My Favorite New TV Characters From the ’14-’15 Season

I fell in love with an extraordinary number of new characters this TV season. Looking back in the ones I loved or connected with the most, I decided I’d make a list of my favorite new characters from this TV season. Once I made my list, I realized that they were all people of color. This was not on purpose, but it delights me greatly.

Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) ⇒ The Flash

When Caitlin and Cisco guest starred in Arrow on season two, I didn’t care about them. I couldn’t really grasp who they were or connect with them at all. Once The Flash started, however, they quickly came into their own and Cisco proved to be one of the seasons funniest and savviest characters. I think what draws me to Cisco is the same thing that draws me to characters like Abed Nadir from Community or Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock. All of these characters are like me: pop culture savvy, people who make references to movies and TV on a daily if not hourly basis and are always looking for the hope and the humor in life. Cisco, by nature of his pop culture obsessed nature, is one of the meta characters on the show, the fact that he has recently been revealed to be a metahuman makes that even more meta. All things I love.

How do you not love him?

Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) ⇒ iZombie

iZombie’s Ravi is the most recent addition to this list, but definitely a character I want to protect at all costs. (Being that it’s a zombie show, all characters run the risk of dying, but don’t do it to Ravi!) I think what first struck me about Ravi was his loyalty. He meets Olivia Moore, this weird girl who used to be an ER doctor, and when he discovers her secret, he doesn’t tell anyone, not even her. He vows to keep her secret and help find a cure for zombieism with no personal gain. His immediate loyalty to both her and Major is extremely endearing. He’s also snarky, has fantastic hair, a great accent, and looks great in a suit. I hope season two provides for Ravi backstory and opportunities for Liv and Major (and Peyton?) to return the loyalty favor.

We’re glad you are, Ravi.

Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) ⇒ Grey’s Anatomy

It’s hard to introduce a new character when your show is 11 seasons in, but Grey’s Anatomy manages to consistently add new characters and have fans come to love them. One of the first things I loved about Maggie was her hair. As a natural black girl myself, seeing curls like hers on TV is always a delight. I was hesitant about her character, as she was introduced so soon around Cristina Yang’s exit—I feared they would try to replace Cristina in Meredith’s life, especially once you find out she is her sister. And while Maggie is slowly plugging the hole that Cristina (and now Derek) left in Meredith’s life, she isn’t trying to replace her. She is her own character who interacts with Meredith in a different way, a way that Meredith needs now that she’s lost those who were previously so close to her. Maggie brings loyalty (have I mentioned I love loyalty in fictional characters? Because I do.), a willingness to be there no matter what the question (her offer to babysit Mer’s kids), and a somewhat normal family background. She’s also awkward, nerdy (she’s an expert crossword puzzle solver—a cruciverbalist), and she’s interested in helping other people. These are all wonderful qualities and I can’t wait to get to know Maggie more.

You’re too good for this hospital, Maggie. Save yourself!

Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) ⇒ Jane the Virgin

Ask anyone who’s seen Jane the Virgin and they will extol the wondrous and many virtues of Gina Rodriguez. You’ve probably seen the think pieces, her Golden Globes speech, and her (amazing) Emmy campaign poster by now, so you know that she and her character Jane are well loved across the TV fandom. Nearly everything about Jane makes me love her (even her faults, because they are things I relate to), but the things that I might love most include the fact that she’s a writer (who is still trying to figure out her writing path), she’s loving to her mother and grandmother, she’s funny, she shops at Target, and she fearless even in her insecurites. Even if Jane is unsure, she determines to find out the answer, to become sure. She does her research, but she also listens to her heart. She allows herself to cry and still know that she is strong. She’s a great model for young female characters. I am so glad we have Jane.

I hope we get more rapping Jane in Season 2.

