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Spring/Summer 2017–TV’s Season of Substance

The Kind of Smart Sattire We’ve Been Waiting For

I don’t get to watch much television, but once I find a good show, I’m all in.

This year, I’m just in awe of how bold and beautiful independent shows are getting. Cheap tropes be gone. Strong dialogue from real characters are here and they’re not going anywhere. Outlets like Netflix are allowing producers, writers and actors alike to level the playing field and they’ve wasted no time.

I just finished the first two seasons of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and we’re barely into Season 3 and they’re going full-on “Lemonade”. Tina Fey has done it once again with a series about women rescued from a doomsday cult. “Kimmy Schmidt” is heavy-handed satire delivered with outrageous and brilliant hilarity. Jane Krakowski’s character is the quintessential classist/racist (I just came from Spirit-Cycle-Class) boss of Kimmy Schmidt (played by Ellie Kemper) one of the rescued cult-women. Schmidt’s super-gay roommate Titus (Titus Burgess) alongside Lilian (Carol Kane) hits hard with commentary about racism, sexism, homophobia, gentrification (and now sexual assault) with comedic spurn that only Fey can dish out.

Next up on the queue is ‘Atlanta’, already renewed for a second season, (sometime in 2018) Donald Glover, who incidentally wrote for Tina Fey, is packing a half-hour punch of complex and irreverent social commentary coupled with real-life situational irony that no doubt speaks to African-American life and culture in the U.S.

AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D is also brought it this season with a finale that left us spinning. Who’s in the dark hold-us or them? What a sci-fi existential trip! Two episodes in and the team reunited, ghosts showed up, Fitz built a robot, fell in love with her–she made herself human, Fitz dumped her and she tried to destroy the world. Hell hath no fury. Marvel is alive and well and like all things S.H.I.E.L.D, the story will unfold soon enough.

Rachel Bloom’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” is also coming back (I think). The endearing series profiles Bloom’s character, “Rachel Bunch” as she blunders her way through codependency and fantasy addiction on a whole new level. It’s honest and enduring with Broadway, musical interlude. It got a little campy for me towards the end of last season, but I’m ready for the new season. Wait. Is there a new season? If so, bring it, sister.

I haven’t even touched on “Better Things” or OWN’s “Queen Sugar”-also back this summer. There’s an entire array of beautifully human art unfolding on internet television right now. It is called “Internet Television”, right? Whatever it is, praise be. Courtney Kemper is also delivering another Season of “Power”. It was my guilty-pleasure Sunday go-to, but it just kept getting better and better. The season finale was very good cop/bad cop noir. I dug it profusely.

It’s nice to see so much independent art coming out this year–Frank Ocean’s “Endless” and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” have energized the internet musically, as well. Even Drake has taken heed and gone rogue.

Go rogue, everyone. Seriously. But not too much, or I’ll become a cat-loving-hermit-woman living in a cave, subsisting on tuna fish.

About Kristen Damasida

Writer and Photographer for Virago Magazine, Kristen grew up listening to vinyl and highlighting the dictionary. Her work has appeared in IrockJazz.com, The East Harlem Journal, Boston's Culturehive, the Ithacan and other publications. Her love of music cannot be eclipsed by her love of words. She's been coined the "Akira Kurosawa of Blogs" by such people as herself. An aspiring musician, she has a serious penchant for peach-flavored anything, multi-tasking, slow-paced thrillers and dreams of going back to South America, laying on the beach, and drinking from a coconut.

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