May 13, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: ABC’s “Black-ish”



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BLACK-ISH:  Wednesday 9:30PM on ABC

THE FACTS:  Anthony Anderson plays the head of an African-American family that lives a prosperous life in a mostly white neighborhood, and he tries to hold onto some part of his culture even though his assimilated kids, wife and father mostly couldn’t care less.  The series creator is Kenya Barris from The Game, and both Anderson and Laurence Fishburne (who plays Anderson’s father) are nonwriting producers.

WHAT IT’S SAYING:  A breezy look at racial identity in the Obama era that won’t take itself too seriously, centered on Anthony Anderson’s take on the iconic goodhearted but flailing dad.

WHAT IT’S REALLY SAYING:  Modern Family may finally have found a companion sitcom.  Anderson’s comic chops were clear even in the mostly woeful Guys With Kids, but what’s encouraging here is that the supporting characters seem more than the ordinary “wife” and “kids.”  And who knew Laurence Fishburne, whose dour gravity nearly sunk CSI, was funny?  Seems to fit Modern Family tonally, with an original take on the conventional family sitcom.

THE OUTLOOK:  If ABC didn’t think Black-ish had the goods, the network wouldn’t be airing it in the post-Modern Family slot.  Admittedly, they’ve (repeatedly) been wrong about that before, but it seems like this time they’ve done what they should have done years ago and found a comedy that actually makes sense with its lead-in.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."