2018 Holiday RomComs Starring People of Color

2018 and the yea… two… several years prior have been ROUGH. And that’s a severe understatement. So I know myself, and many of my friends, are leaning heavily in the Christmas season this year. One way to do that is to sit with a blanket and a cup of cozy hot chocolate and watch cheesy Christmas movies. But usually these movies are alllll starring white people. I looked up several lists of this year’s Christmas romcoms and I saw more blondes than FOX News. (Some of them probably WATCH FOX News too…)

But thankfully, Lifetime, Netflix, and Hallmark (and, in a blessed update, TV One, BET Her, Freeform, and Bounce TV) have heard our cries and have finally provided some Christmas movies starring people of color. We celebrate Christmas and like seeing people fall in love too! There are a handful of titles on this list that look fun and cute and a great way to spend an afternoon, and hopefully more networks get on the bandwagon and every year we get more and more. (Also maybe some celebrating other holidays. Maybe I’ll write a Kwanzaa-themed romcom someday.) Until then, here’s what’s playing and where they’re airing. Leave a comment if I missed one!

Streaming

The Holiday Calendar, Netflix

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Starring: Kat Graham, Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us), Quincy Brown, and Ethan Peck

Airdate: Nov 2

I’ve heard good things about this story about a photographer who runs into a psychic advent calendar. Somehow that leads her to love, I’m ready to find out how. I’m brimming with excitement that she’s a photographer, like I sometimes am. I’ll likely start next week when Thanksgiving finally kicks off. No matter how hard I try, I can’t start Christmas earlier than that. But I’m glad this movie is already there waiting for me.

The Princess Switch, Netflix

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Starring: Vanessa Hudgens

Airdate: Nov 16

Vanessa Hudgens stars in a Meghan Markle meets Prince(ss) and the Pauper story about look-a-likes — a Duchess and a commoner from the Chi — who trade places and fall in love while dressing up.

(Someone tell Hulu and Amazon Prime to join in on the Christmas RomCom train!)

Hallmark

Christmas Everlasting

Starring: Tatyana Ali and Dondre Whitfield, Patti (Patti!) LaBelle, Dennis Hasbert

Airdate: Nov 24

Tatyana Ali is in not just one, but TWO Christmas romcoms this year! In Hallmark’s Christmas Everlasting, Tatyana’s character is a New York lawyer on track to become partner at her lawfirm. But her sister dies, leaving her to return to Wisconsin (Wisconsin?!) to help with the funeral, re-encountering her past. She reconnects with my fave romantic lead from Queen Sugar, Dondre Whitfield (I’ve been asking for him to have a romcom for ages, so I’ve been doubly blessed that it’s a Christmas one) her old high school sweetheart and a fellow lawyer. Not-Remy tells her she’s gotta live in her family home for 30 days before she can settle her sister’s estate, leading her to forming human connections and all that jazz (who doesnt love a good New York High Powered Lawyer Softens Up trope?).

A Majestic Christmas

Image result for a majestic christmas hallmarkStarring: Jerrika Hinton

Airing: Dec 2

Remember Dr. Stephanie from Grey’s Anatomy? She left the show to do other things and here’s one of those other things! This one’s another “girl goes back home” story but this time she’s an architect (okay Black architects!!) who has to change a historic local playhouse into a multiplex. Jerrika’s character has to convince the theater owner to save the playhouse, while also keeping her job and maybe falling in love in the process. So. Many. Tropes!

Memories of Christmas

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Starring: Christina Milian, Mark Taylor 

Airdate: Dec 8

Christina Milian’s character, Noelle, in this one sounds like a bit of a Scrooge who must tend to her Christmas-loving late mother’s house. She finds out that her mom hired Dave to decorate the house even though she died, and Grandpa Gene, I mean Dave (and the spirit of Christmas in the air!!!) must convince Noelle to embrace Christmas and further her mother’s legacy in the town. (I tried to get an AM to PM reference in there, but I failed.) Never forget Mark Taylor was in Seventeen Again! My 2000s hearts is singing!

A Gingerbread Romance

Image result for gingerbread romance hallmarkStarring: Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Duane Henry

Airdate: Dec 15

Tia Mowry-Hardict also stars in two Christmas movies this year. She also plays an architect (okay Hallmark!) who wins a contest to build life-sized gingerbread houses (what?!), which could lead to a promotion. Tia convinces a single, hot dad bakery owner to work with her on the project and falls for him AND HIS KID in the process. Omggg. Also it’s set in Philly!

Christmas Made to Order

Starring: Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids)

Airdate: Dec 23

The Spy Kids kids are all grown up and starring in Christmas movies! But here’s the thing: the male lead? ALSO AN ARCHITECT (but a white guy this time). (Who do we blame for this Hallmark? All those fixer upper shows?). Architect Steven hires a holiday coordinator (Gretchen, PenaVega) to make his house Christmassy but in Hallmark’s own words: “neither expected it to bring them closer to each other.” (Read it aloud in breathy italics. Then laugh.) But will Gretchen stay in the Christmas love she and Steven have formed or will she take another opportunity? Sounds angsty!

