Several New Shows Reflect Diversity Issues

at . Comments

Race relations are taking a starring role in several new TV series this fall. Fox's "K-Ville," ABC's "Cavemen," CBS' "Cane," and the CW's "Aliens in America" and "Life Is Wild" couldn't be more different in incorporating cultural flavor.

"Cane" examines the criminal dealings of a loving Cuban family, whereas "Aliens in America" is a satirical look at the prejudice met by a Pakistani student in a small town. "Life Is Wild" follows a white family that moves to Africa.

Even "Cavemen," which premieres this week, has been labeled by ABC President Steve McPherson and that network's marketing department as a funny commentary about race relations with a "new minority group."

Marital Bliss

In one respect, the new shows are different from series already on the air, such as the acclaimed "Grey's Anatomy," that take place in a "colorblind" world, in that they will confront race, cultural pride and conflict directly.

Grey's Anatomy has won rave reviews for featuring, as crucial parts of its amazing cast, Asian, African-American, Hispanic and homosexual cast members.

But despite its multicultural cast, Grey's Anatomy does not - and according to its producers, will never - take on racial or ethnic issues overtly.

Interestingly, with all five new shows named above, it's not a person of color who will be steering that vision - the series have white, male show runners.

The lack of minority prominence in the creative process of these shows illustrates prime-time network TV's continuing uneasiness with embracing diversity, even as some of the most popular series (Lost, Heroes) feature diverse ensemble casts and two of TV's top series are run by people of color (Shonda Rhimes of Grey's Anatomy and Silvio Horta of Ugly Betty).

Whether it signals just a coincidence, or a setback in TV's avowed commitment to reflecting multiculturalism in front of and behind the camera, is uncertain.

The forces behind all of the shows other than Fox's "K-Ville," particularly ABC, CBS and their affiliated studios, declined to address race in the new shows and forbade producers from answering questions.

"There's just no upside for us to participate in that kind of discussion," said one executive. Another suggested that the issues of creative control, ego and racial sensitivities made the topic more delicate.

Continue reading this article in the Los Angeles Times ...

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Amelia: I think I'm falling in love with Owen Hunt, and I'm really afraid that it's gonna destroy me.
Derek: It wouldn't be love if it didn't.

When we say things like "people don't change" it drives scientist crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy. Matter. It's always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It's the way people try not to change that's unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that's up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.