Tag Archives: CBS

Recap: The 2014-2015 Network Upfronts

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by Kendra James

There was one clear winner at the network Upfronts this year: DC Comics.

Yes, DC Comics a company that hasn’t managed to do much this year except piss off their fans, came from behind, hurdled over the teen barrier that is the CW network, and dominated the fall 2014 pilot season. Thanks to pickups on NBC, FOX, and the CW, DC (in part with Marvel’s presence on ABC) has managed to leave CBS as the only network without a show centered around superheroes.

Of course, with a demographic needle pointed exclusively at the 45 and older column and two more NCIS and CSI spinoffs headed our way, it’s possible CBS just doesn’t care. Not that CBS was the only network with a line of uninspired pickups for the fall season– there’s plenty more of that (and the full details of DC’s television takeover) under the cut.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Pilot Season 2013-2014

By Kendra James

Last year, around this time, I was nursing far too high expectations for a little pilot season pickup called Deception. This year I’m just really glad it’s been cancelled so that the actors involved can escape with some dignity intact. One can’t say the same about Community.

Yeah, it’s that time again. Most networks are at least 80% set with their 2013-2014 Fall/Winter lineups. For better worse you will be sitting through another season of potentially Harmon-less Community. As Abed might say, some stations just like to watch the world burn.

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The Racialicious Links Roundup 3.7.13

I could have sought out Blackface Geordi or the Alexandra Jolson Walking Dead Trio. I could have explained to them how blackface has been used to lock black entertainers out of the entertainment business. I could have talked about how blackface has been used to dehumanize black people, which in turns makes it easier to think of them as being different and weird and so on. I could talk to them about the utter savagery that America, and the colonies before it, and Europe in general has forced upon the black race, whether African or American or some combo of the two. I could do that in my sleep at this point.

But why does it fall to me to do that? Why does the butt of the joke, the guy who looks at someone “having some innocent fun” that is explicitly something that has been used to destroy and degrade people who look like me? “Listen, maybe if you just told this guy punching you in your guts that it hurts, he’d stop? Maybe he doesn’t know?”

“Boy, if only someone told those colonists that maybe they shouldn’t slaughter native peoples…”

Nah, son. People are going to do what they want to do. Somebody should tell them what’s up. But that ain’t on me. It’s their mess, and I’m expected to clean it up? No. They’ve got parents. They’ve got teachers. They’ve got friends. They’ve got people who love them. Somebody should have told ‘em, but expecting me to do it? To always be on call? That requires a retainer, and you can’t afford me.

If you’ll recall, this new network is being billed as a 24 hour news and entertainment channel for English speaking Latinos in the United States.  En efecto it will be one more channel in the pool of hundreds of other selections already out there that will attempt to pull in US Latinos by offering more Hispanic-infused content in English rather than Spanish.  It’s the first such venture for both ABC and Univision, pero as some experts are already pointing out in order for it to be successful Fusion will need to pull in more than only a US Latino audience.

“This audience identifies as Americans first,” said Larry Lubin, co-founder and president of Lubin Lawrence Inc., a brand consultancy that advised both companies, to the New York Times.  He also stressed that the venture needed to broaden its appeal.  “The brand will be a failure if it only appeals to Latinos.”

The legions of teens swinging bats and diving for ground balls each year on Dominican fields must negotiate a system with little in the way of support or a safety net. Whereas Major League Baseball requires all 189 minor league teams in the United States to have certified athletic trainers and “all reasonable medical supplies,” no such requirement exists at the Dominican academies. Nearly two years after Guillén’s death, Mother Jones found that 21 of MLB’s 30 teams lack certified trainers in the Dominican Republic, including the Nationals.

Rafael Pérez, head of Dominican operations for Major League Baseball, said his office’s role is to provide services to the clubs, not wag a regulatory finger at them: “Sometimes people have a negative reaction when things are imposed,” he said. That’s why the Nationals faced no sanctions, even though one of their players died of an entirely treatable illness. They had followed the rules, but those rules don’t require the teams to do very much. Pérez insisted that the league has aimed to improve facilities and standards in recent years, albeit on a voluntary basis: “Some clubs are having a harder time than others. But they all have great intentions.”

The reality is that a stark double standard persists, said Arturo Marcano, a Venezuelan-born lawyer who a decade ago coauthored a book on corruption and youth exploitation in MLB’s Dominican operations. League officials recognize that the system is flawed and that it should be improved, he said. “They always say, ‘We’re working on it,’ or, ‘Things are getting better.’ But in the end, it’s the same response they’ve been giving since 2002.”

