2017 was the year women owned your television. They were in front of and behind the camera, bringing new, award-winning stories like Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale. Now, it’s time for a fresh fall season, and these shows have us excited for even more diversity. Let’s keep that going, and add voices from the LGBTQ community and people of color.
10 p.m. Jan. 7
What better way to start this year than with one of the most anticipated shows of 2018? The Chi comes from the mind behind one of the most defining moments in TV history. Lena Waithe became the first woman of color to win the Emmy for comedy writing. The much-lauded Thanksgiving episode of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None was Waithe’s coming out story, a portrait of a queer black woman. Her next story is about a group of working-class African Americans in the south side of Chicago. The hour-long drama packs a lot into each episode, developing each character, played by lots of new faces: Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Jacob Latimore (Sleight), Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Queen of Katwe), Alex Hibbert (Moonlight) and Yolonda Ross (The Get Down). Waithe, creator and writer, effortlessly weaves multiple story lines to show a tight-knit community in a volatile neighborhood.
Black Lightning (CW, 9 p.m., Jan. 16): Black Lightning will be the most woke series to come out of 2018. Black Lightning is the CW’s first black superhero. Based on DC comics characters, the series follows Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) after he’s hung up his hat as Black Lightning, reconsidering his retirement for his community.
2 Dope Queens (HBO, 11:30 p.m., Feb. 2): Yas, queen, yas, this is the comedy special we’ve been waiting for. We get four episodes of Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, and Tig Notaro is directing. Like most of the 2 Dope Queens podcast episodes, the HBO episodes are taped in front of a live audience in Brooklyn and promise frank, hilarious takes on New York and black nerds ("Blerds").