A Midnight Kiss

Starring: Carlos PenaVega

Airdate: Dec 29

So, Alexa PenaVega’s HUSBAND is also in a Christmas RomCom and I am so sad about the missed opportunity to pair them TOGETHER, but I think they did that last year with Hallmark’s Enchanted Christmas. (I suppose once you get in the Hallmark Christmas business, you keep on doing them.) Lisa and her family of party planners (this is a thing? Let’s just go with it I guess) are about to host a big New Year’s party for a tech entreprenuer. Lisa recruits her brother’s friend (her brothers ffrriieennnddd) and the two fall in love while working together. (hnng)

Lifetime

My Christmas Inn

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Starring: Tia Mowry-Hardict, Jackée Harry, Tim Reid

Airing: Nov 21

In Tia Mowry’s second romcom of the season, Jen is on the verge of a huge promotion in San Francisco when she inherits an inn in Alaska. She heads north to see what’s up and meets Steve and a lovely Christmas-loving community. Could Alaska beat San Francisco for her heart? This movie also stars Tia’s Sister, Sister co-stars Jackée Harry and Tim Reid. It’s a mini reunion!

Jingle Belle

Lifetime Holiday Movies

Starring: Tatyana Ali, Cornelius Smith Jr, Keisha Knight Pulliam, 

Airdate: Nov 25

In Tatyana Ali’s second holiday romcom of the season, Ashley Banks gets to hang out with Rudy and Vanessa Huxtable, aka Keisha Knight Pulliam and Tempest Bledsoe co-star! Isabelle (Ali) returns home (somebody always returning home in these things) to see that her high school sweetheart, who she left out in the cold to go study music in New York, is directing the Christmas Eve Paegent. Can they work together and rekindle that flame? Will they sing beautiful songs? Will we cry when they kiss after their sing together at the paegent?! Find out on Jingle Ball Z!

This one airs one day after Ali’s other one on Hallmark, so make a marathon out of it with your DVR.

A Twist of Christmas

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Starring: Vanessa Lachey 

Airing: Dec 1

Nick Lachey’s wife, Vanessa, who I just learned is Filipina, stars as a working mom who meets a working dad when they mix up their toys at the department store. Okkaaaaay, yes, a let’s track down these toys and track down the love in our hearts story. Let’s. Go.

The Christmas Pact

Image result for the christmas pactlifetime

Starring: Kyla Pratt, Jarod Joseph, Kadeem Hardison & Jasmine Guy

Airing: Dec 2

Grown Penny Proud, ahem, Kyla Pratt, aka Sadie in this movie, and her childhood best friend Ben made a Christmas pact behind their church (aww) I presume to be friends forever and to keep up their annual traditions no matter what. They planted a tree (aaawww) and, according to Lifetime: “With each Christmas that passes by, Ben and Sadie’s Christmas tree grows taller and stronger; and so does their love.” SO DOES THEIR LOVE, YOU GUYS!! I bet they decorate it together at the end and kiss and then they flash forward to their kids playing under the tree or something. Also DWAYNE AND WHITLEY STAR?! IMDb has no details on who they play yet, but… is it December 2 yet?

Every Day is Christmas

Lifetime Holiday Movies

Starring Toni Braxton

Airing: Nov 24

I read the title of this in Toni’s signature tenor. I hope there’s a Toni Christmas song to go with this movie, which is apparently a Christmas Carol!! Alexis is a money manager who doesn’t like the spirit of Christmas, so some spirits of Christmas come visit her, “forcing her to risk the one thing money can’t buy: her heart.” Let’s just hope her Yuletide Beau is man enough for her. 

Christmas Lost and Found

Starring: Tiya Sircar (from The Good Place!)

Airing: Dec 7

If you watch The Good Place (which you totes should be doing) you know Tiya Sircar as Real Eleanor/Vicki (spoilers on whether that’s one character or two, real ones know what’s up). Well she stars as a NYC event planner who spends time with “Grandma Frances” in Chicago for the holidays. There’s a holiday ornament scavenger hunt, a love story, and wise lessons. (But I hope they explain why Indian actress Sircar has a white Grandma. It happens, but I hope they get into it.

UPDATE! I was tipped off to some recent additions by TV One and BET Her, so I’m adding them to the list! If I’ve missed any others or new ones get announced, please let me know!

TV One

Merry Wishmas

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Starring: David and Tamela Mann (who also are among the film’s executive producers), Kim Fields, Towanda Braxton

Airing: Dec 2

Kenni (Tamela Mann) guess the trope: returns home! This time, to Columbia, South Carolina. She reconnects with high school friend Jessie (David Mann) and he introduces her to people from the local wellness facility. When the Jessie is threatened with losing the facility, Kenni tries to help save it, but they may need the miracle of Christmas in order to make it happen. You know there’s gonna be some church and some sangin’ if the Manns are involved, so buckle in!

Coins For Christmas

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Starring: Stephen Bishop, Essence Atkins, TC Carson, Kelly Price and Karlie Redd

Airing: Dec. 16

I’ve loved Essence Atkins since Smart Guy! She stars as Madison, a single mom who wants her teen kids to have a great Christmas, but she’s fired and her bank account is frozen (been there), so she gets a gig working for a (also secretly broke) football player, who she clashes with. Yessss opposites attract!! She’s bookish and he’s sporty, will they make it out of the poorhouse together?!

