Good TV: ‘Greenleaf’

This show called Greenleaf; Wow!!

If you have ever regularly attended or are long-time members of a predominately Black/African-American church or, if you’re like me – a person who grew up in a family of relatives who are ministers and/or who hold positions of power, importance and influence in the Black church, then you might be able to relate to many of the negative – yet often true – aspects of this television show about a powerful and wealthy family who run a huge predominately Black/African-American church.

Greenleaf (OWN network series)

I got drawn to this show shortly after it premiered this past June (2016) from reading some of the Facebook postings of excitement made over it by my friend Christian Mosby; posts which piqued my curiosity about the show. (Thanks Chris. Now I’m hooked!) Some of the scenes and “mini-plots” in Greenleaf remind me of the realities I’ve witnessed firsthand and/or knew about which occurred in a few of the well-known Black churches in Philadelphia that I either attended or had held membership back in my pre-atheist days.

SERIES PLOT: (from  the websiteGreenleaf follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies and their sprawling Memphis megachurch called Greenleaf World Ministries which has predominantly Black/African-American members. Cast members of this well-written show include (click the names to see photo and bio):

  • Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf, charismatic and manipulative leader of Greenleaf World Ministries. (Keith David has always been one of my favorite actors. In fact, he’s one of the main reasons I’m watching this series.)
  • Lynn Whitfield as Lady Mae Greenleaf, who is Bishop Greenleaf’s wife and the family matriarch;
  • Merle Dandridge as Grace ‘Gigi’ Greenleaf. She is Mae and Bishop’s middle daughter who returns to home twenty years after escaping from the family;
  • Lamman Rucker as Jacob Greenleaf, the eldest, ne’er-do-well son of the Bishop. (Lamman is another favorite actor of mine.)
  • Kim Hawthorne as Kerissa Greenleaf, Jacob’s ambitious and controlling wife.
  • Deborah Joy Winans as Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee, the youngest daughter of the Bishop and Minister of Music. (Yes, Deborah is a member of that famous gospel music family!)
  • Tye White as Kevin Satterlee, Charity’s husband;
  • GregAlan Williams as Robert “Mac” McCready, as Lady Mae’s brother;
    and
  • Benjamin Patterson as Noah Kendall, the Greenleaf Estate manager and Gigi’s ex. (I have long had a man-crush on this fyne brotha (who is also a model), since I first saw him in the recurring character role of Guy, in the now-defunct Noah’s Arc television series years ago.)

Former daytime TV talk show queen Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer and has a recurring role in the series.

Greenleaf premiered on June 21, 2016. You can catch the series Wednesday nights on the OWN [Oprah Winfrey Network] network. Check your TV local listings for broadcast time. Previously aired episodes are on your cable channel’s On-Demand feature and found online at the Greenleaf website or click here. As of this writing, the Greenleaf series is still in its first season. Enjoy!

– RobFather X

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© RobFather X! Productions

The “Power” and “Empire” TV Series: Excellent Writing, feat. Serious, Realistic Drama!

Power (Starz series), Empire (Fox series) (re)In the summer of 2014 I watched, was impressed and very pleased with the Starz network TV series Power, which is executive produced by rapper and actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The series follows character James St. Patrick, nicknamed “Ghost”, owner of a popular New York City nightclub. St. Patrick/Ghost is also a major player in one of the city’s biggest illegal drug networks. Last season unveiled his struggle to balance his two lives – perhaps three lives, since he is married but has a mistress. The balance begins to collapse when St. Patrick/Ghost realizes he wants to leave the drug ring in order to support his legitimate business and commit to his mistress, an Assistant District Attorney. Each episode of the new Power series was simply awesome. I wait anxiously for Season 2 to premiere this summer!
Here’s an intro-episode clip of Power:

Last Wednesday evening (January 7, 2015) the Fox TV network premiered the new series Empire, created, written and produced by actor/film director/producer, Lee Daniels and actor/screenwriter, Danny Strong. The show centers around a hip hop music and entertainment company called Empire Enterprises, and the drama between the members of the founder’s family as they fight for control of the company. Expect to hear some damn good music on Empire which can be downloaded on iTunes.
Here’s an intro-trailer clip of Empire:

Having watched the first episode of this show I must admit to being impressed and pleased with that show, too. Both Power and Empire feature Black actors in lead and major roles. Each series has a different plot and obviously different characters. I have yet to see more episodes of Empire to ascertain whether I will fully like the show. Considering that I’ve seen the collaborative work of Daniels and Strong before, it’s a safe bet that I’ll be giving high praises to this new series too!

Speaking of giving, I give extra points to Empire for immediately featuring in its first episode, one major character as a masculine Black gay man who is in an interracial homosexual relationship with another masculine man. Sweet! I make special mention of that point because on basic (not cable) television it is rare to see masculine Black gay male character roles, let alone on a show series where a male, same-gender-loving character of color is in an interracial relationship.

In both Power and Empire, I’m pleased to finally see realistic drama television programs featuring a predominately Black cast – with each role specifically written for and fitting the actor or actress portraying their assigned character of the story. It’s especially refreshing to see a cast of Black men and women featured in good quality and serious drama roles instead of always in a terribly written situation comedy or in one of those shitty “reality TV” series shows (click here to see a list of them) that I’ve always loathed. I think those particular television shows are ethnically embarrassing to me as a Black man and wish that every last one of them were yanked off television.

Simply put, I think Power and Empire are (so far) examples of exceptional television writing; something which – as far as television shows featuring people of color are concerned, has long been missing from television. As long as the writers and producers continue the excellent writing of these two television series and keep them realistically entertaining, I’ll keep watching. For another review on Empire, I invite you to click here to read my friend Kris Avalon’s excellent blog article!

Check local television and cable listings or the embedded links in this article to learn more about Power and Empire.

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Season 1 of HBO’s “Looking” ends

It’s 2:30 AM on Monday, March 10, 2014.
…..and now, it is with great regret that I watch the repeated version of the season-ender of the HBO series, Looking.

I’ve come to love this weekly half-hour series that features masculine gay men who are friends living in San Francisco. The show greatly reminds me of Armistead Maupin’s novels (and early 1990’s TV mini-series) Tales of the City and Showtime’s [U.S. version] of Queer as Folk. Actually, Looking – in my opinion, is more like the former than the latter. And before you ask readers; yes… I do have my favorite characters in the show but I’d rather not mention them.

Oh, ok, ok. Fuck it; I’ll tell!
I’m feeling the vibe of Richie (yes!); I like Dom (who is very handsome for that character’s age of 40); and definitely feeling Kevin (who gets a double yes from me). I think Lynn and I are in the same age group so I can certainly relate to that character’s kool, laid-back demeanor a great deal.
Looking-1I don’t know when – or if the series Looking will be back so for now I’ll simply say,
See you guys later…to the show’s characters:
Patrick (Jonathan Groff)
Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez)
Dom (Murray Bartlett)
Richie (Raúl Castillo)
Kevin (Russell Tovey)
Lynn (Scott Bakula)
Frank (O.T. Fagbenle)
I must note that I think Scott Bakula was/is a great add to the show; but then I’m bias since I’ve always been a long-time fan of his work.

I sure hope to see each of these guys next season – which I hope will come soon!

And now this memorable scene between Looking’s Patrick and Richie:

Keepin’ It…REAL!