Michelle Buckley

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Heights & K-Ville

I don't watch a lot of tv, but when I do, I like for my time in front of the boob tube to count. I like tv shows that matter and there are a couple of good ones (K-Ville and Lincoln Heights) on the air this season that I want to call attention to. Not only are they good quality shows but they do a lot to project blacks in a positive light who are struggling to do right for themselves, their families and their communities. I hope these two shows get great ratings and reviews so that they will be on the air for a long time to come.
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The first show I want to draw attention to is K-VILLE. The show's premiere episode aired last night and it will be rebroadcasted tonight on Fox at 8pm CST. For those that don't know, the show focuses on a gumbo-and-jazz-loving New Orleans cop (Anthony Anderson) as he and those around him deal with the aftermath of Katrina. Abandoned by his original NOPD partner, Anderson struggles to build a relationship with a new partner as he comes to terms with how much his beloved Ninth Ward has changed.

This is a well-done show and I anticipate over the season that K-VILLE will have many touching episodes that deal with the struggles of life today in N.O., post Katrina and how life as one knows it can change virtually overnight. The setting is ripe for plots that will make those of us not from NOLA stop and think, and help us not forget the city.

I'm blogging about K-VILLE because I was listening to Day to Day on NPR yesterday and the show's creator, Jonathan Lisco, as well as the person that scouts sites for the show were interviewed.

First off, I was impressed with the things they had to say. The production staff seems very determined to make this show as authentic to New Orleans as possible. Secondly, I like the fact that the show is shot on location in NOLA, bringing jobs and hope back to the city. The powers-that-be behind the show could easily do exterior shots in New Orleans and then shoot somewhere else, like say on a Los Angeles soundstage, but they instead are employing lots of local folks and are infusing much-needed cash ($13-$17 million a season) into the community. Thirdly, I like the fact that many on the staff and crew are helping to rebuild the city by working with Habitat for Humanity on their days off.

For those reasons, K-VILLE gets props and my commitment to watch it -- with hopes that it becomes a ratings success.

One enthusiastic watcher from N.O. said it best: "I gotta tell ya when my family and I watched it at home I not only enjoyed seeing New Orleans as the backdrop, recognizing the places I pass each day, but I got it. They are here. They are filming a show here in New Orleans. That in itself is huge. I really think we should give it a chance. Our economy needs this. Let's rally behind K-Ville and make it America's show."

Check out this article about K-VILLE in the New Orleans Times Picayune.


The other show I want to highlight is the ABC Family Channel's LINCOLN HEIGHTS which airs on Tuesdays at 7pm CST. (see promo clip above). The episode that airs tonight (9/18) was written by the sister of a friend of mine. LINCOLN HEIGHTS is the only African-American drama currently on television.

The show stars Russell Hornsby as Eddie Sutton, a police officer that moves his family to an inner city area called Lincoln Heights as part of the officer next door program. Nicki Micheaux stars as Jenn Sutton, the understanding wife and mother. In the first season, the family faced the challenges of coping with their new neighborhood, new school, and new roles in the community. For season two, Eddie comes home after being injured in the line of duty, but continues to be a pioneer in reclaiming his old neighborhood. One of the main story lines of the show is the interracial relationship between Eddie's teenage daughter Cassie and her young white suitor, Charles.

The show is brought to you by executive producer, Kathleen McGhee Anderson, the executive producer and same creative force behind the beloved SOUL FOOD tv series. Just a week before shooting began without a script, McGhee Anderson took over the reins of LINCOLN HEIGHTS and has turned it into a great, quality show.

Here's an article that offers behind-the-scenes insight to the show. In Hollywood, the misconception is that a family drama with an African American lead or central figure would be unsuccessful. That has been the myth that has pervaded for too long. Storylines that are told from an African American point of view have resonance and are valid as American stories that can reach an audience that is underserved and a mainstream audience that is interested in and can identify with these stories. LINCOLN HEIGHTS has a lofty, idealistic, meaningful storyline. This is about a microcosm of all of America: Can our country survive? Can our people be safe? Are we going to be safe as a culture? How can we make our society a better place?

Here's a link to Lincoln Heights. I love the way they are promoting this online. It's very cool and creative and as an author, it has me thinking of out-of-the-box things I can do to promote my books! Make sure you check out bonus features on the site like access to Cassie's desktop, journal, emails, phone messages and sketchbook (there is some great artwork there!)

I'm in for both of these shows, how 'bout you? If you've seen either Lincoln Heights or K-Ville, please take a moment to leave your thoughts. Blessings & Happy viewing!


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