Bounce

A Stone Cold Christmas

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Starring Demetria McKinney

Airing: Nov. 25

This one is another Christmas Carol take, this time with Mia Stone, a businesswoman and grinch of a boss who only cares about money. But the love of her life makes her consider her decisions, as well as some ghosts from her past present and future.

BET Her

One Crazy Christmas

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Starring: Tammy Townsend, Terri Abney, Sean Blakemore, Kiana Dancie

Airing: Nov 17

Sabrina (Tammy Townsend) must face her ex-husband at Christmas dinner when their daughter Leslie (Terri Abney) brings home her new fiance Juan. A dinner time movie with some family mess! Anyone looking to avoid theirs can look no further than this hopefully juicy story.

Freeform

The Truth About Christmas

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Starring: Kali Hawk

Airing: Nov 25

Part of Freeform’s Kick Off to Christmas (their lead-in to 25 Days of Christmas), this one sounds like the romcom version of Scandal, honestly. Jillian, a political consultant, is about to work spin for her mayoral candidate boyfriend when she’s given some sort of truth serum before meeting his family. Who doesn’t love a “can only tell the truth” trope?!

No Sleep Til Christmas

Starring: Odette Annable

Airing: Dec 10

From TV Guide: “The Christmas rom-com stars the married couple as two insomniacs who discover they can only get a good night’s sleep when they are sleeping next together. Odette stars as Lizzie, a high-end event planner who’s facing down her biggest event yet: her own New Year’s Eve dream wedding to her fiancé Josh (Charles Michael Davis).” This is SUCH a fanfic trope!!

 

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

And don’t forget while you’re cooking your holiday eats, loading the dishwasher, or resetting your DVR, that you can play John Legend’s new Christmas album, A Legendary Christmas.

Be merry, friends!

 

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San Diego Comic-Connie 2016 & Other Updates

SDCC

Also seen on my Tiny Letter. Which I finally remembered to use.

SDCC Adventures

I’ve dreamed of going to SDCC since maybe high school — I don’t remember exactly when but it’s around the time I realized that most of my favorite TV shows had panels there. I’ve never left the East Coast and never had enough money to sacrifice to the cause. But because of God, the Internet (Twitter and Black Girl Nerds specifically), Robyn who let me stay at her family home for free, and even the three months I worked full time at a job that drained me emotionally, I was able to make my way to California for the first time and go to San Diego Comic-Con.

I was so blessed at SDCC and would do it again in a heartbeat. I got to see just about all the major panels I wanted to see (the TV ones, obviously, my recs from what I saw are in the “ConStar Around the Web section below”), I got to interview the cast of Luke Cage in my first roundtable experience, I said hi to Tatiana Maslany outside a party, I met some TV writers — hey Cheo Hodari Cocker (Luke Cage) and Zack Stenz (The Flash and other things — met some blerds and nerds at the BGNOC meet up (I still owe some photos from that), I got an awesome Doctor Who letterman sweater that it’s too hot to wear, I COSPLAYED for the first time and ran into someone dressed as my character’s companion, I was ON A PANEL AT SDCC and had carne assada fries which may have changed my life. It was a whirlwind weekend that went slowly at first (in a good way) and then was over way too fast.
Special thanks to Jamie of Black Girl Nerds for the opportunity and Robyn and her mom for giving me a place to stay and for sandwiches and free rides to the convention and airport. Thanks also to BGNOC for having an awesome party where I met tons of cool nerds, Cynthia for being my other convention buddy again, Kendra for some mental SDCC prep, Ed Catto for having me on a panel fo the second time ever, and whoever else I am forgetting that made my time at SDCC possible.

ConStar Watches

SDCC got me excited for a bunch of shows coming this fall and I’ve been watching a few things now. Here are some recs this week:

Now: 

  • Stranger Things. I devoured it in the 8 hours it takes to watch it, no breaks. It’s cool and creepy and fun and interesting. If you can deal with scary monsters even a little, you should watch it. Even if not, start it in the daytime and you’ll be done before dark.
  • Underground. I haven’t watched it yet but it’s on Hulu so you can. I’ve heard it’s spectacularly good.


Fall:

  • Luke Cage. LUKE CAGE. Watch it y’all.
  • Queen Sugar. This and Luke I’ve gotten to see some of ahead of time. This one is less of what I usually watch but I’m still intrigued. Gotta finish the screeners and I’ll write up a review over on BGN.
  • Emerald City. I retelling of the Wizard of Oz, but darker and really beautifully done. I hope it’s good and does well.
  • Sweet/Vicious. Buffy Meets Veronica Mars if the two heroes worked together. Looks cheesy and is on MTV, but I enjoyed the teaser trailer and wasn’t expecting to. It pulled me in from not paying attention at all. MTV doesn’t have a teaser up, which is foolish, but hopefully it’s coming soon.
  • Designated Survivor. 24 meets the West Wing. Imagine if the State of the Union was attacked and the random guy they left out in case that ever happened suddenly became president. At least he’d have held some sort of public office before… and is Keifer Sutherland.

