Fall TV First Impression: black-ish

Black-ish Preview

The broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including a new Shondaland drama, Katherine Heigl‘s TV comeback, a third NCIS and a trip to Gotham. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

PHOTOS Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!

THE SHOW | ABC’s black-ish (Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c; premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ Criminal Minds, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, Fox’s Red Band Society (new) and The CW’s The 100

THE CAST | Anthony Anderson (Guys With Kids, Law & Order), Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends), Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal), Yara Shahidi (Scandal‘s Young Olivia), Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown and Marsai Martin

THE SET-UP | Successful ad exec “Dre” Johnson is irked. His tween son Andre has adopted the name Andy (and a field hockey habit), his littlest kids don’t acknowledge their only other black classmate’s race…. All told, as he puts it, “I’m gonna need my family to be black — not black-ish.” Cue show title, lowercase letters and all!

RELATED ABC Fall Schedule: Shondaland-Themed Thursday as Grey’s and Scandal Make Way for Murder; S.H.I.E.L.D. on the Move

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Penned by Kenya Barris (The Game, TV’s Are We There Yet?), black-ish holds the promise of being the best Modern Family companion show that ABC in recent years actually thought to schedule in that time slot. And for the first half of the (overly narrated) pilot, I was really enjoying what I was seeing — especially when Dre illustrates points to an absurd level (e.g. the imagined tour bus marveling at an upper-middle class black family), or when he reacts to the specific nature of an otherwise coveted job promotion. But then the episode got quite silly, with a subplot about son Andre’s wish for a bar mitzvah. Oy!

Still, there’s much to work with here. Anderson is very entertaining and Ross is a fine wife-ly foil, though he does need to stop calling her “babe” every single time he addresses her. (Verbal tics make my teeth itch.) Fishburne, as Dre’s laid-back, racetrack-loving Pops, is a very welcome touch — and not just because this role is sooooo far removed from what he’s been up to on NBC. That said, I hope the show always keep a foot firmly planted in Dre’s workplace, if only to broaden his world/interactions.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | ABC surely is at the point where all they can hope for from a Modern Family lead-out is that it does no worse than the previous one. black-ish should meet that low bar, being a better fit than Mixology and far more amusing than [shudder] Super Fun Night.

Watch a video preview for black-ish, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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76 Comments
  1. David4 says:

    ABC is horrible with names. Worse TV title of the year.

  2. Ron says:

    Sorry, but ABC’s best post-MF show was Happy Endings. That will be, at this rate, the only good show ABC has put on after MF. And despite what people say, I’ll always hold the opinion that they didn’t give Happy Endings a fair shake. They could have ha a successful comedy block if they’d done the intelligent thing and put Trophy Wife on after MF, but apparently ABC is in the business of giving a potential amazing timeslot (post-MF) to shows that will never succeed.

    • Ann says:

      Happy Endings got like 3 seasons…and that includes the post Modern Family timeslot. Ratings didn’t increase. It kept declining from it’s already low ratings. I think Happy Endings got more than fair treatment compared to other shows that ABC cancels after one season without even giving it a chance

    • ... says:

      Suburgatory was good at its peak. Cougar Town was good. Don’t Trust the B was good. The Neighbors was good. I’ll give you Mixology, Super Fun Night, and Mr. Sunshine, but spare me the comedy hipster routine.

  3. Blackish Guy says:

    Im really excited about this, yea the title makes it hard for white people to enjoy, But high five to ABC for diversity! Black people 1 white people 1255454561564.

  4. MattArmando says:

    Definitely best MODERN FAMILY companion in recent memory. Finally, a FAMILY comedy is placed behind another FAMILY comedy.
    The show has potential with Tracee Ross, Anthony Anderson, & Laurence Fishbourne. Hopefully it’ll do well behind MODERN.
    Not the best title, at all, but it makes sense.

  5. Tran says:

    SKIP IT. The sitcom world is at it again with horrible name titles.

  6. Marcus T. says:

    I think the name is fine for most people that aren’t white Problem is most of ABC audience is white so they will just tune this show out before giving it a shot

    • S. says:

      Or maybe the White people will tune it out because it implies there’s something wring with being white. And the Hispanic people and the Asians and the Indians and the Canadians will tune it out because it offers them nothing except implying that Black is culture is better than theirs. And then Black people will tune it out because it will imply that being successful means selling out your culture and makes you less black.
      It’s a racist and stupid show. If it was flipped around and about a white father trying to save his son from acting too black the NAACP would be screaming bloody murder.

