Posted by: thezedword | October 13, 2010

All the colors of the Peacock tail

For a brief time over the last two months I wrote for USC’s newspaper the Daily Trojan.  As part of my duties as a staff writer, we had to do regular blog posts.  I wrote two, and for reasons I still don’t entirely understand, neither were run.

So, I present to you, the second, about NBC’s ambitious fall slate, and how the network blew it:

NBC started this fall season with an admirable goal: to create a line-up as colorful as their peacock tail. At first glance, they succeeded. Freshman series Outlaw, Undercovers, Outsourced, and The Event all featured minorities, and not just as a “token ethnic.”

— Outlaw pairs an African American with a Latino at the top of a legal team.

— Black actors from Germany and England play the married spies at the center of Undercovers.

— No doubt trying to capitalize on the success of Slumdog Millionaire, a majority of the cast on Outsourced is of South Asian decent.

— The Event boasts a Japanese-American government agent, a Latino extraterrestrial, and an African American as a Black Caribbean President of the United States. That last one’s a nice touch; it’s a demographic rarely represented on TV outside of Dexter’s Lauren Velez.

Unfortunately, when the new programs actually hit the air, they ranged from bland (Outsourced), to disappointing (Undercovers), to implausible (Outlaw), to unoriginal-but-has-potential (The Event).

This week’s episode of The Event improved on the last, and word is it will only get better over the next few weeks. Hopefully, the same will be true for tonight’s Outsourced. The success of these shows could lead to more minorities on network television in the future. What NBC and other networks needs to take away from the Peacock’s fall slate is that while it’s important to put a diverse cast in front of the camera, it’s just as important to put have shows that are actually worth watching them in.

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