Until recently, TV has been about as diverse as a Klan rally. Things are changing, though, as shows like Empire, Orange Is the New Black, and Black-ish have proven that diverse casts and great writing can garner robust ratings. If you’re like us and don’t want to see the same old whitewashed BS, now is a great time to turn on your TV. When you do, check out these shows that are telling great stories with talented, diverse casts.
Orange Is the New Black
The latest season of Orange Is the New Black consumed binge-watchers everywhere when it was released on Netflix on June 12. Not only does this show have one of the most ethnically diverse casts on television, it also deals with aspects of body and gender diversity.
This hip-hop drama starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard rules Wednesday nights on FOX and on Twitter. In its freshman season, Empire broke a 23-year-old record for an increase in viewership during the first five episodes. The second season of Empire is set to premiere on September 23.
Produced by 50 Cent and set in NYC, Starz’s Power boasts a multiethnic and multilingual cast that is almost perfectly reflective of the diversity of NYC (even if its drug dealing characters break all of the 10 Crack Commandments). Currently, Power is one of a handful of shows on television with a primarily African-American cast.
Now in its 11th season, this Shondaland classic is known for its diverse cast of doctors, which is due to the use of color-blind casting. When the characters are written, none of them are pegged to a “specific race,” which allows for a more diverse cast.
Starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish is a sitcom about a successful African-American father trying to make sure that his children don’t forget their blackness in the midst of living in a predominantly white neighborhood.
Fresh off the BoatABC
This show, based on the life of celebrity chef Eddie Huang, is the first Asian-American sitcom to show on network television in more than 20 years. The last was All-American Girl (1994), which starred comedian Margaret Cho. Hollywood shows so little love to Asian people that by comparison it looks like it’s giving black people a warm, welcoming hug.
How to Get Away with MurderABC
The newest addition to ABC’s #TGIT lineup, How to Get Away with Murder stars African-American actress Viola Davis, who plays Annalise Keating, a law professor who teaches a course called “How to Get Away with Murder.” Annalise hires a group of her top-performing (and diversely casted) students to work alongside her at her law firm, where she really teaches them how to get away with murder.
The FostersABC Family
ABC Family’s The Fosters is a drama about a multi-ethnic family being raised by two moms. The two mothers, Stef (Terri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum), deal with the issues that surround them as women, lesbians, a multi-racial couple, working parents, and partners.
Becoming UsABC Family
Diversity doesn’t always have to do with ethnicity. This groundbreaking documentary from ABC Family and Executive Producer Ryan Seacrest is one of the only shows on television that features a transgender woman as one of its main characters. It’ll soon be joined by E!’s I am Cait, which premieres on Sunday, July 26.
This new mini-series from Spike TV has been praised for its use of an ethnically diverse cast. Cast members such as Ben Kingsley (Ay) and Avan Jogia (Tut) have roots in India. Others, such as Kylie Bunbury (Suhad) and Nonso Anozie (General Horemheb), have roots in the African diaspora.
Girl Code’s cast of comedians is perhaps as ethnically diverse as is the cast of Orange Is the New Black. While not all comedians get the same amount of air time as the others, the cast members are white, black, Asian, Latino, and multi-ethnic. The more POVs you can come at jokes from, the better.
Key and PeeleComedy Central/Jamey Welch
Although the two titular comedians are black and the sketch show has an ethnically diverse cast, the term diversity isn’t usually associated with Comedy Central’s Key and Peele. Probably because people are too busy laughing, so they’re no longer paying attention to the skin color of the actors or wondering if the show will be the next Chappelle’s Show.