When I hit puberty, my homosexuality was something I could not let slip. I did not want to disappoint my traditional Filipino parents, and in that vein, I grew angry toward them and thought that they would never understand my feelings and what I was going through.

So I basically rejected them. I ignored anything that had to do with being Filipino. I loathed family get-togethers, Filipino events and anything that had to deal with the community, because I thought that like my parents, Filipinos — whom I constantly heard mocking gay people, calling them “bakla,” which can be interpreted as “f-ggot” — couldn’t possibly fathom what it actually means to be gay.

I spent about 10 years, from around age 13 to when I came out to my parents at 22, discovering and cultivating my gay pride. That became my priority, and my culture was put on the back burner. Although I wasn’t out and proud, I was internally out and proud, and that’s all I needed and all that mattered. I read every gay news outlet out there, which made me feel that I was not alone and that I was part of the greater LGBT community. I especially cherished all the coming-out stories that resulted in acceptance and love. I’d well up, let go and cry, and ultimately I’d ponder whether I too could have the strength to tell my parents that I’m gay. I’d fantasize that my story could one day be told.

Last month the actor Forest Whitaker was stopped in a Manhattan delicatessen by an employee. Whitaker is one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation, with a diverse and celebrated catalog ranging from “The Great Debaters” to “The Crying Game” to “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.” By now it is likely that he has adjusted to random strangers who can’t get his turn as Idi Amin out of their heads. But the man who approached the Oscar winner at the deli last month was in no mood for autographs. The employee stopped Whitaker, accused him of shoplifting and then promptly frisked him. The act of self-deputization was futile. Whitaker had stolen nothing. On the contrary, he’d been robbed.

The deli where Whitaker was harassed happens to be in my neighborhood. Columbia University is up the street. Broadway, the main drag, is dotted with nice restaurants and classy bars that cater to beautiful people. I like my neighborhood. And I’ve patronized the deli with some regularity, often several times in a single day. I’ve sent my son in my stead. My wife would often trade small talk with whoever was working checkout. Last year when my beautiful niece visited, she loved the deli so much that I felt myself a sideshow. But it’s understandable. It’s a good deli.

Since the Whitaker affair, I’ve read and listened to interviews with the owner of the establishment. He is apologetic to a fault and is sincerely mortified. He says that it was a “sincere mistake” made by a “decent man” who was “just doing his job.” I believe him. And yet for weeks now I have walked up Broadway, glancing through its windows with a mood somewhere between Marvin Gaye’s “Distant Lover” and Al Green’s “For the Good Times.”

In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist. In 1957, neighbors in Levittown, Pa., uniting under the flag of segregation, wrote: “As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community.”

One of the characters on the CBS show “Mike & Molly” joked about drunken Indians in Arizona, a state that is home to 21 federally recognized American Indian tribes. Although drinking and selling alcohol largely is banned on reservations, it can easily be found in border towns, brought in by bootleggers or sneaked past authorities.

No one disputes that public intoxication is a problem on and off the reservations, but tribal members say alcoholism often is linked to poverty, hopelessness and a history of trauma within American Indian families that is hard to overcome. American Indians and Alaska Natives die at a higher rate from alcoholism than other Americans, according to federal data, and authorities say alcohol fuels a majority of violent crimes on reservations.

“You can see somebody who is drunk and tripping over themselves and it’s easy to make fun of them,” said Erny Zah, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation, which extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. “But the disease itself isn’t funny, the coming home late at night, possibly beating on family members, the absence of family members, the fear it instills in a lot of children.”

The Native American Journalists Association called on CBS to apologize, saying it’s inexplicable for a highly entertaining show to resort to humor at the expense of Arizona tribes. The group urged screenwriters to think twice about what might offend minority groups and to work to overcome stereotypes.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman And The State Of Period Dramas

By Guest Contributor Kendra James

Principal cast of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

Late in the second season of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, there’s an episode where the Klu Klux Klan comes to Colorado Springs in the form of a bank official peddling a “social club” for men. “Like the lady’s quilting circle,” the women claim, unknowingly sewing uniforms for the men to use during their first outing.

But when they put those uniforms on and Grace, half of the show’s one Black couple, is cornered by three Klan members, the situation takes a disturbing turn. The Klansmen grab her in broad daylight and hold her down against one of her restaurant tables. At first it seems an act of rape is imminent. Yet, somehow, when they rip her hair down from the carefully constructed bun she wears and begin to slowly carve it away with a barbershop razor while she screams, it seems almost worse–more intimate–than what could have been.

