So Hard to Say Goodbye–To Good TV: 11 Black Shows We Wish Were Never Canceled

November 16, 2012  |  
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TV is not the same. Everywhere you turn, there are a bunch senseless drama-filled shows featuring wild, loud and out-of-control characters, particularly African American women. What happened to quality television, you ask? Shows that kept our interest with more than just he-said-she-said, hair-pulling and scripted nonsense? Take a look at these 11 shows that many consider classics and most-likely wish were still alive and rolling.

The Cosby Show

Probably the most cherished African American sitcom to ever hit TV, “The Cosby Show” was the epitome of black love, family and positivity. The fashions were colorful and fresh, and the storylines never got stale. Who didn’t wish Heathcliff Huxtable and Clair were their parents (or for at least the weekend)?  Still garnering praise and reverence nearly 30 years later, it will forever be considered a classic.

A Different World

A spin-off of “The Cosby Show,” this series gave America a glimpse of what life’s like for positive black students earning their education at an HBCU. One of the most poignant shows of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, we were given lessons on love, sex, race and class, all while being entertained by colorful characters and an awesome storyline. And every new cast member they brought on only made things more interesting.


This show was the ish! With a focus on teenage issues that made us gasp, cry and kept us cracking up, it showed us that the multi-platinum selling star Brandy could not only sang, but she could act too! And can we talk about how fine her choice of boyfriends were on that show? Loved it!


From Roscoe to Sheneneh, Jerome to the funny man himself, the show’s ability to diversify characters pushed this show over-the-top and onto the list of classics. Not to mention his oh so sweet relationship with his boo boo Gina and his hysterical escapades with Tommy, Cole and Pam. Ask anybody to name their top five shows from the ‘90s and I’m sure Martin will be on the list, if not the top three.


Filled with a cast of gorgeous, ambitious women, “Girlfriends” was no doubt one of the hottest shows of the early 2000s. Who was smarter than Joan, snappier than Toni, sassier than Maya or crazier than Lynn? Let’s not forget William’s sarcasm and hilarious sense of humor. And all the women had style and were very easy to relate to, yes even Toni was. But now they’re gone away. Sigh. Guess we’ll just have to settle for re-runs.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Throw on the theme song from “The Fresh Prince” and I bet everyone in the house will sing the entire rap from start to finish. This was one of those shows you couldn’t wait to get home to catch. Man do I miss the days of watching fresh episodes of Will cracking on Carlton and Uncle Phil literally throwing Jazz out the front door. Hilarious! So many memories, so many fly fashions. Those were the days…

Sister, Sister

Probably the cutest twins in the history of television, Tia and Tamera kept us entertained with their teenage love affairs and somewhat rebellious antics. And who could forget Ray’s charm and Lisa’s va-va-voom? And don’t forget about Roger, aka, Marques Houston, playing the annoying next door neighbor with the horrible hair. The show definitely killed the allure he brought in Immature. But either way, cute show and positive show. But what else can you expect from the ’90s?

Family Matters

Arguably one of the most positive black shows we’ve ever seen, there’s no doubt that anytime you tuned into the Winslow’s world you walked away with a message. But they never failed to bring the funny, especially the unforgettable Steve Urkel, and his many side characters and family members (Myrtle May Urkel, Stefan Urquelle, etc.). Did I do that?

In Living Color

Not only one of the funniest shows of the ‘90s, but “In Living Color” served as a platform for future superstars like Jamie Foxx, Rosie Perez (who was the choreographer), Jim Carrey and Jennifer Lopez. We were entertained by hilarious characters stretching from Wanda and Ceephus & Reesie to Homey D. Clown, dazzled by The Fly Girls and captivated by performances from huge stars like Tupac, Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige. “You can doooo what you want to dooo, In Living  Co-lor!”

Living Single

The first show where Queen Latifah got to show off her acting skills, “Living Single” was one of the most popular African-American shows of the ‘90s. Not only funny, it gave us a positive representation of professional black adults living the single life with their heads held high in the most hectic yet colorful city in the world. And we loved every minute of that show.

The Soul Train

With over 35 years of production, the hippest trip in America delivered new music from some of the top artists in the industry and kept us in tune with the latest dance crazes. If it wasn’t for Don Cornelius and his brilliance, cookouts, birthday parties and weddings would be all be so mundane (what would we do without that good ol’ Soul Train Line?). Welp, at least we have the memories and a few relics. Oh yeah, and The Soul Train Awards.

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