Winter:

  • Powerless. So funny, like the Incredibles meets The Office. Starring two POC (Vanessa Hudgens and Danny Pudi). I hope it moves up to fall (what do I have to get cancelled on NBC?)
  • American Gods. Neil Gaiman and the guy behind Pushing Daisies. Do I need to say more? Read my post linked below if you do need more, but you shouldn’t.

ConStar Around the Web

My SDCC Posts!

Throwback posts! Plural since it’s been a while. A few of my favorite recent posts.

Sneak Previews — Things I’m working on:

  • An interview with the author behind the awesome superhero novel Heroine Complex, Sarah Kuhn.
  • A piece on food delivery in the projects. First world problems, really, but still probably important. Hit me up if you have thoughts or relative experiences.
  • Uploading all the SDCC photos I took on my DSLR. If anyone wants to give me money for a wifi-memory card, go here. 😉

Listen, Listen

I was on #WizardTeam, my favorite Harry Potter podcast, twice recently. In both, I chat about the Marauders because they’re my favorite. Clicking will open the episodes in iTunes.

I was also on the Nerds of Color podcast Hard NOC Life, chatting about SDCC!

Lastly

My twitter friend Jaymee Marie made me a new avi! I’ll start using it properly across the interwebz soon, but for now it’s my awesome new profile picture! Check out her work!

I return, after a long hiatus, to tell you guys all about my first visit to San Diego Comic Con!

Black Girl Nerds TV Editor

I love the Black Girl Nerds community. Jamie has developed a major support system for black nerds (mostly women, but also the guys who support the community) and I am very glad to be apart of it. I’ve written several posts, attended NYCC with the BGN crew twice, and co-hosted quite a few podcasts (more than I had even remembered when I compiled them all!) and now I’m carving out a new space for myself in the community. I am now the BGN TV Editor!

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I want to help Jamie make BGN even bigger than it is. With BGN’s strong Twitter presence, especially as a live-tweeting platform, BGN could be as big as Buzzfeed or Vulture with the amount of TV coverage that we do. So with the idea of creating a Black Girl Nerds TV vertical on the site, I’m curating TV meta content. There are a lot of sites that cover TV recaps and reviews (I write for a couple of them already), but there can never be too much content by black female voices.

As we’ve seen with #OscarsSoWhite and especially Julie Delpy’s comments (she wishes she were black because apparently black people get less hate than women? haha okay sure. & what about black WOMEN though?), black women’s voices are often ignored. The more of us out there, making ourselves heard, the better. So we want to amplify black female voices, especially the nerdy ones.

There are 11,000 (pronounced eleventy-hundred) shows out there for nerd audiences and there are maybe 3 or 4 black female characters (top of the list: Iris West on The Flash, Abbie and Jenny Mills from Sleepy Hollow, and soon Vixen and Misty Knight from Arrow & Luke Cage) currently on the air right now. It’s abysmal that I can count them all. And their characters are constantly suffering from marginalized writing and a misunderstanding of what it is like to be a black woman. So if our voices are heard, if execs and creators and producers realize that we will not let this stand, maybe we can make a change. Better writing, more characters, more LEAD characters.

So we’ll recap. We’ll dissect. We’ll point out the criticisms. But we also just fangirl as a community. That’s my favorite part. Being able to love a show and talk about it smartly and with a community that is going to accept your voice.

I love that Jamie has created a community where people can get started. We can experiment with ideas and present them to each other as a community. BGN is growing and evolving and I’m excited to be apart of it all.

It’s also great for me personally. I pitched the idea and had it accepted. That’s a confidence boost. Plus it puts me in a position I’ve never been in before, but one that I can shape and learn from. And I know the BGN community will support me and will teach me and I will only grow from here. I can put BGN TV Editor on my resume with receipts to back it up. Then I can apply for writing and social media positions more confidently and with more experience. The vicious “you need experience to get this job but we won’t give you experience’ cycle might finally come to an end. I create my own experience. I want to step forward into this take charge attitude and finally move past the awful and confusing post-grad part of my life. I hope this takes me there.

So if you want to volunteer TV recaps for Black Girl Nerds, email me! I have a fancy BGN email address now! connie@blackgirlnerds.com And who knows where this will take us — there’s already something in the BGN experience pipeline that could make this position really great. I’m excited!

ConStar Watches, young black girl watching tv, black girl watching tv

NOC Recaps Arrow 4×06: There’s No Place Like Immediately Leaving Home | thenerdsofcolor

My latest Arrow recap! Another Hamilton the Musical filled one, where I just couldn’t help myself. Heading subtitles include:

  • In Which Felicity Needs to Take A Break
  • I’m a General, Wheee!
  • That’s That Little Guy Who Spoke to Me
  • Teach ‘Em How to Say Goodbye

Check it out here: NOC Recaps Arrow: There’s No Place Like Immediately Leaving Home | thenerdsofcolor

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Jane the Virgin 2×05 “Chapter Twenty-Seven” (Insert Britney Spears Pun Here) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

I knew Michael’s winning streak wouldn’t last very long. Read my Jane the Virgin Chapter 27 recap!

