It’s been a minute. Ok, it’s been more than a minute because I have so many other commitments to attend to before doing anything here. Luckily I’ve been able to watch a number of things, including ANDOR, with Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Narcos: Mexico) returning to reprise his role as Cassian Andor (Rogue One). I don’t need to go into it but if you’re a Star Wars fan, hell yes(!) So without further ado, another Binge Theory 101.
Harlem, the word, the neighborhood, quickly takes one’s imagination to what it’s seen in film while for others it brings to mind a cultural hub of humanity in NYC. This one though is about four friends, four individuals, Four ambitious best friends, that share a friendship that’s stood the test of time. In its second season, Harlem (Amazon Prime) continues to focus on the journey of the lead characters, Camille (Meagan Good), Tye (Jerrie Johnson), Quinn (Grace Byers), and Angie (Shoniqua Shandai), as they maneuver through highs and lows of their carriers and love lives.
It seems for its second season, the show focuses a bit more on its supporting cast as well, the most recognizable being Jasmine Guy reprising her role as Patricia Joseph, Quinn’s overbearing mother as well as bringing back Tyler Lepley playing Ian, Camille’s true love. There are twists and turns that expand the show’s reach with Quinn’s consistent search for love moving into uncharted territory and asking Tye for help, expanding into the LGBTQ+ community. Also thrown into the mix is Rachel True (The Craft, Half Baked) who plays the florist/shopkeeper who plays an integral part in Tye’s character development. The twist there is far more intriguing than you might think. Every group of friends needs that one person that always struggles to find their footing, and that would be Angie, the struggling actress who’s always seemed deeply promiscuous although now, has she finally found love?
Meagan Good is probably the most recognizable out of the four characters and does a great job as Camille, who continues to second guess her love life, maneuvering halfway to a three-way while having her own professional life falling into all the right places. She gets support from her colleague and mentor D. Elise Pruitt played by Whoopi Goldberg, while also introducing Joie Lee (Mo’ Better Blues) portraying her mother. This second season leaves a lot of questions unanswered, leaving room for a season 3 which I hope moves into production quickly. Multiple cliffhangers are left but no one should mind it because they were done tastefully.
The past is a thing many people wish was left exactly where it is but many more of us understand that if we don’t learn from it, we’re destined to repeat the mistakes that were made. The English (Amazon Prime/BBC) seems to be a limited miniseries starring British actress Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) who plays Lady Cornelia Locke and circles around her visit to the United States with one goal in mind: to kill the man responsible for the death of her son. From the onset, Locke’s life is thrusted into chaos, and meets Sgt. Eli Whipp / Wounded Wolf, a Pawnee Nation native portrayed by Chaske Spencer (The Twilight Saga).
Through this revisionist western, we have two individuals coming from completely different worlds, finding comfort in one another as their respective journeys find odd similarities between them. The bond becomes strong enough so that neither one is willing to give up on the other as they each face their own harsh circumstances and consistently come to one another’s rescue.
The English plays off like a pseudo spaghetti western, but with better dialogue as well as an assortment of greater effects for the time period piece. The melancholic feel moves in a much darker direction as the show progresses as well. It’s also undercut by the love between its two culturally diverse characters and Whipp’s native background is never compromised. The plot twists in a way that doesn’t keep you guessing but will leave you surprised through this pulsating drama.
Delroy Lindo. Kerry Washington. Marque Richardson. Are you intrigued? If you thought “no,” you can just go ahead and skip this but if you responded “yes,” well, this might be for you. In the new show Unprisoned (Hulu) we find Edwin Alexander, a career criminal, played by Delroy Lindo (Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Get Shorty), who is released from prison after another stay locked away for years. This time though, it’s the last time and he’s never going back. It’s the same story ex-cons usually tell themselves without thinking of recidivism. Throughout the series, his continuous attempts to change his ways always seem to get thwarted because well, life always has other plans. Now a successful therapist with an online presence, his daughter Paige, played by Kerry Washington (Scandal, I Think I Love My Wife) is hesitant to accept what she believes to be empty promises of change. Paige’s character is filled with complexities, an emotionally fractured single mother who grew up in foster care.
From the beginning, the walls Paige attempts to put up are immediately torn down when Edwin meets Faly Rakotohavana’s character Finn, his multi-racial grandson. The two bond quickly, something Paige attempted to avoid. Paige’s life as mentioned is complex. When Mal comes into the picture, portrayed by Marque Richardson (Dear White People, Step Sisters) things change almost immediately for Paige as she feels an attraction towards him. But Mal is also Edwin’s parole officer who breaks his own rule about getting involved with the family of one of his parolees. Edwin also makes it clear that Mal is the first black man she’s ever dated, and it’s clear it’s something else Paige has to navigate through.
There’s an assortment of supporting characters that play a role in Paige’s life like her foster sister Esti Nelson (Jee Young Han), Edwin’s old on/off flame Nadine Gregory (Brenda Strong), Bill (Tim Daly) who plays her married ex-boyfriend. But none are more important than Little Paige, played by Jordyn McIntosh. Paige would have constant conversations with herself, Little Paige, the lost little girl who wants nothing more than normalcy and the love of her father, without broken promises.
Unprisoned is funny and heartwarming, showing the intricacies of life after prison, as well as the damage family, can cause throughout the lifetime of an individual. One can only hope there will be another season.