Jonelle Allen as Grace on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

That episode, “The First Circle,” aired during a season where the show averaged 13.46 million viewers per episode for CBS–an incredibly strong showing for a family-oriented show that aired at 8:00 on Saturday nights. As the 49th most watched show in America, it was up against the 104th and 113th most watched shows from ABC, NBC, and FOX, and was outperformed only by another CBS Saturday-night show, Walker, Texas Ranger. Dr. Quinn, which starred British actress Jane Seymour, had a relatively family-friendly facade and–since “family-friendly” often goes hand-in-hand with a sugarcoating of American history–the topics it chose to handle are always a welcome surprise.

Episodes like “The First Circle” were an indication of not only how good Dr. Quinn could be, but how much television has changed and what our current period television dramas often fail to do and acknowledge. In its own way, the show regularly dealt with issues like racism, immigration, and gender equality, but often touched on more nuanced subjects as well. The white encroachment on Cheyenne lands, mob lynchings of African-Americans, marital rape, and domestic abuse were only a few themes explored throughout the series. Unlike many period dramas, Dr. Quinn never shied away from dealing with the difficult realities of its setting laid out.
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Four Reasons Why Lucy Liu Won’t Sink Elementary

“Elementary” stars Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller. Via TVFilmNews.com

By Guest Contributor Kendra James

Here’s the thing about Elementary: whether or not you like it isn’t going to have everything to do with Lucy Liu’s playing Dr. Watson.

It would be a disservice to Liu to rave about the show just because she’s in it. So let’s keep it real: when it comes down to it this show is nothing more than your average CBS procedural. That said, I like CBS procedurals, and I also happen to like Sherlock Holmes adaptations, so I can easily give you a few reasons why the pilot of Elementary is worth checking out on CBS.com.
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Elementary Racial Privilege, My Dear Watson

Courtesy Wikipedia

By Guest Contributor Sylvie Kim

When I first skimmed Joanna Robinson’s Pajiba post on the casting of Lucy Liu as Watson in Elementary, CBS’ upcoming remake of Sherlock Holmes, and her call to have Liu play the titular protagonist instead, I thought, “Right on.” Though mainly staffed by white writers, I’ve always considered Pajiba to have a fairly critical sense of race and gender in their film and television reviews for a site that’s … mainly staffed by white writers.

But then I really read Robinson’s piece.

Robinson’s main rationale for Liu taking the lead in the modern reboot is that she’s too sexy to play Watson. While I understand her angle that traditionally Watson is the more amiable, less aesthetically pleasing counterpart to a more fly-yet-caustic and emotionally detached Holmes, perhaps there was a cultural competency oversight or two in her analysis of Liu’s sexiness:

Hell, I’m all for Asian women getting prominent roles.  Lord knows Grace Park, Sandra Oh and that fake Hot Topic punk on “Glee” could use some company.  But this is the most ill-fitting casting news since they announced Jonny Lee Miller as their Holmes.  Listen, you TV executards, we all know sex sells, but Holmes is supposed to be the icy, removed sociopath.  Not Watson.

Liu is a sexy, charming performer, but sweet she ain’t.  Anyone who watched her try to Manic Pixie Dream grind her way through “Watching The Detectives” will understand.  You know what Liu does well?  Chilly.  She’s like sexy ice water in your veins. Seriously, cast her as Holmes, make the doughy-featured Miller your Watson and I am fully on board.

And a new thought replaced my previous endorsement: Again?
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Why I’m Team Kalinda: A New Face For Desi Women On TV

By Guest Contributor Anurag Lahiri

During my four months of funemployment after grad school I became hooked on a list of TV shows. A couple of my queer desi friends had been raving about The Chicago Code a while back and when I finally watched it I enjoyed it. So of course when the same friends started tweeting about The Good Wife, and specifically about one character, Kalinda Sharma, I decided to take the hint and marathon it.

The same things drew me to both shows: aside from the suspense and drama, they’re both set in Chicago. As a girl from the Midwest, I enjoy watching a show whose city politics I can relate to.

There is a difference between the two shows though: Chicago Code was mostly special for me because Jennifer Beals was in it and, for an L Word fan, she will always be Bette Porter. Yes, even if she is playing a superintendent of a police department. On the other hand, I will gladly embrace Archie Panjabi as Sharma, a queer, desi, private investigator on The Good Wife.

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