Diane Johnson (Caila Marsai Martin) ⇒ blackish

Kids on TV are hard to cast. Sometimes they can be seen as annoying or too sweet or unrealistic. blackish’s Diane Johnson defies these challenges. She’s cute but she’s smart, she’s fierce but she’s relatable. She’s funny but not in an annoying way. I love that Diane speaks her mind. That she’s smart and knows it and doesn’t back down or apologize for it. I love that she realistically puts down her twin brother, but won’t let anyone else mess with him. I love that she scares Charlie. Also I love her dimples and her sass and her glasses and the way her hair is different in every episode and that once they even put her in a headscarf (because Lord knows she’d need to wear her headscarf in order to keep those barretts in place at night). Diane is shaping up to be a fantastic person and I am so excited to see her grow older.

Love how semi-neatly she’s making it rain. 

Emery & Evan Huang (Forrest Wheeler & Ian Chen) ⇒ Fresh Off the Boat

I think Evan and Emery Huang come as a package deal for me. They’re both adorable and it would be easy for them to be written similarly (especially in their contrast to Eddie and especially due to their closeness in age), but the show gives them distinct personalities that still have an opportunity to shape and grow.

Emery gets all the girls and is clearly sweet to them and his family.

Evan uses his cuteness to get away with everything, including his sharp tongue, and he’s well aware that that’s what he’s doing.

Both boys are smart and funny, the actors have excellent comedic timing. I can’t wait to see who they become as characters because they’re so young that they can still change and grow depending on the writing.

Who were some of your favorite new characters this TV season? 

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Series – This Week’s TV MVPs: Week 14 ~ Just About Write

ALSO KNOWN AS THAT TIME GRANT GUSTIN READ OUR MVPS.

First, he simply replied “thank you” to our MVP post on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 10.45.35 PM

THEN, THE NEXT DAY, he quote tweeted it. As in more than 12 hours later. As in he kept it open, read it, and then decided to SHARE IT AGAIN. Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 8.00.44 PM We’re all freaking out totally calm. NBD. The ladies over on Just About Write are all lovely and we’re totally fine. Calm. Maxin’ and chillaxin’ all cool. WE’RE TOTALLY FREAKING OUT. What a wonderful Monday. Grant Gustin is a kind hearted, excellently read (;-)) , real life superhero.

I’m done flailing. Here’s my bit on Grant/Nora below. Click through for more on Grant/Joe and Grant/Henry.

Connie’s MVP: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen (The Flash)

Why he’s the MVP: I’m gonna get personal for a second. My mother died when I was a baby. Too young, really, for me to even remember her. I’ve lived a perfectly lovely life with my grandmother and the other family members who made sure that I was loved and taken care of. But there’s always something in you that wonders what your life would be like if your parent was still around. Even if you think your life would be drastically different, there is always that what-if. Barry spends the episode grappling with the decision to make his what-if a reality.And while we all considered it ridiculous that he’d want to change things because we, as pop culture enthusiasts, know how time travel works (and how it goes wrong), we’re still devastated when Future Barry tells Our Barry not to help Nora and he watches her final moments. Grant handles this moment with all the care it deserves—not that there was little doubt. Everything about his moment in the past is precious. From his realization that he really did it and the moment of hesitation when his future self told him not to interfere to the way he hid in his room as Reverse Flash stabbed Nora in the heart and the moment he realizes this is his chance to say goodbye.

Grant floors me with his performance as he sits by Nora. He’s barely holding it together and he tries so hard to just be The Flash, but he’s never really been good at that. The Flash has always been Barry (compared to how, for the most part, The Arrow is not Oliver Queen). He takes off his hood and she knows before he even says anything: “You look just like my father.” The freedom he feels in this moment, even in his despair, is so apparent. He’s never been very secretive about his supposed secret identity, but to be able to tell his mother… that’s something he’s probably always wished she could know. That he was a something special.

“I got a second chance to come back here and… tell you that I’m okay.”

There’s this little thing Grant does, as Nora says goodbye, where he hardens his face, like he’s confidently letting her go. Then she exhales and he loses it once again, mourning both her life and the alternate timeline he doesn’t get to create. I love how The Flash showcases the emotional depth of superheroes without it being perceived as hokey (compare to the memes of Tobey Maguire crying as Spider-Man). That’s all Grant Gustin. I dare you to watch that scene without at least a prickle of a tear in your eye or some serious tugging at your heartstrings.