What’s between snowflakes and flower petals? Maybe rain, baby tears? Whatever it is, Jane is in that in between state now. Neither Michael nor Rafael have come away with her affection, because she’s realized she should focus all of that affection on Mateo.

Click me baby, one more time: Jane the Virgin 2×05 “Chapter Twenty-Seven” (Insert Britney Spears Pun Here) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×06: “Into the Woods” (Sorry for Dropping In) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

This week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode “Into the Woods” split the squad up into guys and girls, with Rosa and Holt in the middle. We got to explore the aforementioned and rarely seen character pairing, went out of town with the boys, and also got to experience some classic Amy/Gina. The most enjoyable aspect about this episode was the flawless way Amy and Gina’s story passed the Bechdel Test. It is happening more and more on my favorite shows lately — though it’s still not often enough — so it still deserves recognition when it happens.

Read my recap here: Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×06: “Into the Woods” (Sorry for Dropping In) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

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Jane the Virgin 2×04 “Chapter Twenty-Six” (Winter is Coming) [Contributor: Connie]

This week’s Jane the Virgin review is up over on Just About Write!

In addition to raving about the episode and the differences between Team Michael (Team Snowflakes) vs Team Rafael (Team Flower Petals), I discuss the small ways in which series creator Jennie Urman empowers women in all aspects of her show. From it being a woman-led series, to she herself being the showrunner, Urman also laces the Miami telenovela industry with powerful women. Here’s a screenshot of what I wrote:

Retweeted by Jennie Urman herself!

Retweeted by Jennie Urman herself!

It’s important for shows that proclaim powerful women or proclaim diversity also show it behind the scenes. Practice what you preach.

TV MVP Nov 1: Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)

On this week’s Just About Write TV MVPs, I wrote about Mehcad Brooks, our newest James Olsen. (Of course there is a Hamilton quote thrown in there. Have you met my Twitter account?)

Just About Write Mehcad Brooks MVP Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 1.03.56 PM

That wasn’t the only time I wrote about Mr Olsen either. Check out my reaction when we first learned Jimmy would be black!

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NOC Recaps Arrow: The Room Where it Happens

Really proud of my Arrow recap from last week (episode 4.04 “Beyond Redemption”) because I combined it with my current Hamilton the Musical obsession. There are so many references to “The Room Where It Happens” and I didn’t even force it!

The #HamiltunesWritingChallenge encourages Hamilton obsessed writers to include as many lyrics from ONE Hamilton song in an essay not about the man or the musical as possible. I totally made it up and the rules are fluid, but I rose to my own challenge.

Click the link for my thoughts on an awesome episode of Arrow, links to interviews with episode director Lexi Alexander, and, of course, the song this recap inspired.

Enter the room where it happens: NOC Recaps Arrow: The Room Where it Happens | thenerdsofcolor

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Jane the Virgin 2×03 Review Chapter Twenty-Five (Let Your Faith Be Greater than Your Fear) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

Team Michael has a serious leg up right now…

My latest Jane the Virgin review is up!

How is every single episode of Jane the Virgin a delight to watch, but also heartwrenchingly emotional? This week was no exception. As usual, it ran me through the gamut of emotions, from joy that Jane got into grad school, anger over everything related to Petra, relief that Rafael is telling the truth, confusion over being Team Rafael when Michael is also so wonderful, and the buckets of tears produced at Mateo’s baptism. Let’s swim through this sea of emotions together!

Click through for excellent section titles such as

  • Time to Dance
  • Petraland Wishes to be a Russian Oligarchy and
  • Baptizing my TV with My Tears

Jane the Virgin 2×03 Review Chapter Twenty-Five (Let Your Faith Be Greater than Your Fear) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Reviews 3×04 (The Oolong Slayer) & 3×05 (Halloween, Part III)

Here are this week and last week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine reviews over on Just About Write!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×04 “The Oolong Slayer” (Have Some Tea) [Contributor: Connie]

Click the photo for more.

This week’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was not only hilarious and focused on the Jake/Holt dynamic, but also brought things back to the status quo for the characters.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×05 “Halloween, Part III” (Tick Tock For Whom) [Contributor: Connie]

Click the photo for more.

This week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine completed the trilogy of Halloween Heist episodes. The game is this: an object in the precinct must be stolen by the challenged before midnight, or they will not be crowned King of the Nine-Nine. As Jake recapped, he won the first year, Captain Holt won the second year, and this year they’d both try for the same object –– a crown. Whoever wins will be called an “Amazing Detective/Genius.”

TV MVPs Oct 18th & Oct 25: The Nerdy Gentlemen of the Flarrow-verse

I’ve got to get better about reposting my non-ConStar Writes posts here. The last two weeks over on Just About Write, I’ve chosen nerdy, PoC dudes as my TV MVP picks.

The 18th I chose Echo Kellum, who’s beginning his role as Mr Terrific and is, well, terrific. Click the photo for more TV MVPs.
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This week, I chose Carlos Valdes, who brought the sweet, sensitive side to Cisco getting a little lovin’ from Lisa Snart. Click the photos to read more!

