New Black television shows: What is the formula for making them better?

     The Game has returned to BET for season 5. Last week started a whole new season, with whole new episodes of The Game. If you have no idea what The Game is, check out the link. If you have ever been a watcher of The Game, continue to follow me. Are you watching this season of The Game? How do you like it? Does it make you want to turn off your TV and wished it had remained in the cancellation abyss when it was canned from the CW network? Yeah I thought so.

I used to be huge fan of The Game in its original seasons. I would watch it religiously, even with the many random day and time changes, I would do my best to follow the show whenever it was on. Like many other Game fans, I was sad to see it come to an end. I felt a perfectly great show was removed from television for no apparent reason. Each of the characters felt genuine, and the story line was such that it made the whole concept exciting from week to week.  Then suddenly poof! It was over.  Only for 2 years later to be brought back to life on BET. But is the Resurrection of The Game really a good thing, or should it just have stayed a distant memory of a good show that was prematurely cancelled?

The Game had a lot of fans, those fans screamed, yelled, and petitioned for a great show to be brought back to TV. BET heard the cries and  picked up the game. However, fans wanted a show that was once great to be brought back to TV. Fans did not request a show that has the same name, and most of the same actors, but its come back is as horrible as ever. The memory of a great show, has turned into watching a sad TV show, substance free, just actors and words.  The original realness is gone. The attraction of seasons 1-3 that brought the show to a dramatic climax has been lost at BET. To see The Game on BET is as if  someone said;  they want a show, give them a show, any show, it doesn’t even have to be a good show, but people will watch because this is the show they wanted.

Is that fair to the viewers who have supported The Game for so long, starting from season 1? No of course not.

Sadly that message seems to apply as the overlying theme in all shows targeted towards African-American audiences lately. The connotation of give them a show, any show, and they will watch unfortunately is not just specific to The Game. BET has another sitcom that comes on after The Game, Let’s Stay Together, yeah that show doesn’t have much appeal either. What is it with new age African-American television shows that make them appear unrealistic, over the top, and basically straight boring?

I remember when I couldn’t wait to watch The Cosby Show, A Different World, or Girlfriends. These shows had my attention from start to finish, they were shows of quality. You can tell these shows were a product of time, energy, and a well executed script.  Best of all, these shows attracted viewers of every racial group. Those shows weren’t specifically made for African-American audiences, they had the ability to cross color lines in the television world.

I recently watched an episode of Tyler’s Perry’s sitcom For Better or Worse, again I was disappointed in the portrayal of African-Americans on TV. The over the top, overly dramatic antics will never make good television. It just makes the show hard to sit through for more than five minutes. Although I had long been over Tyler Perry’s sitcoms for some time, I thought I would give his new one a chance. Without supporters shows get cancelled right? After wasting precious time of life watching, I can just say that I would be very understanding if that show did get canceled. Despite my opinion, Tyler Perry continues to attract a wide audience, and his show did do considerably well despite its poor story lines. So even if I am not watching, I know someone is watching.

Yet, there is a point where it is quite disturbing where the only representation of African-Americans on television comes in the form of poorly formulated sitcoms, or overly hostile women on Reality TV shows . Shouldn’t we be at a place where the media views us in a better light, and gives us the respect of at least  incorporating more minority characters into basic network television. It is great that BET, TV One, and TBS offer a platform to cast the talents of African-Americans on television, but if a show is created don’t we owe it to ourselves and our culture to at least demand,  and have expectations for a quality show that can work with any audience.  It may be time to abandon the I’ll take a show, any show, as long as Black people are in it mentality, and say I’ll take one great show. At least then we can watch it for the quality of the show, and not just because the entire cast happens to come from the same racial group as me.

Positive thoughts, Positive energy, Positive experiences.