Read the rest here: Series – This Week’s TV MVPs: Week 14 ~ Just About Write. It’s Grant Gustin approved.

Nerds of Color Triple Shot: The Flash 1.11, Arrow 3.11 & Supergirl

I banged out three pieces for the Nerds of Color yesterday, because I am obsessed with the Super Flarrow universe Greg Berlanti and team are creating.

NOC RECAPS THE FLASH:  SELFIES, SECRETS, AND SONIC WAVES

Team Flash (this photo will be important later, I can feel it)

First up, I did this week’s The Flash recap, where Barry and Team Flash encounter the Pied Piper and some of the cracks in Dr. Wells’ secrets chamber begin to splinter.

BLERD BOOST FOR SUPERGIRL: MEHCAD BROOKS CAST AS JIMMY OLSEN

Jimmy and Kara might getting a little swirly…

Then I wrote about the exciting news that Jimmy Olsen is now black! This gives the upcoming Supergirl series some serious blerd cred. I’m so glad they “thought outside the box” as the actor, Mehcad Brooks, stated on Twitter.

NOC RECAPS ARROW: WEEKEND AT OLLIE’S

They need to fix the way the mask sits on her face, it’s bothering me.

Finally, I did this week’s Arrow recap as well, where the remains of Team Flash act more like teenagers whose parents went out of town and had a big party where everything gets broken rather than adults who know when to quit. Thankfully, Mama Felicity saves the day. But she can’t save Laurel from the creepiest Weekend at Bernie’s stunt she’s pulled on Captain Lance since Sara died. Sara MUST be coming back since they’ve refused to tell him this long.

Thanks for playing!

Midseason Diversity Check-In

From what I’ve noticed of this season’s midseason finales, is that it’s been a rough one. Characters have died left and right, been fired, gone missing, etc — I’M SO WORRIED ABOUT ABUELA! — and a whole bunch of other trials that don’t even happen at season finales! But let’s check in with some of our new and returning characters of color this season. How are they doing as characters and how are their shows faring so far this season?

[a few midseason finale spoilers below, particularly Sleepy Hollow, Scandal and Jane the Virgin. Proceed at your own risk.]

Sleepy Hollow

They did what to who? #RIPBelovedCharacter

Over on Sleepy Hollow, it seems like Abbie (Nicole Beharie) has been getting the short end of the stick and fans are noticing. I’m three episodes behind, but from what I saw before I needed to catch up and what I’ve heard with regard to the over-inclusion of Katrina and the killing of Captain Irving (Orlando Jones), it seems that what we once loved about Sleepy Hollow is being written out of existence. (Killing Irving feels a bit like the Black Guy Dies First trope, honestly. Though John Cho’s character did die last season and he was also a major character. That felt more nuanced, however, and Orlando Jones was promoted to main cast and then killed off, so it certainly speaks to the typical horror trope. Le sigh.) Here’s hoping that Irving is magically resurrected and brings new life back to the show. Also, less Katrina. Hopefully this is mere sophomore slump and things will turn around, but if they don’t do it soon enough, it won’t make it to a season 3.

Gotham

Jada Pinkett Smith Fish Mooney

Gotham’s downfall but the show’s saving grace?

One time slot later, Jada Pinkett-Smith has been owning things as Fish Mooney in Gotham City, but can she save an otherwise kinda dull show? I’m also three episodes behind on that one, but I’m not sure I have the desire to tune in again. Fish is the brightest (visually, and she’s definitely up there intellectually) and most interesting character on the show (Penguin holds about even in most fans opinions), so hopefully they give her enough to do. But I’m a little bored by Gotham so far.