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How Orphan Black’s Helena is Harry Potter Without Hogwarts

I just realized that I never shared this post on my own blog. I submitted this post to Black Girls Nerd Out (@weblackandnerds on Twitter) comparing Helena from Orphan Black and Harry Potter from, yes, Harry Potter. The two characters had a lot in common, so read about their similarities through the link!

Orphan Black’s Helena has lived a rough life. Every episode opens up a new way in which her horrible childhood led her to be the dangerous, awkward, socially inept, starved for love, clone-killer that she is and was. In Season 3 Episode 5, “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations,” Helena reveals this little tidbit: “In convent, I lived for 4 months in a broom closet. I do not rot.”

My Harry Potter-obsessed brain immediately thought of another character who was forced to live in a broom closet as punishment, Harry himself. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Helena is Harry without his Hogwarts education. (I’d also say, without magic, but there’s definitely something more about Helena.)

Read the rest: How Orphan Black’s Helena is Harry Potter Without Hogwarts — Black Girls Nerd Out

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NOC Recaps Arrow: #Queen2016

MY favorite quote from my own recap? (lol)

Moira’s old friend, Jessica Danforth — played by Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan, reconnects with Oliver and Thea and announces she wishes to die.

I mean, run for mayor.

For more gems like that, click through! NOC Recaps Arrow: #Queen2016 | thenerdsofcolor

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×02 “The Funeral” & 3×03 “Boyle’s Hunch” Reviews ~ Just About Write

Catch up on my Brooklyn Nine-Nine reviews over on Just About Write!

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Jane the Virgin 2×01 “Chapter Twenty-Three” (She’s Armed, She’s Fearless) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

I reviewed the Jane the Virgin premiere over at Just About Write! The show is back and just as good as when they left us. Chapter Twenty Three is merely the next chapter in the same awesomely hilarious and emotional book. I missed this show and am so glad it’s back in my life.

Read more: Jane the Virgin 2×01 “Chapter Twenty-Three” (She’s Armed, She’s Fearless) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

ConStar Watches, young black girl watching tv, black girl watching tv

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×01 “New Captain” (The TV Form of the 100 Emoji) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

Wrote my first official review over at Just About Write! And it’s one of my favorite shows on TV, Brooklyn Nine-Nine!

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of my favorite comedies on TV. Helmed by Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur, the show has a similar level of upbeat, optimistic approach to the workplace, where your coworkers become your family. What has also carried over from Parks and Rec is Schur’s refusal to fall into the typical will-they, won’t-they spiral where the writers jerk our chains with our ship. Once a main couple is together on a show of his, there is typically no backwards movement. This is beautifully true of Leslie and Ben, and I believe Jake and Amy’s relationship will receive similar treatment. The season three premiere sold me on this and I am so happy Mike Schur is a showrunner I can trust. When we ended last season, Jake and Amy kissed, Captain Holt was shuffled off to the PR department by his nemesis Madeleine Wunch and a new captain was entering the precinct. Let’s open this review by discussing Jake/Amy first, because how can I talk about anything else?

Read more about my love of Jake/Amy and how the show will handle them: Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3×01 “New Captain” (The TV Form of the 100 Emoji) [Contributor: Connie] ~ Just About Write

A Discussion Among Two TV Junkies

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: Summer, Fall TV, and Emmys Chat

Jamie (of Black Girl Nerds) and I discussed Summer and Fall TV over on the Black Girl Nerds Podcast, including chats about Mr Robot, Vixen, Arrow and the Stephen Amell mess, and the ridiculous Sleepy Hollow/Bones crossover we’re all confused about. Take a listen!

Listen here: A Discussion Among Two TV Junkies

Emmy’s Month: How The Emmy ® Statuette Is Made

The Emmys are this week! With that comes the speculation, the anticipation, and the inevitable consolation when your pick loses in their category (I expect to need lots of consolation). But I don’t want to talk about the nominees, I want to talk about Emmy herself.

Only recently have I ever wondered about the process of how awards are made. You’ve probably never seen an Emmy ® or an Oscar up close and in person (if you have, who are you and how did you find this tiny blog?), so it’s easy to dismiss where they come from. But they’re made somewhere, right? They don’t just appear from the sky into the winners hands, someone places an order, a company sculpts them, they’re shipped out to the award ceremony location, and stamped with the winners. So I decided to do a little research into how the award statuettes are made (and other random facts).

copyright ATAS/NATAS

According to the Emmy website, he Emmy ® statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus, who used his wife as the model. There’s gotta be something to the Oscar being a guy and the Emmy being a woman… There is the simple fact that Oscar was already a guy, so why not make the second biggest award in the industry a woman (and clearly a woman admired by the designer)? However there are some subtle correlations between the lauded importance of film (especially back in the day) and the second-class treatment of television (until the recent Golden Age where movie stars want to do TV and not because their careers are in the crapper). But this isn’t the point of this post.

Concerning the look of the statuette: “The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.” It’s really easy to forget that television (and film as well) were scientific endeavors when they first began. We take the mechanisms behind it for granted, but television’s debut at the 1939 World’s Fair was basically someone presenting their giant science project. The Emmy represents both the art of the acting/directing/writing, but the science of cinematography and sound and color awarded in the (two) ceremonies today. (Those Creative Arts Emmys seem to often represent the more science-y side, despite its name. Those awards are given out the week before and aren’t widely televised like the regular award ceremony.)

Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera (there goes the science part again). The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol. (x)

Each year, the R.S. Owens company in Chicago (who also make the Oscar, seen below) is charged with manufacturing over 400 statuettes ordered for the Primetime Emmys, which are awarded at the Creative Arts ceremony and Primetime Emmy telecast. As we get more and more television and the Emmys make adjustments to categories (like splitting up the miniseries category), I’m sure this will mean more Emmys to produce. R.S. Owens has been manufacturing the Oscar and Emmy Award trophies since 1983, after taking over from C.W. Shumway & Sons. In addition, between two hundred fifty and three hundred statuettes are ordered annually for the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, honoring excellence in local broadcasting. I think other local awards are produced elsewhere.

Here is a photo of Emmys in various stages of completion:

via Gizmodo. So cool!

The possibility of multiple winners is why the number of statuettes ordered varies each year. And don’t multiple writers on a show that wins best writing in a series get Emmys? (Otherwise, when the show is over, who keeps the Emmy? Writing duos wouldn’t just pass one back and forth every six months.) That would change how many people get a physical trophy as well, since some shows’ numbers differ. Surplus awards are saved for the following year’s ceremony.

Other Emmys Facts

  • Each custom casting is hand poured and takes five-and-one-half hours to make and is handled with white gloves to prevent fingerprints.
  • Emmys labels, declaring your name and category) used to (and probably sometimes still) be mailed to winners. But recently, the Governor’s Ball (held after the ceremony) hired an engraver to do it on the spot. (x)
  • The local South East chapter of the Emmys will replace your lost Emmy for a fee! (x) But what are you doing that you lose your EMMY?!
  • Each statuette costs about $400 to make and consist mostly of cheap metals, dipped in liquid gold. This cost is then passed on to the Emmy winners, as they’re required to purchase the statuette if they’d actually like to keep the award. (HuffPost) Woah! Imagine a show like Fraiser, which has won 37 TIMES (in various categories over 11 years)! But for a successful show/actor who just won an Emmy, the cost must be nothing compared to the increased pay, recognition, offers you must receive after getting the award.
  • The Emmy ® statuette must always appear facing left. ALWAYS.

September is Emmys Month at ConStar Writes

It’s September! That means TV IS BACK SOON! YAY!

As I’ve blogged before, summer 2015 basically became a blog hiatus, but during that time, I tried to brainstorm ways to be a more productive blogger. In addition to TV reviews (I’ll be reviewing FOUR shows this season so far! Wish me luck!) and ConStar Clicks, I want to have more original stuff too. I was inspired by the monthly themes over on Girls in Capes, which I thought might be a great way to kickstart more writing. So each month, I will (should, because I like to push myself but also be honest with myself) have a different theme! Hopefully I can add other non-themed posts in there too, but it’s all in the effort to write/blog more.

All of this to say: September is Emmys month!

The Emmys typically look at the work of last year’s shows, actors, writers, and production teams. I want to look at the Emmys in a wider lens than just who is nommed this year and who will be snubbed. I’ll take a look at how awards are made (physically, where do they come from?), black actors and actresses who have been nominated for the Emmy award (perhaps tracking winners and losers), and I’ll revisit my post on The Emmys Need New TV Categories.

This month, also look for:

Want to contribute to Emmy month? Contact me!

ConStar Clicks

The 2015-16 TV season is fast approaching, and with that comes endless articles on various trends and the state of television today. This week’s ConStar Clicks features a few of those articles and a couple of older ones. Click away!

Over on NPR: Television 2015: Five Shows They Will Never Stop Making including: The Adventures Of Mr. Superabilities And Detective Ladyskeptic and Healing Dr. Chilly. 

Another NPR piece: Television 2015: Are We Done Hating Television? which discusses how movie stars are moving to TV, which used to be a shocking thing, as TV was what movie stars did when they couldn’t get movie roles. Now things are different.

Disdain for television is so old and so powerful that HBO used to try to repurpose it into something useful, like fuel made from old French-fry grease. That’s what “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” was.

Another great line:

Disdain for television is so old and so powerful that HBO used to try to repurpose it into something useful, like fuel made from old French-fry grease. That’s what “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” was.

TV NOW: Are You Cheating On Your TV Shows? [Seat 42F] considers the sheer amount of television that is on the air today and the way social media and other factors force us to choose which shows to watch live and which to save for that DVR/Netflix binge

Total scripted television shows rose from 340 shows in 2013 to 371 shows in 2014 and now there will be over 400 shows at the end of 2015 — that is an increase of over 60 additional television shows in the past 2 years.

Also:

It became essential to triage which TV shows had to be watched immediately or LIVE or suffer the repercussions.

An important question is asked: Is TV Writing the Best Job Ever? [Huffington Post]

(and answered by TV writer Jane Espenson, who’s worked for some of the best SFF shows on TV, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once Upon a Time, and Battlestar Galactica.)