  7. Cy says:

    Laurence Fishburne is only 9 years older than Anthony Anderson. Ridiculous to have him playing his dad.

    • b says:

      We can all use google dude, chill

    • m. says:

      What bothers me more ist the fact that Ross played his wife during his stint on CSI, while he’s playing her father-in-law here (at least that’s my understanding). That’s kinda strange & would definitely distract me, if I’d actually decide to watch.

    • lilk says:

      Cy, It isnt ridiculous. Laurence looks older. If he lost weight and bloat he’d look younger adn then perhaps I’d say he was miscast. Anthony too has lost weight ( he found out he was diabetic) and it has definitely helped him too look younger.
      I’ll check it out.

    • Arie says:

      Well Laurence looks much older so that’s fine…

  8. Sara says:

    Am I the only one who’s stuck in the 90s when it comes to sitcoms? I’ve watched a few episodes, but the only one that kept my interest was Community. Show me a repeat any day

    • ... says:

      You’re missing quite a bit of interesting material. I watch my fair share of reruns (I’ll never pass on a Roseanne marathon), but c’mon. Join us in the 2010s.

    • Nick says:

      I like the 90’s way better, but I have to admit this decade has had some excellent ones as well. Community is my absolute favorite, but The Office, Parks and Rec, The Middle, Raising Hope, How I Met Your Mother, etc. are all excellent! But I see your point, I will find no show funnier than a re-run of the Fresh Prince.

      • Ally Oop says:

        I love many 80s and 90s comedies such as Fresh Prince, Cosby Show, Full House, Family Matters, Home Improvement, Boy Meets World, Roseanne, Cheers, Saved by the Bell, The Wonder Years, Golden Girls, Friends, etc. the list could go on and on. In the last decade, there have been only 10 half-hour comedies I’ve watched a whole season of: The Goldbergs, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother (only the first and last seasons), My Family (a Britcom), Trophy Wife, Reba, That 70s Show, Two & a Half Men (the Sheen years), Malcolm in the Middle and 8 Simple Rules.

        • Zach says:

          Personally, I much prefer workplace comedies to family comedies (which usually have terrible child actors).

  9. Diz says:

    I like Anderson and Fishburne, bit no thanks.

  10. twilight123 says:

    SO EXCITED for this one! I am a little worried though that everyone who seems to be looking forward to it (myself included) seems to be African-American. I’m hoping that it catches a broader demographic once it starts to air, otherwise I am afraid it will be DOA. What I have seen from the pilot thus far has made me laugh more than once. It’s absurd, but also somehow very relatable to thoughts or internal battles that my family or I have had. I also happen to be a long time fan of Anthony, Tracee, and Laurence Fishbourne. So, fingers crossed!

    • MCO says:

      “but also somehow very relatable to thoughts or internal battles that my family or I have had” that might be why white people seems to not be that interested in black-ish. I watch the promos and I have to admit, there’s some stuff I didn’t get right away and had to ask or think to understand. and that’s great, that could opens my eyes on some stuff or could make me understand better African-American community on other stuffs….But is it really something that people want from a comedy ?
      Still from the promos, the show with the chinese familly seems better on that point. They more or less “explain” the inside jokes. They seems more aware that part of their audience isn’t from this demographic, and need a little help to understand what the characters are going through.

      • Twilight123 says:

        Yeah MCO, I think you’re right about this. I also have seen the trailer for that Asian American sitcom coming to ABC and found it to be hillarious without having to be “of” that community, whereas Black-ish doesn’t take the time to explain it’s inside jokes to outside watchers. Hopefully they figure that out. I still think it has some potential.

  11. Tyler says:

    It doesn’t look bad. I just can’t stand Anthony Anderson. He always seems over the top for me and really have never enjoyed him in anything. Like Fishburne and Ross, but probably gonna skip this one.

  12. Pass says:

    Show looks like a stinker

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  14. Suhail says:

    This was really bad.