Jane the Virgin

Villanuevas

Sorry Sleepy Hollow, but if you continue the way you’re going, Jane the Virgin is going to get my Mondays at 9pm live-viewing points. It’s one of the best shows, new or old, on television now, flawlessly weaving from comedy to drama to mystery to melodrama in the blink of an eye without losing its momentum. Definitely the strongest writing of the season, especially for a new show. The Golden Globes recently recognized nominated it for Best Comedy, as well as star Gina Rodriguez for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. I’m not holding my breath that they’ll win, but hey, miracles happen. My only concern for Jane (besides what happened to Abuela in the midseason finale — !! –) is how long can they stretch the premise? I can see the show going one strong season and maybe a season 2, but what are the plans for after she has the baby and for when she’s perhaps, no longer a virgin? Will the show just outlive it’s title? It seems that audiences have shown, with their lack of patience for will-they/won’t they, that they won’t be content to be strung along to wait for Jane to marry a suitor. So far, I’ve been no reason to not trust the creative team, but the concern is in the back of my mind. (Side note: After writing about Sleepy Hollow’s death above, I’ve realized that Zazz’s death was also “Black Guys Dies First”… ::sigh::)

The Flash

Iris and Barry

You’ve got a lot cut out for you, Iris, if you want us to love you as much as we love your dad. And to ship you with Barry, rather then the SnowBarry love that’s snowballing through Central City.

I love The Flash. I love Joe West, played by the impeccable Jesse L. Martin. He and Barry (Grant Gustin) have amazing father-son chemistry and usually at least once per episode, a scene between them pulls at your heart-strings. Iris (Candice Patton), on the other hand, has a little ways to go. Barry loves her — this is great for black women being presented as the love interest, especially since she’s not a black female stereotype. But is she too tame in the other direction? I don’t want a sassy black girl — been there, done that ad nauseam– but she’s a bit perfect in every way which makes her a little boring. She also never realized that her so-called best friend is in love with her and has super powers — makes her seem a little self-absorbed. Candice is lovely, I like her a lot, but I think her character needs to find her purpose a little more. We don’t want a Laurel situation…

Shondaland: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder

The ladies of Shondaland!

We already know that Shondaland Thursdays has been knocking it out of the park. And we already know that Shonda Rhimes’ shows have always been champions for diversity as well as color-blind casting (both purposely casting people of color as well as not limiting non-specific casting to only white actors). And this season has been no different. Meredith Grey has a black sister (Kelly McCreary) on Grey’s Anatomy (which I no longer watch outside of the 5 minutes before Scandal comes on)! Scandal’s Olivia is trying to get past her romantic hang ups and finally choosing herself — though it looks like someone else wants to choose her too and kidnapped her to have her. Meanwhile, Joe Morton continues to give the best monologues on television while being deliciously evil! And while we’re all here for Viola Davis (and her manipulative ways) and Alfie Enoch (and his perpetual confusion) being our lead actors, surprise audience interest perhaps goes to Oliver (Connor’s bf played by Conrad Ricamora) and Detective Bae (I mean Nate) played by Billy Brown. All three shows have Image Award nominations, while Viola alone will hold down Shondaland at this year’s Golden Globes (though award for best giraffe goes to Alfie) for How to Get Away With Murder. When we return from hiatus, I can only imagine where these shows will go!

black-ish

black-ish cast

Say “hi” to several NAACP Image Awards

In the comedy arena, black-ish has been holding strong, being touted as ABC’s #1 new comedy this season (I think ABCs cancelled most of their other ones already…). It’s already snagged a few NAACP Image Award nominations for Best Comedy, Leading Actor and Actress in a Comedy, as well as some supporting actor and actress noms. The show is quickly finding it’s legs and allowing for more diverse conversations on race to happen on the show — my initial hesitance with it stemmed from a kind of one note portrayal of how black people should be (coming from Anthony Anderson’s character Andre), but I think as Dre learns that his family is still black no matter what they like to do or eat or play, hopefully America learns this lesson too. Shows like this are important in bringing different perspectives into the homes of those who may not (somehow) interact with black people on an even weekly basis. Plus, I am loving Tracee Ellis-Ross and young Marsai Martin is a scene stealer. She’s really going places. Keep a look out for a Black Girl Nerds podcast featuring some of the cast members of this show.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Look at this beautifully diverse cast!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been holding it down on Sundays. I still think it’s a terrible time slot and foolish to split up the comedies on the network, but it’s a great show that has been giving more and more focus to the two Latinas (Amy [Melissa Fumero] and Rosa [Stephanie Beatriz]) and the black men (Terry [Terry Crews] and Captain Holt [Andre Brauer]). Just looking at the cast photo, it’s really wonderful to see that not only does the show realize you can have more than one black person at a time, you can ALSO have more than one Latina person at a time. Very few other shows (outside of Shondaland) realize that. Not that it couldn’t be even better with some Asian, Native American, Indian or Arab representation; but even without, it’s doing much better than a lot of shows even on this list in terms of a wider range of diverse characters. Though it wasn’t nominated this year, I am still incredibly proud of it winning the Golden Globe for best comedy last year. And Andre Brauer has been getting more and more kudos for his hilarity even while playing the incredibly staid character of Captain Holt– he’s even been nominated for an NAACP award this year.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Cristela (Cristela Alonzo) is holding steady with a full season pick up! I haven’t been watching it, but it the few tweets I’ve seen about it say that it’s still pretty funny. Though I suppose your mileage may vary.
  • Fresh Off the Boat hasn’t premiered yet, but it will soon add some Asian representation to the network landscape.
  • Not really a network TV show, but I must say I am getting more and more excited for The Minority Report — I mean The Nightly Show Starring Larry Wilmore. I’m still sad they can’t use the title Minority Report…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX6xoYMNJfw

