I’ve been meaning to do this list for a while. These are shows in which a black actress gets to say more than two or three words a scene. Oh, and yes, some are mixed, a few are foreign born, etc. etc.
The TV programs aren’t listed in any particular order.
A town full of geniuses, where weird things happen. I started watching it two seasons ago, I stopped because the character Fargo got on my nerves. It got really interesting this past season, as it finally developed beyond near-miss awkward on the relationship between Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield).
She plays a nice, smart, easy going woman. Not only that, her character is central to the show. If I’d known about this program I would have watched it from day one. I always thought she’d be hidden away. Nope. They put her front and center. Props to the creators of Eureka.
About two vampires in love with the same woman who looks exactly like her vampire ancestor. That’s all. Nothing more. Although there’s a smoking hot guy on the show who plays a werewolf, Mason Lockwood (Taylor Kinney). Pant. Drool. (Damn, they just recently killed him off.)
The tiniest black woman on television is on this show. Her name is Katerina Graham. She plays a “witch” (insert eyeroll here) on the show. She’s so petite, the other little girls look like Amazons next to her. She sorta reminds me of Stacy Dash.
This is a new program. It has a very strong Homicide, Hill Street Blues and other cop dramas, aura to it. Does it really take place in Detroit? Dunno. But wherever they’re filming, everything looks authentic. I’ve never watched the Sopranos, but the lead actor is Michael Imperioli, who I saw in a guest role as a Detective on Law & Order.
I like this show. The boss of the detectives is Lieutenant Maureen Mason, played by Aisha Hinds, who I last saw on the dreadful, waste of brain cells show Dollhouse (yes, I watched every episode to the bitter end). She didn’t have much to say on that show, but I admire her “look.” She does the baldie quite well.
Law & Order: Los Angeles
I am a Law & Order fan girl. I am someone who can watch the first few minutes and know whether I’ve seen the show before or not. I’ve watched every single L&O and L&O: SVU episode. The only shows I’ve missed are the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes without crazy Vincent D’Onofrio as Det. Goren. He was as fun to watch as the psychos he badgered.
I was pleased to see Regina Hall as a District Attorney Assistant. They’ve already moved one actress off the show, and the DAAs don’t hang around for long. But it’s still nice to see her play a straight role. In case you don’t know her, if you’ve ever watched the Scary Movie parodies – that was her with the ditzy blonde (Anna Faris). They had nice synergy on screen. 😀
I remember Tamara Taylor as the woman from Party of Five (never watched the show, but the ads for it were memorable). The main characters are a woman with a goofy voice Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) who’s supposed to be a “genius” and Angel (David Boreanaz) as Special Agent Seeley Booth. I enjoy the program for its humor and I like mysteries.
Tamara Taylor plays Dr. Camille Saroyan, who is the boss of the scientific investigative group (sorta like a CSI / CSU). She also plays a nice, smart, well dressed, professional woman at work. I like her character a great deal, and during the first year she and Angel used to knock boots. Alas, that didn’t last long. She’s been man-starved ever since. I get irked when a show lets all the unattractive women have a man, and the beautiful black woman has nobody. Spare me.
This is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, so every week expect something to blow up and many people to die a gruesome death. The lead woman is a Becky The Vampire Slayer type. What do I mean by that? Ever since that show, nearly every tiny, little, rail thin blond / brunette / Asian (see new Nikita)/ Latina can fight a muscular guy nearly twice her size and beat him. She can ever buck him off her of her, when he’s sitting on her and she’s flat on her back. It’s funny, because male characters will be beat using the same method of fighting, and their combatant is an even match in size.
My Dad says I have to remember to suspend disbelief when I watch these shows: I think I also need to be drunk or high.
Anyways, it’s a new show, and the cast includes Rose Rollins. The men are easy on the eyes, especially big blond buff Cole Hauser.
This show has been on for a while, third season already. It has the Captain from Firefly. The “Brown Coats” know who I’m talking about. He’s gained a lot of weight on this show. Dude is getting wide. The girl who plays his daughter is so pretty. I love red heads.
I like Castle. Nice cast. Very amusing. Tamala Jones plays the medical examiner. Nice to see her in a steady role.
This show features the venerable C.C.H. Pounder as Mrs. Irene Frederic. She’s not there every week, but I believe her character is integral. She has a special link to Warehouse 13. One of the main characters of the show is the mysterious Leena, played by Genelle Williams.
I like the show. It’s sci-fi.
I’ll admit, she wasn’t given much to say, or do, in the first season. Yet, Astrid (played by Jasika Nicole) has been in every episode since the first. Love her hair. I think I love the Alter-Astrid more. Having her do those probability calculations is rather awesome. Nice to see a woman doing mathematics so quickly.
Apparently, this show is still on. I stopped watching it around season 2 or season 3. Mindless gore gets boring after a while. I’ll probably catch up via DVD later on. The boss of the police squad is the very very ambitious Lt. Maria Laguerta, played by Lauren Vélez. I will say I missed the angry black guy who was her best buddy. There’s one season where she gets rid of a competitor in the most devious way…. Unbelievably good.
