, Maya, Lynn, and Toni—and William, who was a part of this girl group.


The first seven seasons of “Girlfriends” were enjoyable, but the final season left me with many unanswered questions. Did Joan get married? Did Aaron make it back from Iraq? What was William like as a father? Did Jabari ever receive his driver's license? Unfortunately, none of these questions were answered because of the writer’s strike in 2007/2008. During an interview that Tracee Ellis Ross had with Essence 15 years after “Girlfriends,” she said, "Our last episode that we shot was during the writers' strike, and I directed it."


The abrupt series finale left us without a sentimental farewell episode, but it’s still a great one to revisit.

Abbott Elementary

This is the only workplace comedy I enjoy, and that is because of the cast. The actors are excellent, the humor is amazing, and the honesty about the public school system is spot on. “Abbott Elementary” received 15 Emmy nominations. They wrapped up season two, and the show was renewed for a season three, but due to the current strike, production has been put on pause. There’s nothing wrong about running this one back.


P-Valley

This drama series does so much to unpack the lives of Black people working in The Pynk and does a great job showing Black culture in rural areas; it’s ratchet, dramatic, and funny, which makes it a great STARZ show. If you are looking for a drama-filled show and do not mind some nudity, give it a watch. “P-Valley” was renewed for a third season.

The Wonder Years

This show centers a middle-class Black family in Montgomery during the 1960s. It follows a 12-year-old, Dean, as he navigates childhood and learns life lessons. I watched a couple episodes of this show and they did a great job with the characters. Even as a reboot to an all-white cast, it was nice to see a Black family on the screen. With their style, personality, and family connection, this show is full of comedy. It is a show that addresses and acknowledges the struggles of Black America, but that is not the main concept of this series. It shows Black love, healthy parental and sibling relationships, and Dean’s experience of his Black childhood. Unfortunately, this show was recently canceled. I think this show should have received its own title, instead of it being a reboot. The original fans were looking for those same characters, or a touch of nostalgia from their childhood but this show was introduced to a whole new audience.


The current strike has given me more appreciation of writers and actors when it comes to curation of television series' that we all love, hate, and tolerate. There are so many compelling Black shows that go from the ‘90s and beyond, and I’m here to share and revisit my favorite humorous, quirky sitcoms, no matter how predictable it will be, (It will probably not be a Tyler Perry show. We can remove that from all present and future show lists.) and discovering new shows for the remainder of 2023.


This piece was written before the WGA was able to successfully reach a deal with major Hollywood studios Tuesday, September 26, 2023. However, this writer will continue to enjoy the aforementioned tv gems.

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