We Still Have Some Work To Do:

Ted Grant Arrow

Gotta fight for better representation of your fello Latinos, Ted. I mean esse.

In less than stellar representation is Arrow (shame on you, one of my favorite shows this season!), for their portrayal of Latinos in one episode this season and for once again whitewashing R’as al Ghul (though your mileage may vary on whether having a brown person play this character benefits representation).

Sadly, John Cho’s Selfie was cancelled. I didn’t watch it, but the few who have are growing to love it before just as they watch it fall into the cancellation abyss. If you like, go #SaveSeflie over on Hulu! I must say that having an Asian-American get to play a romantic lead is awesome and hopefully Selfie’s downfall won’t stop future shows from casting Cho (or any other Asian actor) as their lead.

I feel like this is how we all look at Katherine Heigl…

State of Affairs was seriously underwhelming when I watched it, even Alfre Woodard (whose character is also named Constance) couldn’t compel me to watch episode 2 and its lukewarm reception leaves me wondering if it will survive its first 100 days on TV (I had to make a presidential joke, had to!).


That’s my TV midseason diversity check-in! I can’t watch everything on TV, so I may have missed some (didn’t a black character bite the dust on Agents of SHIELD? How’s Watson doing on Elementary or Michonne from The Walking Dead?) Some characters are on an upward swing, but others still have work to do. Either way, I am glad to see their faces and hope that there are more and more faces like theirs in seasons to come. The NAACP Image award television nominations had a lot of these actors (Viola, Gina, ), when last season they wouldn’t have had as many options, so there is some slow progress being made. The massive successes of especially How to Get Away With Murder and Jane the Virgin will hopefully finally show studios and networks that you can take a chance on people of color and unique storytelling and people will respond to it.

What other shows have PoC in them and how have they been treated this midseason? 

Flash v Arrow Video Podcast with The Nerds of Color

Replace Barry with Christelle, replace me with Oliver and you have the Nerds of Color’s Flarrow Team!

Looks like podcasting is an official part of my life now. Before last month’s live podcast with Black Girl Nerds and Eric Dean Seaton, I’d never considered being a part of a podcast before. How would I even get involved? But one thing led to another and here I am doing a second podcast/show with at least two more slated for January! I seem to be on a roll!

On this show, for The Nerds of Color‘s weekly “Hard NOC Life” series (great title, right?), I get to virtually meet some of my fellow writers and fans over at the Nerds of Color and we talk about this week’s amazingly epic crossover between The Flash and Arrow, definitely two of my favorite shows this season. I’ve been writing recaps for these two shows for the last few weeks (barring the weeks when my TV broke, where Christelle and Keith took over), so it was great to verbally talk about the show in a cool format with other cool and level-headed fans who are equally passionate about the shows.

So if you want to see me talk about The Flash and Arrow, their trajectories this season, where I think they’re going and other nerd/TV things, watch below!

Or click through here: Flash v Arrow: Dawn of Just Awesomeness | thenerdsofcolor.