  15. Kathy says:

    The biggest impression I got out of this is” guess we know ONE of the characters who is going to die from the Hannibal massacre”… So long, Jack…

  16. More Money, Less Problems says:

    I hope How to get away with Murder is next, though everyone doing this wants to do the superhero shows first. So Constantine will probably be next. As for Blackish, I like what I saw and I will definitely be watching.

  17. i suppose the oxygen network will create girl-ish now. Can’t TV programmers just make a show about a loving family that does not have racist overtones or political views or gay marriage propaganda in it? Are TV writers so pathetic now that they cant just write about reality and skip the racism? Cant we all just get along? How do we expect the world to change if the TV people cant stop spewing anti-white racism. Grow up ABC. This is the 21st century and we are all colored people. Their is no need for subliminal hatred in TV. The sixties are over and the world has improved. Stop trying to make things worse again. If we cannot all live together equally then we cannot call it equality. Burn your race cards and embrace freedom, justice, and liberty for all. and now a word from the haters…

    • Pennie says:

      How can you claim to want equality when we live in a country where there clearly is not any? This show is needed for us to acknowledge the blatant issues that are hurting our country. Tis isn’t anti-white, this is what life is like in back america. There are so few black cast shows as it is, god forbid we finally get one that brings light issues and can still include comedy. Every show on television is white television. we live in a Eurocentric, male dominated world and ignorance is not the answer. Sweeping issues of race under the rug is no solution to equality. Call society out for its white washing is needed. it’s unfortunate that this show will be ignored by people like you who claim to believe in equality, but do not or will not ever know the struggle a black american faces every day. This show is progress.

    • Angela says:

      The idea that you think there’s actually “gay marriage propaganda” in shows alone tells me a lot about your post right there.
      Are TV writers so pathetic now that they cant just write about reality and skip the racism?
      Um…what? Is racism NOT a part of reality in the world in which you live?
      I would love it if this world learned to get along with each other. You know a great way to help that happen? Celebrating the diversity of people we have out there. That means allowing more black-centered programming, or supporting gay couples, or having some focus on Hispanics and Asians and so on and so forth.
      The sixties did happen, yes, and some improvements have been made, but we’ve still got a ways to go. Diverse TV options won’t solve all our problems, no, but for people who’ve long been marginalized in society, seeing themselves reflected in a positive light on TV will certainly be a good thing, right? And it’ll cause others to maybe reconsider some of the nasty stereotypes they have of various people as well.
      But nah. Why bother doing any of that when we can just sit here and whine because oh, my god, a show focuses on a black family for a change, right? Not like there aren’t zillions of white-oriented TV shows out there you can always flip over to instead, after all.

  18. JMill says:

    Looks like it could be interesting, especially if they use Fishburne well. It does look like they need to tighten up the writing (Yeah, dial back the “babe” business), but we have only seen a clip and it is just the pilot; I can give them a little time.

  19. Lei says:

    THIS seems like a Bernie Mac show ripoff.

    • Gigi says:

      Actually it seems more like the show D. L. Hughley had some time ago. I believe it was on ABC as well.

      • Ashbash says:

        I was trying so hard to figure out what this show reminds me of and I think you’re both right. It’s very similar to the Bernie Mac show and The Hughleys. I also think it’s a little bit like the Damon Wayans show My Wife and Kids that was on ABC a few years back. But all 3 of those shows did pretty well in the ratings and had multiple seasons so hopefully this does the same.

  20. Kenny says:

    I’m Black and I Don’t like the title…First true black sitcom in years and we have to remind everyone that the characters are black using the title😂

  21. jouiie says:

    There should be a fourth option in the poll: “The uploader has not made this video available in your country.”

  22. Alex says:

    Why does this show have to revolve around race? Imagine if a show with white actors had all the characters talking about losing their whiteness, not being white enough, etc. Forget this race crap, and just make a good show with interesting writing and characters.

    • Nicole says:

      Being called ‘white’ or ‘not black enough’ is something that a lot of black people deal with in their communities. I’m not fan of shows explicitly being about race, but this doesn’t seem like a ‘woe is me’ concept. Just putting a comedic spin on things. I’ll check it out for sure.

    • sororsalsa says:

      Yes, because living your life and pretending race doesn’t exist has worked out so well thus far. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  23. Et. Al says:

    Watching that awful trailer just makes me more furious Trophy Wife was never given the post-Modern Family timeslot.