Outside of a few YouTube clips, I haven’t seen the entire show yet. I will. I love to catch up to cable shows on DVD. This show, as nearly everyone knows is produced by and stars Mrs. Jada Pinkett Smith. You go on with your bad self, Mrs. Smith.
Why do some shows start off boring, and then dive right into overwrought? I’ve missed a few seasons. This show is … I keep looking for someone to like. For some reason, the pilot aired with Merrin Dungey as Dr. Naomi Bennett. I think I know who should play Mrs. Obama in any future film. Actually, she should be the wife of Blair Underwood on The Event, but don’t get me started.
Audra McDonald takes over, managing to look like the most miserable black woman in America, episode after episode. You try to like her, but one has to give into the dislike for her character. After all, that’s what the Shonda Rhimes wants. And dutifully, we shall obey.
Law & Order: SVU
Sometimes they even give her a story line: Tamara Tunie. She’s the medical examiner. I’ve noticed that for many years she wore her hair dead straight, then one day BANG! There were the curls. Lovely.
I hate this show, and all the characters on it. It’s been crap since they got rid of Isaiah Washington. Why are there ninetyelevenhundredthousand unattractive white women (I’ll make a half exception for two) on the show, and one barking hyena (you know, the one they used to call “The Nazi”) that’s supposed to be the only woman who can’t get or keep a man?
Buncha idiots. They should kill fire everyone and start fresh. I meant the writers, not the cast. Nevermind.
Feel free to add any I may have missed from BBC, BBC America, and all the rest are welcome inclusions. I don’t watch cable shows until I get the DVDs or start with Netflix again.
** Updates **
Thanks for the feedback, ladies! I have a few more shows to add.
It is new this season on CBS, and it might not last long. It has the bubbly, smart and lively Jurnee Smollet as new associate Lisa Tyler. The show has Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell. I like this program. They give a good amount of time to Ms. Smollet, and her character is shown a healthy amount of respect. Nice.
I don’t know if I can fairly say that the black woman, Gina Ravera (as Detective Irene Daniels) on this show ever got to say more than two or three words. From what I’ve researched, she’s no longer on the show. She was characterized as “difficult” and was dating the only black male officer on the show. ¿Por qué? Why?!
I thought she made a better couple with the latino officer, Detective Julio Sanchez played by Raymond Cruz. The romance with the black officer created lots of drama, interfering with their work. She became the black drama queen. Everyone else could have drama, but hers was unforgivable.
Anyways, I’m giving her a head nod.
Haven’t seen it yet. This show is on its 2nd season already! Wow. Out of the massive white cast there is: Joy Bryant as Jasmine Trussell, and Tina Lifford as her Mother, Renee Trussell.
According to Truth P.: “She plays Jasmine. A single mother who is co parenting and I believe is rekindling a romance with the white father of her child. (rolls eyes at the fact the couple isn’t married and at the fact the son is 5 and has just met his father.)”
Tina Lifford and Alfre Woodard could play sisters.
I searched to see if it’s returning. We’ll see if it happens. Jazine reminded me of this program: “…for a hot sizzling minute there were sparks between Timothy Olyphant and Erica Tazel in the F/X series Justified. They never got together romantically, but the sexual tension and chemistry between them was palatable in one particular episode.” Yes, girl. Lots and lots of undercurrents in that scene. Whoo.
And we can see why, she’s pretty and cute.
Now, I’m someone who likes cop dramas. I didn’t check this out, because I thought it was going be a version of Becky The Vampire Slayer in Blue, a variation on a theme of which I find highly annoying. Another heads-up by Truth P.: “Euneka Okuma of the show “Rookie Blue”. She is a main character on the show AND there is also another black woman on the show named Melanie Nicholls King.”
Still waiting to catch up by DVD. And thanks to Truth P. for reminding me of this program: “…Can’t forget about Rutina Wesley. She stars on the hit show True Blood.”
Gotta give a special shout-out to the producers of this show. I’ve read the books. There is not one black woman in any of the books who is a central character. So thank you very, very much for that addition. As we all know, when a black actress gets work, she puts her heart and soul into the role, ’cause she knows it may be a couple of years, before (and if) she gets work again.
My bad for not even mentioning this one the first time. Special shout-out to Boris Kodjoe, J.J. Abrams, and Josh Reims for even entertaining this concept.
I mean, let’s get real here. His character has a black wife. Y’all know for yourselves, if this show starred some of the other negroes out there, he wouldn’t push for a black actress. He’d get to play, I dunno, a Cuban or something, even if he’s the darkest negro on television, and would be truly eager to have a white actress as his wife. He’d pretend he has no power to push for a black actress to get a few guest starring roles, ’cause he doesn’t have that kind of power.
Or he’d be happy to be a star in a program, in which show after show includes other black male actors guest starring, his co-stars having past loves / entanglements / romances, but he’ll be satisfied as the only character without any relationships. At all.
Law and Order: UK
As mentioned by Tyco: “Law and Order UK is now airing on BBC America. It stars Freema Agyeman.”
Thanks to everyone for mentioning these programs!
And a special, special thanks to the producers, creators, and writers of these programs for giving us such wonderful, professional, smart, hardworking, attractive, and interesting character roles for black actresses.