Podcasts are kinda fun! And my co-hosts were very easy to talk to, Keith had to cut our 2 hour conversation down to the hour and nine minutes presented before you! I’m glad to be getting more opportunities to meet new people and express my opinions. Maybe I have a future in TV criticism!

NOC Recaps Arrow 3.08: A League of Their Own

*Mad props to my awesome Flarrow tag-team buddy Christelle for the subtitle. We are Flarrow. She’s The Flash, I’m Arrow and together we bring you these recaps. It’s our superpower.

The first thing I thought of when preparing for the Arrow portion of the crossover was how would they Flashify the title card? Instead of the arrowhead, we got a beautiful lightning bolt.

And so begins the Flash team’s adventure in Starling City! We’ve actually seen all of these characters here before. Barry, obviously in his debut last season, as well as Cisco and Caitlin when they briefly helped Felicity on a case also last season. But it’s our first time seeing them all together like this and It. Was. AMAZING!

[Read the actual recap: NOC RECAPS ARROW: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN]

Phew! We did it! We survived the crossover and it was as awesome and epic (if not more so) than we could have dreamed or anticipated! Hopefully we get one at least once a season now (probably on the 8s) and some mini crossovers. Because while we may be getting a big budget Justice League movie, these boys have a league of their own right here on the small screen. (With what some say is better writing, action, and special effects than even the big movies have. Your mileage may vary, but I certainly enjoyed the last two episodes as much as I would a cinematic venture.)

I love writing about Arrow and can’t wait for the Fall finale next week that will certainly drive all us fans bananas with excitement and post ep-theories as to what will happen after hiatus.

Let’s chat about The Flash/Arrow. I can talk about them for hours.

NOC Recaps Arrow: A League of Their Own | thenerdsofcolor.

Flash vs Arrow: Two Different Hero’s Journeys | The Nerds of Color

Flash vs Arrow (Heroes Journey)

Click through to read the post I wrote on The Nerds of Color to celebrate the Flash/Arrow crossover happening this week. I love both of these shows and can write/talk about them for hours. I decided to delve into Barry Allen and Oliver Queen as heroes with different journeys. These differences will set them apart as they come in contact with one another, but eventually will unite them as a strong duo.

Oliver and Barry have very different hero’s journeys to make. One is about choosing to be a hero, the other is learning how to be hero. One is brave (def n: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage). I believe this to be Oliver. He is prepared (both mentally and experience-wise) to face whatever dangers and has definitely endured a lot of pain in order to save those he needs to. The other is bold (def n: showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous). This is Barry, he’s more about confidently taking the risk, regardless of if it’s the smart thing to do or not. Both words have slightly different definitions, but at their core mean the same thing, just like our two heroes have different methods, but at their core are just that: heroes.

These fundamental differences are what makes me so excited for this crossover. They may get in the way in the first part, divide them and put them at odds with one another, but with a combination of these personalities, a “two heads (teams) are better than one” mentality, they should be able to defeat any enemy that comes their way.  They will go from meeting as rivals in “Flash vs Arrow” to working in conjunction in “The Brave and the Bold.”

I am so excited for this crossover and can’t wait to discuss it to bits on the internet. Read more of my character analysis over at The Nerds of Color: Flash vs Arrow: Two Different Hero’s Journeys

NOC Recaps The Flash 1.06: Explosive Friendships | thenerdsofcolor

Check out my Flash recap over on The Nerds of Color. The Iris story line about being a blogger hit many of us real close to home… lol

Iris’ little blogger heart falls for the streak a little bit more and continues to write about it online. Joe, continuing to want Iris to stay ignorant to Barry’s little secret, makes Barry tell her to quit it. But their argument over her stubbornness and his lack of support for her makes her all the more resolved to write. Her next blog post on the Flash features her name on the byline. She’s serious about this.

Hmm too real? LOL

Also, post writing this recap, I learned that one of the shipper names for Iris/Barry is “Running West,” which I love and will use from now on. Thanks, tumblr!

Check out the rest here: NOC Recaps The Flash: Explosive Friendships | thenerdsofcolor.