We’re now officially in the month of September and you’ve probably already heard premature Earth Wind & Fire jokes (since the lyric is “...21st night of September”), but looking at the bright side (we need to!), it’s never a bad time for an EWF jam. Speaking of the bright side, let’s get into these trailers...
Oh, by the way, I know these usually come out on Friday, but 2020 is full of unexpected shenanigans! OK, now let’s get to these trailers...
First Impressions: Keke Palmer is on fire! In yet another hosting gig, Keke joins Joel Kim Booster to coordinate 30 blind dates for the contestant (matched via social media) until one person is “singled out” (i.e. chosen). From the press release, this show is very gender and sexual-orientation inclusive. I still want to know why I don’t know anyone in real life who watches Quibi, though!
First Impressions: Another Quibi joint! Look, one thing you can say about this channel is that it is never starving for content. Anywho, I actually remember watching Shan Boodram’s sketch comedy videos on YouTube back in the day. Nowadays, she’s a sex-positive sexologist and will be tackling topics such as having sex during quarantine, foot fetishes and the ideal penis size. Much like the previous show I just covered, this one seems to be all about the inclusiveness and fluidity when it comes to representation.
First Impressions: In an anticipated episode of NYT’s series of standalone documentaries, director and producer Yoruba Richen and New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi partner to explore Breonna Taylor’s life and investigate the details of her killing. The episode features an exclusive interview with Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker as well as exclusive audio, documents and video from the scene. Whew.
First Impressions: Common is pretty damn zen and now he’s taking his fans along for the calm and relaxing ride. On this new series hosted on his official YouTube channel, Common will highlight at-home workouts, cooking demos, and conversations with people with a mission toward living a better life. We wonder if Tiffany Haddish will pop up, as it has been confirmed the two are officially dating (either to add a balance of exciting energy or to see her chill out with him).
First Impressions: Directed by Sophia Nahli Allison, this short 15-minute documentary explores the life of Latasha Harlins...specifically, what it could have been. Harlins murdered by a convenience store owner in 1991 at the age of 15, which was a catalyst for the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Unfortunately, we’re experiencing a similar cycle right now, and this tribute looks to be not only relevant but beautiful. I’m looking forward to it.
Pandemic in Seattle (WORLD Channel; Replay Dates: Check Local Listings)
First Impressions: Executive produced by Soledad O’Brien and directed by filmmaker Rose Arce, this one is also extremely relevant. This special will focus on some of the hardest hit by the global pandemic in the city of Seattle—the homeless and the elderly. On the premiere day, WORLD Channel (previously known as PBS World) will host an exclusive interview with O’Brien on its official YouTube channel.
First Impressions: So, I was tipped off to this one when I spotted a random tweet filled with indirect incredulity that this was even happening. Yes, this is Kamal “Chance” Givens from the I Love New York / Real Chance of Love reality franchises and he’s...back trying to find love again in 2020 on a TV show. This is executive produced by Jackie Long, Ray J and Princess Love—of course, it damn is! LOL, a mess.
First Impressions: Aside from the sheer confusion upon learning that contestants don’t even get to keep the food after doing all of that damn work for it (which is probably for the best because I also learned the food is often expired, ew. Anyway, they can wipe their tears with the cash prize alone) when I realized Leslie Jones would be hosting this wacky show, I knew it couldn’t have been more perfect casting. No one can match the energy of this chaotic show the way Jones and her screams can.
First Impressions: The trailer kicks off with an effective saxophone rendition of the national anthem during a protest as we watch the titular Grand Army...teens who frequent the largest public high school in Brooklyn and simply want to be heard. There is a bit of controversy swirling, however, after one of the former writers spoke out about an alleged toxic work environment during the production of this show for three writers of color, who all quit. We (and other outlets) reached out to the writer about this for future reporting, so we’ll see what transpires.
First Impressions: Blumhouse (the folks behind Get Out and more) has a whole film series coming, with titles including Black Box (Oct. 6), The Lie (Oct. 6), Evil Eye (Oct. 13) and Nocturne (Oct. 13). Holy shit is that Phylicia Rashad giving us creepy vibes?! Oooh yes, sign me up. Black Box and The Lie look especially intriguing to me, according to the descriptions (all in the description box of the above YouTube video).
First Impressions: Based on a true story, A Chance in this World follows Steve Pemberton, a gifted orphaned boy who fights to overcome the abuse of his foster parents (Kelly Owens and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs) while searching for his biological family, and finds hope in his white teacher, played by Tom Sizemore. I’m hoping this is less “white savior” and more celebration of a gifted Black child, but this trailer seems to say otherwise.
First Impressions: We’ve already witnessed the controversies surrounding one documentary based on an alleged aspect of Michael Jackson’s life, and this Bounce documentary is looking to unpack one of the greatest mysteries surrounding his death. This doc features interviews with detectives Orlando Martinez, Dan Myers and Scott Smith, who were all involved in the arrest of Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray.
Also, as a special bonus (since I didn’t drop this on Friday as originally intended), here are some links to Black-owned independent streaming platform kweliTV’s September 2020 content, which includes a story based on 2nd Law of the Universe / The Principle of Correspondence (As Above); a Afro-Punk love story (Dreamstates); a homecoming story of a native Guadelupean woman (Elza); some edu-tainment for the kids (Hesat & Hapi Cartoon Series); a doc chronicling the longtime feud between Philadelphia and the group MOVE (Let the Fire Burn); a Craigslist meets social media-era love story starring Angelica Ross (Missed Connections); a filmmaker’s search to find the descendants of the ancestor who built the Panama Canal (Panama Dreams); a fantasy film exploring grief (Silvia in the Waves); a film about three working class Detroit men that explores mass inequality (Street Fighting Men); a neorealist crime drama set in post-colonial Ghana (The Destiny of Lesser Animals); and a film exploring the cultural differences of a rural Lincolnshire-based teen and London-based mother (The Last Tree).
See y’all Friday, Lord willing and the 2020 creek don’t rise...