Where Are the Realistic Black Characters on TV

November 12, 2010  |  

(Newsweek) — When a new J. J. Abrams show featuring two African-American leads was announced earlier this year, I was gleefully overtaken by the implications it could have. Honestly, when’s the last time you’ve seen a prime-time network drama with two black people not only happily in love, but equipped with bilingual skills and a passport? Try never. Throw in the fact that Abrams was also the mastermind behind the megahit Lost, and you have the makings of a bona fide hit. Magazine ads and television commercials leading up to the show’s premiere in October promised fast car chases, exotic international locales, and steamy love scenes. I had my PJs, comfy seat, and bowl of popcorn all ready for a regular Wednesday night escape. Unfortunately, I was in the minority. The show premiered to lukewarm numbers—fewer than 6 million viewers—and never caught on with black or white audiences. Last week NBC canceled Undercovers after just one month on the air.

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