It’s TV cancellation season and along with that comes all the great new shows about diverse people- oh, wait, not this time.
It seems like the executives at some of the biggest networks (Notably, FOX and ABC) aren’t sure how to sustain TV shows that don’t include pasty white faces.The most recent example of this is the death– and quick resurrection– of the comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It set social media ablaze with people asking why a show with such important story lines and a diverse cast would get the ax so unfairly.
Here’s the thing about Brooklyn 99 being cancelled, I don’t want it to be. I love all of those people & they earned the right 2 have a final season victory lap where I could emotionally prepare. Don’t know them. Have nothing 2 do with the show. I’m just a fan who deserves better.
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) May 11, 2018
#Brooklyn99 has been cancelled and here's a quick reminder that this broad comedy had TWO queer characters of color on its roster and people invited them into their homes via TV every week and that's amazing.
— Mathew ✈️ TIFF (@mathewrodriguez) May 10, 2018
How often do you come across a sitcom that does not rely on offensive humor, has a diverse cast, acknowledges social issues but doesn't force it to viewers, but still gets cancelled? I feel like networks are making extra effort to be a dick. #brooklyn99
— HHFB on vacation (@HHFlashbacks) May 11, 2018
RENEW BROOKLYN NINE NINE
I ONLY WATCH LIKE 4 THINGS
THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS#RenewB99
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 10, 2018
Oh NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! 😩😭😫😢 I'm SO not ready to say #ByeBye99. Be forewarned @FOXTV-when networks dump shows I love, I'm known for holding grudges a long, L-O-N-G time. I'm still mad @CBS didn't renew #SquarePegs! 😡#EverythingILikeGetsCancelled https://t.co/NEry6Hrpng
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 10, 2018
Sadly, the buck doesn’t stop there.
ABC recently announced that the Priyanka Chopra-staring drama Quantico will not return for a fourth season. They’ve also stated that the reboot of the 80’s show Greatest American Hero won’t be going forward despite its early buzz due to Indian-American actress Hannah Simone being cast in the gender-swapped lead.
We just found out that network tv isn’t ready for the first brown female superhero on tv. The Greatest American Hero won’t be on @ABCNetwork this fall.. and our hearts are broken. This would have been history making and so empowering for young girls around the world. Get loud RT pic.twitter.com/cbGuWu24pO
— Hannah Simone (@HannahSimone) May 11, 2018
ABC may have canceled Quantico due to poor ratings but if that is indeed the case, take a step back and think about why people weren’t watching. Have you drawn a blank yet? The success of any show depends on a show’s promotion. If people don’t know about it, how do you expect them to watch it? When shows like Grey’s Anatomy continue to get top-notch promotion after being lead by a white female for so much time, how are you giving a fresh new show like this the proper exposure it needs? Oh, you aren’t? Yeah, thought so.
The diversity promotion curse doesn’t just stop with the big TV networks. The cable channel Syfy recently gave the boot to fan-favorite space opera series The Expanse, hailed for having multiple black actors in it’s cast. Sometimes the news writes itself.
All of the gloom aside, there is some cause for hope. The CW just picked up a reboot of the popular 90’s series Rosewell, this time set in Mexico. With the network’s explosive success of Black Lightning, things are looking better on that side of things. The second season of Netflix’s Dear White People also dropped to great fanfare. (Although, Netflix isn’t off the hook either)
The TV landscape really does have so much further to go in not just actively creating diverse shows, but, also deciding what gets promoted and stays on our TV screens. Maybe we can learn from this mishap because what good is a really great show with really great characters if no one’s around to watch, right?
Cover Image Courtesy of Glamour Magazine