November 28, 2015 at 5:31 pm #365877
I finally finished watching the first season of “Sense8,” and I think it’s the best use of diversity currently on TV.
The word “diversity” often gets thrown around, and it can be an empty gesture of obligation (tokenism to feature a smattering of ethnic and sexual minorities around the usual core group of straight white folks), or what you call it when black people get to lead a TV show (though much love to Cookie and Annalise Keating).
But with “Sense8,” diversity isn’t just something the show does in the casting. It’s the entire fabric of the show. The sexual, emotional, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity of the characters drives the story. Their unique desires, abilities, and needs enhance each other’s, and not just when you need martial arts lady to kick some ass in a pinch. The intimate emotional moments between the characters, when their emotions and experiences intermingle, are I think the best part of the show, and you couldn’t do that without such a broad spectrum of characters. Diversity is good for its own sake, but it can also just flat-out make stories better by opening them up to different conflicts and points of view.
Anyway, what shows do other people think are doing diversity well?
For me, another is “The Walking Dead.” It matter-of-factly assembles a group of diverse characters where that diversity never feels like tokenism. The ostenisble lead is a straight, white guy, but there have been lots of older and younger characters; black, Hispanic, and Asian characters; gay and lesbian characters; and a more-or-less even number of men and women.November 28, 2015 at 5:48 pm #365879
Sense8, without any doubts.November 28, 2015 at 7:56 pm #365880
Orange is the new black and obviously TransparentNovember 28, 2015 at 8:44 pm #365881
Orange Is The New Black for sure, How To Get Away With Murder. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal. In the recent recent past I’d say Glee would be a contender for this title, it was incredibly diverse in terms of the characters they had and was fairly inclusive of different races, sexual orientation/gender identity and religions. They also featured people with various disabilities, a rarity on TV.November 28, 2015 at 9:38 pm #365882
Sense8 obviously! You hit the nail on the head with that one. I’d say Empire is trying to be known for it’s diversity, but the execution of its character development is, unfortunately, being poorly handled.November 29, 2015 at 12:04 am #365883
Survivor: Cook Islands.November 29, 2015 at 2:56 am #365884
“Grey’s Anatomy” was groundbreaking in that aspect, I believe.November 29, 2015 at 6:28 am #365885
Brooklyn Nine-Nine. While it does have the typical straight white guy as the lead, there are two Latinas and two black males — one of which is gay. And the diversity of the main characters is barely even acknowledged, they’re all just people.November 29, 2015 at 8:47 am #365886
Orange is the New Black is sort of responsible for a lot of the revolutionized casting that other shows, particularly on Netflix, have been able to use in the years since. Minority, old, and not-conventionally-attractive women have never been taken seriously as leads in their own episodes to that extent. It’s #1.
Sense8 is obviously pivotal to the conversation just in terms of options opening up. I do feel like some people play into some stereotypes, but they’re all permitted to feel real and taken seriously as leads, and the best of them are completely fresh characters.
Jessica Jones has been interesting in its fresh decisions. Female boss cheating on her wife with her secretary? No idealized white male in the pilot, or most of the show? The two decent males are minorities? Most of the core relationships are between women? A lot of it is kind of unprecedented.
The Luke Cage cast sounds pretty groundbreakingly diverse for a show that won’t really be marketed to any racial group and is bound to get a lot of viewers. 1 out of 9 announced names is white so far.
I’m still impressed that the friend group in Master of None is all minorities but it doesn’t feel forced and I only really observed it in retrospect. Same with the fact that sometimes he’d be hanging out with any number of those friends or others in real life, like in life.
I can’t in good faith include The Walking Dead. Their obliviousness to killing off black characters in sequence is still a pretty fresh wound that kicks their somewhat progressive elements’ traction into reverse.November 29, 2015 at 9:04 am #365887
Although it treated having a gay character as a checkbox and had more men than women, let me mention Lost for paving the way for something like Sense8 in terms of having an international cast. 2004 must have been the first time that the majority of an episode of an American primetime drama was subtitled. They even had an Iraqi protagonist. Even a minor episode like “Some Like It Hoth” probably provided one of the all-time great acting showcases for a Chinese actor in American television.November 29, 2015 at 9:15 am #365888
Orange Is The New Black
How To Get Away With Murder
November 29, 2015 at 11:07 am #365889
First and foremost, thank you for creating this thread as diversity is important. ABC should be noted for having a lot of diversity out of the major broadcasting networks and I agree with previous posters
Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder have black female leads and has a night dedicated to Shonda Rhimes, a black woman ruling Thursday nights. Grey’s Anatomy is a great example of diversity, they have had everyone on their from White people to Black people, Latino people, Asian people, gay characters, etc.
Modern Family with a gay family and an adopted daughter who is Asian, in addition to the older man married to a younger Latina woman.
Quantico has an Indian actress as a lead, in addition to the surprise hit of the fall, Dr. Ken with a Korean leading actor
Fresh Off the Boat created by an Asian woman with an all Asian cast and going back further with ABC airing Ugly Betty with a primarily Latino cast which also featured a Black character and a gay character
Blackish with an all Black cast
Empire on Fox with two black leads, a primarily black cast, in addition to Rosewood with a Black lead and Latina lead and also a primarily black cast.
Orange is the New Black is a great example of diversity featuring a primarly female cast and representing White, Black, Latina and Asian women and representing of the LGBT community
Masters of None, the new show on Netfilx with and Indian lead.
Jane the Virgin on The CW has a primarily Latino cast, in addition to a few years ago, the network also had Nikita with an Asian woman as a lead.
Going back further, Lost and Heroes (the original) had diverse casts as well
I know that I wrote alot to write, I think it’s great that a lot of the shows with diverse casts and featuring people of color in leading roles (Black, Latino, Asian, etc) are successfully in the ratings and have critical acclaimNovember 29, 2015 at 12:27 pm #365890
Netflix and ABC are the best at this. House of Cards does pretty well with diversity as well.November 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm #365891
Duhhh. OITNB. The only lack of diversity they have are more male characters.
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