TV Diversity – Yay or Nay? Part 3

Here it is: Part Three of Suzanne Chan’s four-part analysis of diversity, or the lack of it, on our television screens. Dig in:


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by Suzanne Chan

This is part three of a four-part series about television shows that I recently fell in love with for their premise, overall writing, and visual style. Two are to be celebrated for their diversity. Two could do better.

Part 1 was about the diverse world portrayed in The 100. Part 2 was about The Flash, a show that displays great racial diversity, yet terribly sexist attitudes to female characters.

This week, I look at The Good Wife, a brainy, engaging show about a feminist, atheist heroine that is unexpectedly wrong-footed on issues of race.

When CBS first announced a new series called The Good Wife, the premise interested me. It sounded like a “what-if” story inspired by women like Hillary Clinton and Silda Wall Spitzer: independent-minded, liberal women who helped their husbands obtain high stations in public office, only to have their lives upended when the men were exposed as philanderers. It sounded like just the show to scratch my West Wing itch.

Due to scheduling conflicts, I missed the first five seasons of The Good Wife. During this time my nerdy, comics-loving friends heaped praise on the show.

When I finally caught up on the show last fall, as its sixth season was airing, I fell for it head over heels. Far from the leisurely few months I thought it would take, I binged the series in a few weeks.


I could relate to the feminist, atheist protagonist, Alicia Florick, and I loved the show’s ability to dramatize 21st century crimes: cases that relied on fairly thorough explorations of concepts such as intellectual property, bioethics, and conflicting rights.

Read it all at Sequential Tart

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

One thought on “TV Diversity – Yay or Nay? Part 3”

  1. You can scream bloody murder about diversity all you want, but if an audience won’t watch it, it’s not going to do anyone any good.

    No matter what people are supposed to think and do in the age of political correctness, they’re only actually going to think and do what they really want to.

    So if you put together a big movie or TV series that fits all the checkmark boxes for diversity, but no one wants to watch it, what have you accomplished?

    When you corner someone in an interview or on the news or in some public forum, they are required to give all sorts of lip service to every politically correct cause or issue. But when they’re in the privacy of their own home with their Netflix and their iPad, they’re going to choose what they like and what they’re comfortable with.

    There’s no reason that can’t be diverse, but if you try to cram something down someone’s throat just for the sake of doing that, you’re going to lose every time. And then you’re just going to scream louder and louder and louder.

    I don’t like “How to Get Away with Murder.” Not because Viola Davis is black, but because I don’t like the show. I don’t think it’s any good. A lot of people do. And they watch it. I watch other things.

    There’s a great character on “Dr. Who” who is black (and died, unfortunately — but we’re waiting with bated breath to see if he comes back to life somehow).

    I don’t watch the show because he’s black or white or whatever, I watch because over the past few years it’s been incredible writing and acting. I don’t even notice this guy’s black, he’s just a great character with a great role in a great overall story (I’m not big into the sci-fi parts of it, but the storytelling itself is incredible).

    A few weeks ago there was an article about how Hollywood wasn’t hiring enough women as TV directors, and how it was way out of proportion with the percentage of women in the workforce. But it didn’t take into account that maybe that same percentage of women who are also trained and qualified to be TV directors doesn’t even exist.

    But I’ll tell you one thing: the commenters below the article sure did pick up on that issue, and they had it out with the author of the article who was, of course, long gone by then.

    So maybe some programs could be set up to attract women into that career path, but would they show up in the same numbers as in other careers? And even if they did, would they be any good as directors (as people in general, not specifically as women)?

    People are going to do what they’re going to do. Everyone is equal as a human, but everyone is certainly not equal in terms of their skills and education and experience and connections and likes and dislikes and on and on.

    So make your diverse programming. But first make it great storytelling, and great programming. That will get your audience, whether it’s black or white or Hispanic or Asian or male or female or green or purple.

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