This piece on the BBC America Anglophenia blog wonderfully explores how Tatiana Maslany perfects the various accents and dialects she performs so flawlessly on Orphan Black:

In playing these diverse characters, the Canadian-born actress has the Herculean task of defining each individual through speech and behavior without tripping over into Saturday Night Live-level caricature. And that’s not even accounting for the performances in which a clone pretends to be another clone. Nuances are layered on nuances.

If you’ve ever watched Orphan Black, you know those nuances are serious! Also why hasn’t Tatiana hosted SNL yet?!

ConStar Clicks

Over on Buzzfeed, 51 TV Writers Reveal Their Favorite Thing They’ve Ever Written, which is really cool. A few of my favorite shows and writers are on the list, including Mike Shur (Parks and Rec‘s Halloween Surprise is his pick, which I of course watched about 15 times the night it aired), Jennie Snyder Urman of Jane the Virgin, Bryan Fuller (whose choice was Pushing Daisies‘ “Pie-lette”—just the title makes it one of my favorite episodes as well), and Rob Thomas (who also chose a pilot, the one for Veronica Mars).

Stephen Colbert‘s soon coming Late Show debut means there have been dozens upon dozens of articles written about him, his process, and his future on the show. Luckily for these magazines, I love Stephen Colbert. Here are a few of my fave articles written about him so far:

Netflix spares the average viewer from 130 hours of commercials a year, according to The AV Club. But how much money does that equal? Even based on what a cheap commercial might cost, I imagine it’s a pretty high number (I don’t do math if I don’t have to, so don’t ask me to make a guesstimate). But Netflix’s astounding success probably makes that money back and more. Amazing.

The Flash’s Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker and showrunner Andrew Kreisberg talk diversity [Blastr]

The EW Community points out the downside to constant binge watching:

There is, however, a significant downside to always making television available all at once: the loss of the communal viewing experience. Say what you will about the Internet and social media, but one of the wonderful things about it is the access it has given all of us—to people who are interested in the same things we are. Live-tweeting a show or taking to the Internet afterward to read reviews, ask questions, or share thoughts means we no longer have to enjoy our favorite shows in the isolation of our own homes. That’s a beautiful thing.

As a person who makes most of her connections, both on- and offline, through mutual love of TV shows (and as someone who wants to write for television in order to spur those connections in other people), I definitely agree that bingeing TV shows takes away from the communal aspect of watching TV. Through social media, we’ve been able to make primetime viewing necessary with various Twitter community live tweets (see the Black Girl Nerds and Nerds of Color communities as prime examples), where you have to be watching a show live to engage with your online friends (or even go online, for fear of spoilers). TV’s power to connect people is lost when we can’t talk about our shows because half your friends haven’t watched them yet. With one episode, it’s easier to wait for them to catch up; if they’re a season behind, it’s harder. Hopefully a mixture of weekly and marathon series continues, so that we can have the best of both worlds.

Snoopy says it all:

ConStar Clicks

I’ve been on hiatus (not really on purpose, just life and work getting in the way), but sometimes I still collect links for ConStar Clicks and then never post them because I either have too few or no time. Here are some links I’ve accumulated during this sorta hiatus. More Clicks coming soon (for real, there’s already a draft for next week’s!).

How Does an Aspiring TV Writer Get Discovered by an Agent? [Splitsider]

Search for a story that is meaningful to you, and excavate the depths of your imagination — what have you dreamed about writing, what do you wish you could watch? It doesn’t have to be a pilot, even. Is there an indie movie idea you’re dying to get out?

Basically, write what you want to write, no matter how wacky or unconventional, because agents will see the potential of it and it could get you work. Definitely something I needed to hear. Lesson of the day: Write it anyway.

Two articles on TV Staffing season (which has passed for this year, but is always useful for next spring!)

I’ve applied to three writing fellowships this year (!!). As notification season quickly approaches, this article was a very helpful read. Cross your fingers for me guys!

 

TV is BAE

I made an image proclaiming TV IS BAE

TV is BAE

Still working on my graphic design skills—thinking of alternate ones to make—but I kind of like how it turned out. The heart in the middle was mostly an accident, then I brought out its shape a little more. Any graphic designer types out there have any suggestions? Link back to this blog or tag me on twitter if you wanna use it, please!

Inspired by this “books are bae” poster I saw:

Books are still bae, but TV is also bae, television is very entertaining, but do not forget to go out for a walk once in a while, when you go out take your baby with a baby trend range jogging stroller. I think bae, like best friends, (as Mindy Lahiri would probably state) is not one person/one thing but a tier.  

Clone Club MVP Orphan Black Finale

Just realized I never shared my Orphan Black MVP post here! For shame! In typical corny fashion, the MVP for the final episode of Orphan Black’s 3rd season was everyone, every member of Clone Club. This includes everyone who was at the Bubbles dinner (Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Donnie, Mrs. S, Scott, Felix, and Art) and poor, self-sacrificing Delphine. It remains to be seen if she is a current or former member of Clone Club.

Click through for all my breakdowns of what made each character a key member of clone club in the Orphan Black finale.

While you’re here, you can click through to my HelloGiggles article on Tatiana Maslany‘s well-deserved—and long fought for—Emmy nomination!

Also I never shared my post about Paul’s MVP week! Here it is! So sorry to have already forgotten you, Major Dieden….