The brainchild of series creator, writer and star Quinta Brunson, "Abbott Elementary" deftly walks that fine line between delivering big laughs while taking an unflinching look at the troubled state of the American public school system.
Created by Lena Waithe, this coming-of-age drama follows the lives of a group of disparate people living in Chicago's South Side, depicting the harsh realities of life within one of America's most segregated neighborhoods.
'When They See Us'
Originally aired in 2019, this Netflix miniseries from Ava DuVernay provides a powerful dramatization of one of most shameful chapters in American legal history, when a group of Black teenagers in New York City were wrongfully convicted for a heinous crime they didn't commit, spending years behind bars before they were ultimately exonerated.
'The Underground Railroad'
Magical realism is utilized to amazing effect in this adaptation of the acclaimed novel from "Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins, following a young female slave's daring escape via the Underground Railroad — which isn't a metaphor, but an actual subterranean railway.
Inspired by the actual life story of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, "Swagger" follows a young basketball prodigy whose talent has placed him on a path to the NBA, which is also a treacherous maze full of temptation and pressure.
'A Black Lady Sketch Show'
Comedian Robin Thede has assembled a top-tier crew of hilarious Black women — including Issa Rae, Gabrielle Dennis, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson and Laci Mosley — for hilarious comedy sketches from a distinctly Black female point of view.
'She's Gotta Have It'
Spike Lee launched his career with his 1986 indie "She's Gotta Have It", and brilliantly reboots the premise more than three decades later in this Netflix series following the love life of a woman who can't — or won't — choose between the three men in her life.
Starring Omari Hardwick as James "Ghost" St. Patrick, "Power" tells the almost Shakespearean tale of Ghost's quest to transform from drug kingpin to New York politics.
Produced by 50 Cent, the series proved so successful that it's spawned three spin-offs — and counting.
'The Godfather Of Harlem'
Based on a true story, this gritty gangster drama focuses on Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson (played by Forest Whitaker), who returns to his neighborhood after 10 years in prison and retakes the streets from the Italian mob, forming a key alliance with a local Muslim minister named Malcolm X.
Photo: Matt Sayles/The CW -- (C) 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Producer/director Ava DuVernay ("When They See Us") behind this DC Comics-derived series about a teenage girl (Kaci Walfall) who finds herself dealing with the sudden onset of mysterious superpowers.
'I Will Destroy You'
Following the acclaim of her comedy "Chewing Gum". Michaela Coel got far more serious in this dark drama about how the course of a famous young author's life is changed after her drink is spiked during a celebratory night.
'That Damn Michael Che'
Best known as one half of the "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update team alongside Colin Jost, Michael Che stepped out on his own for this bitingly satirical sketch comedy series that placed issues surrounding race to the forefront.
'The Last OG'
Tracy Morgan has never been better than in this comedy (co-created by Jordan Peele) in which he plays Tray, who's just spent 15 years behind bars, and returns to his Brooklyn neighboruhood — only to discover an unfamiliar landscape of bearded hipsters and overpriced coffee shops now that his old stomping ground has experienced gentrification. As he makes his way through his strange new reality, Tray comes to the grips that he too must learn to move on and change, as difficult as that may seem.
Having just wrapped its fifth and final season, this sharp, award-winning comedy created by and starring Issa Rae follows the complicated lives of her character, Issa Dee, and best friend Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji) and their various relationships.
While a much-hyped reboot apparently won't be happening, it's worth revisiting this animated series based on Aaron McGruder's comic strip. Regina King heads the voice cast, portraying squabbling siblings Huey, a 10-year-old revolutionary, and Riley, an 8-year-old with the soul of a rapper, who adjust to living in the suburbs with their cantankerous grandfather (voiced by the late John Witherspoon) after growing up in urban Chicago.
'Dear White People'
Issues of race are brought to the forefront in this smart comedy set in on the campus of a historically Black university.
Set in Los Angeles during the early 1980s, "Snowfall" follows the inter-related stories of several characters caught up in epidemic of crime when crack flooded the streets and left a major impact on the city.
Created by "Get Out" director Jordan Peele, "Lovecraft Country" — which aired for just a single season — deftly blended social commentary and monstrous horror in the story of a young Black man (Jonathan Majors) who travels throughout the segregated American South during the 1950s United States in search of his missing father, discovering the horrific secrets hidden within a town where famed horror writer H. P. Lovecraft based his tales of terror.
Photo: Matthias Clamer/FX
The brainchild of series creator/star Donald Glover, this acclaimed dramedy centres on college dropout and wannabe music manager Earnest "Earn" Marks (Glover) and up-and-coming rapper Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) as they navigate the Atlanta rap scene, with a standout cast that also includes Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz. The long-awaited third season will be arriving this spring.
Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Daniel Ezra stars as a talented high school football player whose skills on the field land him a scholarship at a posh Beverly Hills school, leading him to feel out of place among his old friends and among the wealthy students at his new school.
Few television sitcoms have experienced the kind of critical acclaim as "Black-ish", which bows out this year after eight groundbreaking seasons bolstered by the talent and chemistry of series leads Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Spawned from "Black-ish," "Grown-ish" is that rare spin-off that manages to maintain the quality of the original while branching into completely different territory, following the college journey of eldest Johnson daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi).