Queen Sugar Recap

Queen Sugar Series Premiere: Are You Sweet on OWN's New Family Drama?

Few things bring a fractured family together like a crisis — and Queen Sugar‘s got ’em in spades.

Tuesday’s series premiere, written and directed by executive producer Ava DuVernay, introduced viewers to the Bordelon family, whose eclectic members include Hollywood-based sports manager Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), journalist/activist Nova (Rutina Wesley) and single father Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), who can’t seem to escape his past as a convict — or give up the destructive behavior that landed him behind bars in the first place.

Initially, all seemed well — or at least well enough — at the family’s Louisiana sugarcane farm, but by the end of the hour, the Bordelon siblings were reunited at the hospital following their father’s fatal stroke. Without sharing so much as a word, Nova and Charley’s emotional embrace spoke volumes about their complex relationship, as did the absence of a furious Ralph Angel.

Of course, their father’s death was only one surprise the Bordelons received in the drama’s first hour; Charley’s husband, star basketball player Davis West, was caught on camera helping his teammates usher an unconscious woman into a hotel room, and Charley did not take the revelation lightly. Before she even digested the news — which was delivered to her cell phone during a game — Charley was digging her heels into the damn court, demanding an explanation from her husband.

And that’s really just scratching the surface of Tuesday’s premiere. From Ralph Angel’s volatile relationship with his son’s mother (played by Bianca Lawson, who’s always welcome on my TV screen) to Nova’s unspoken connection with married detective Calvin, there’s a lot to unpack — and I look forward to watching the Bordelons hash out their issues every week.

Queen Sugar‘s two-night premiere continues Wednesday at 10/9c, but will you be returning? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.

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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27 Comments
  1. Ian says:

    Another pass through on the script and the editing, and this wouldve have been pure gold. I absolutely loved so much about it, from that gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous opening (seriously, I could watch a sensually filmed Rutina Wesley for hours, and amongst so many other beautiful and emotional sequences), to Bianca Lawson looking a fresh 16 years old while masterfully playing a recovering drug addict and desperate mother; but the pacing was awkward in spots – especially the beginning, as were certain dialogues that were tres cliche, but so much of this show is everything Ive ever wanted. I cried when Blue first spoke, because I WAS that little boy. And all of these black men in his family love him unconditionally. That means so much.
    By the end of the episode, I couldve forgotten everything little wrong with the show, so its got everything it needs. Just some obvious polishes. That’s it.

  2. Antwon303 says:

    thought the first 15 minutes was a tad slow but that is probably the worst thing I can say about it. I enjoyed the writing and the characters. They did a great job casting this and Ava wrote/directed a very good pilot. The acting was great. I love the way it was shot. As JC mentioned below, the imagery was impressive. I found myself caring about this characters already. They feel like people I would know in my everyday life. “Blue” is too adorable. Loved his relationship with his dad and his grandfather.
    The siblings are all so different but the love is there. They are just not close. The sex scandal could have come off so cliche but the acting made it work. That scene were Charly walks onto the court and confronts Davis was so well-done. It’s a shame because the two of them seemed so solid. Can she forgive him?

    Greg V was pretty good in this too but I was distracted by his hair. I’m sorry. That look does NOT work for him. I hope they change that.
    I recognized my Bianca but dang, they had her looked effed up. But she is playing a drug addict. I also recognized the actor who played “Robert E” on Dr. Quinn.

    I would rate the pilot A-. I can’t wait until tomorrow night. Oprah was brilliant to snag both Greenleaf and Queen Sugar.

  3. Hellenic78 says:

    Waste of time.

  4. Deborah A. McClendon says:

    Excellent TV Drama with substance that we can dig our teeth into. The right type of drama which is relatable. I loved it.

  5. Dave says:

    Very disappointed in OWN. I’m deaf and rely on captions. Not only were the captions wrong a lot of the time but they were on a delay. My sister was watching with me and said the captions were about 30 seconds behind the scenes. Not cool. I expect that from live TV but not a series. Would like to watch but if I can’t follow, I’m out.

    • Hellenic78 says:

      Closed captions were definitely off. I’m not deaf but I wanted to rely on them as many times I had no idea what they were saying, no such luck with this show. Similar to USA network lately, which doesn’t even bother to have any.

      • Suzan Greeson says:

        Spot on about being hard to decipher what was being said and captions were very inadequate but really good program. I’ll be back for more!

    • Ellen says:

      I agree about the captions. There were mistakes and they were very delayed.

  6. Diana Underwood says:

    I thought the storyline was spot on, just couldn’t understand what was being said. I used closed caption so I could read what I couldn’t hear clearly, but even that was jumbled. It is going to be sad when the show is cancelled because viewers cannot tell what is being said. Frustrated.

  7. Jim says:

    Cheap soap or family drama? If it’s the latter I might check it out, if it’s the former I’m out.

  8. Donna Salvi says:

    Best part of the show was Blue. What an adorable little boy. The name “Ralph Angel” is a bit of a turn off and hard to hear. Will watch another episode and make my decision whether to continue. I have to agree with those who said it’s very hard to understand what they are saying. Sound editing is pretty poor.

  9. Jules says:

    Agree that the first part was slow. I think it took a minute to figure out who was who and what was going on. It was a little confusing. Once the second half kicked it, it got really good. Oh and the little boy who plays Blue is everything!! Such a cute little punkin and a good little actor for being so young.

  10. cuius says:

    Must be a concern for the other actors that most of the praise for “the little boy”.

    Wonder if OWN is helping diversity by these shows? Think more integrated casts would be better

  11. Cdub says:

    It started out kinda slow, and I was just about to give up on it until Charley walked out on the court! It reeled me right back in and kept my attention.The scene between Charley and Nova had me literally in tears! The scene when Nova was sitting in from of detective Calvin’s house was so raw, real and relatable! Can’t wait to see what tonight brings!

  12. Khisha says:

    I love this series omg please make more

  13. Donna Mackie says:

    AvaDuverney’s approach to NatalieBazile’s wonderful novel Queen Sugar is refreshing. I love the in depth study of each and every character. All deserve a slow, deliberate examination. The novel, pre series trailers, tweets & Instagram posts had me hooked on their stories. The humanity, sorrow, love and determination is common to ALL. Our reaction & compassion is the test.

  14. Ally Oop says:

    Um. I haven’t even heard of this show before. How did that happen? Im always at various tv sites.

  15. Joycelyn Fields says:

    i look forward to seeing how the myriad of complex relationships play out. The acting is good so the cast is up to the task. Kudos to Oprah and Ava for bringing this to TV.

  16. Jasha says:

    Once its own I cannot tear myself away from the TV. Just wonderful

  17. Sonia Smith says:

    I love this show. The producer is very innovative on flow and keeping you wondering what is next.

    A home run for OWN.

  18. Claudia says:

    I am from NOLA, and that is how we talk, just like folks from the NY are hard to understand sometime. NOLA is not just about, Bourbon Street, French Quarter or Katrina, it is about life in the country, the struggle is real, they reminded me of my family.

  19. Sharon says:

    Loved this show. Leave it to Oprah to pick a story that will leave me in tears with every episode. Look forward to seeing all future episodes !