Socially Conscious Streaming
By Ciana Alessi
Hey there TV-loving pals. Lately I’ve been feeling particularly weary about some of my usual streaming choices, like the far-too-frequently sexist That 70’s Show that I used to hold so dear to my heart, so I’m trying to right the wrongs of myriad past audiences and actively making my Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime queue free of sexism, racism, and excessive female objectivity. This unfortunately includes cutting down on many beloved sitcoms which have moments that are generally distasteful,problematic, or otherwise, especially now (for me, one that hits home is 30 Rock; at some moments I now physically cringe during certain episodes). This is not to say that we need to boycott all past visual media that’s not perfectly politically correct and as aware as many of us are these days, but it does mean we need to thoroughly appreciate the shows that are producing more responsible, well-crafted (and accurate) content. Moreover, we need to reconsider our roles as consumers in the larger marketplace that is Hollywood. But since it’s 2019, it might be more accurate to say Hollywood as in Netflix and surrounding streaming sites. I have, therefore, taken the liberty of compiling a short list of socially-conscious, dare I say binge-worthy TV shows available on either Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, with a personal summary.
Dear White People
(2 Seasons, Available on Netflix)
Ooooo child, do not get me started. I love this show with every fiber in my being and I cannot wait for the next season (which should be released by the end of this year). Netflix’s original series is one of many that is sincere, serious, and creates an open dialogue about larger issues without compromising entertainment value and humor. Get to know each of the characters, with their unique sets of personal problems, over the past two seasons now posted.
(2-ish Seasons, Available on Hulu)
The spinoff of ABC’s Black-ish, Grown-ish has a weirdly attractive yet surprisingly relatable, diverse cast of Gen Z-ers who, headed by the eloquent and ever-stylish Yara Shahidi as Zoey, navigate together through their first two years of college. Even having just graduated, many of the issues Zoey and friends handle still resonate. Grown-ish is extremely well written and casted, and continues to be topical without being cheesy or moderate.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
No 90s TV show ever did ridiculous drama as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer did. Although many of the episodes premises would sound supremely ridiculous to some, there’s something about Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, and even Cordelia, that keeps you hooked on the antics of the group and the Hellmouth. Plus, Buffy’s consistent ass-kicking gives off nothing but girl power vibes. If you’re serious about binge-watching, and love a show that doesn’t succumb to the male gaze, get your chokers and long floral skirts ready for Sunnydale.
(2 Seasons, Available on Hulu)
Donald Glover’s magnificent series is nothing but consistently praised. But here I am, praising it some more. What Glover and team have done phenomenally is craft individual snapshots of everyday life, slowing piecing them together like a finely crafted quilt, by the end of the respective seasons. Although on an episode-by-episode basis, Atlanta may seem confusing or Seinfeldian, its constant commentary about the black experience is masterfully crafted and well worth anyone’s consideration.
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
(6 Seasons, Available on Hulu)
I honestly believe no one in the world could hate Andy Samberg. Seriously. He can do no wrong. The same goes for, quite literally, every character in the now-NBC show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Since it’s been on for awhile, I can imagine most people are familiar with the show but if anyone hasn’t given it a shot, for the love of TV, please watch this show. They actually explain police brutality to children in an episode during Season 5. Seriously. Watch. It.