  24. Boiler says:

    First off I think the post MF slot should have been Trophy Wife(another title challenged comedy). I don’t know if it is good or not but if the show is real good people of all races will watch. Anyone on here remember the Cosby Show???

  25. Sheldon W. says:

    Basically, the Black-ish pilot’s problem (and one shared by Cristela, for that matter) is that it, as Leo Kottke used to say, takes a lovely little riff and runs it into the ground.

    Sometimes, a pilot has to be too on the nose in order to make its point with its network, but can be less overstated in the actual series. One hopes this is the case here.

  26. Jenna says:

    Ok. I wasn’t really going to watch this, but it looks pretty funny. The main cast is a huge plus, and it seems like a good fit after MF. I’ll fit it in somewhere on my schedule.

  27. herman1959 says:

    Um…I’ll have to think about this one.

  28. Ashbash says:

    If the show isn’t too over the top I’ll watch it. I think the show is pretty much about a dad who is afraid that with giving his kids a better life that they are losing their culture and wants to remind them to take pride in their culture. This premise (and pretty much this show) has been done before but I shame whatever person at ABC that thought naming a show “Black-ish” was going to be cool and hip along with attracting a black audience. I mean seriously isn’t there some kind of test audience that they run these shows and their titles by or at least someone at ABC that opposed this title.

  29. meatwad says:

    i like Anderson so i will give it a few episodes

  30. ohene isaac says:

    Anything shonda rhimes doesn’t disappoint so I know the show is going to be gr8.

  31. Ally Oop says:

    I hate the title. I also found the humour a bit too corny. I’ll be giving this a pass. P.S. I hate Moden Family.

  32. Joe E Dangerously says:

    … And cue the deluge of angry tears from the White Male Victim Society about how having the word “black” in the show’s title is somehow an attack on white people in 3, 2, 1…

    Oh wait. There are already comments to that effect. If you’re one of those people, let me just tell you how you sound. You sound like this: “Oh my god! Why can’t we be totally white?! Why do we need to represent everyone?! Diversity is an attack on white people! It’s implying that white people are racist! That’s reverse racism!” Yes, that’s right. You sound like Rush Limbaugh. And is that really the person you want to sound like? If so then hey, aces. But if you’d like to join the rest of us in this century I suggest you get over your knee-jerk reaction to everything not white and stop telling everyone else that we’re implying there’s something wrong with white people when I’ve never done any such thing and nor has anyone I know to my knowledge. Please stop crying. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

    You are not a victim. Period. Now grow up.

  33. Ram510 says:

    The show has a terrible title and I don’t know why ABC always does this with it’s shows, decent enough show with a horrible title that turns people away.
    I’m happy it’s a family show which will be a nice pair with Modern Family
    Too bad ABC screwed up with Cougar Town and Happy Endings cause they were great shows. Both had solid ratings until they got shuffled around

  34. 1. I don’t want African cultural traditions to be mocked when it seems as if the mocking is for the benefit of white people. This clip plays to white people: look at us, we’re black, and we’ve made it! Look at us, pleeease!
    2. The show will be compared with “The Cosby Show.” The media and interest groups played up the middle-class status of that family. The show itself did not. The family was financially and socially stable, and they simply lived that reality. Rarely if ever did they talk about it. The Huxtables’ blackness was all around them and in them. Their urbanity was all around them and in them. Their middle-class status, too. It’s how some people live, including black people. No need to harp on how well we live and how well we play with white people and other people in the world. It’s simply our life. Our life is fun and funny and often problematic. Let’s go with that for the laughs! This new show, like others before it, feels the need to keep repeating: “We’ve made it, we’ve made it! Don’t forget, we’ve made it!” That’s funny?
    3. I love Fishburne. His role within this show seems to be to represent an authentic black, whatever that is. It is not “black-ish.”

  35. Tammie says:

    I think this show is offensive,the title and inferences throughout the show, stupid stereotypes (yawn)…next.

  36. Roz Hollo says:

    I like the cast, but I am offended by the title. First of all, I don’t think most black people sit around talking about their race all day. Couldn’t they have come up with a better concept for a modern day, black, middle class family?

  37. David says:

    Just wonder if they would broadcast a show called whitish??

  38. jakexus says:

    R A C I S T

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