The Chi (2018)
Created by the talented actress, screenwriter, and producer Lena Waithe (Master of None), and produced by Common, The Chi is about life on the southside of Chicago. In the beginning of the first episode we see a traumatic event take place, which leads to a series of intertwining storylines and reveals through the season how the characters are all connected. From the innocent school aged children, the young working adults, the parents struggling to get by, and the gangsters controlling the streets, this inner-city gritty drama has many layers. With all the twists and turns I can guarantee you’ll be counting down the days until the next episode. Luckily, the first season just ended so you can watch it all now.
Stream season 1 on Showtime.
Seven Seconds (2018)
Set in Jersey City, Seven Seconds tells the story of police corruption, cover-ups, racial tension, and social injustice. When an African American teen is killed by a white police officer, we’ll see the lines that those involved will cross, and watch a tireless district attorney (Clare-Hope Ashitey), and a dedicated detective (Michael Mosley) pursue the case and try to put the bad guys away. As I was watching I couldn’t help but think of all the real-life cases that are similar to this storyline. Released on Netflix, which you’ll truly appreciate since you can binge-watch this series in a weekend.
Stream on Netflix.
Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G (2018)
Directed by Anthony Hemingway (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,) this is the story of two of hip hop's biggest icons: Tupac and Biggie, and their untimely deaths. Both were young, rich, talented, and famous; both gunned down when they were in their prime. Over 20 years have gone by and we still don’t know who killed them, and if the murders were connected. There are a lot of suspects that have been “eliminated” over the years. Was the LAPD involved? What about Sean Puffy Combs, or Suge Knight? This limited-series covers the high profile cases in two-parts. First, is the original investigation, led by LAPD detective Russell Poole (Jimmi Simpson). After the murders go unsolved for 10 years, detective Greg Kading (Josh Duhamel) is given the assignment to create a task force and reopen the investigations.
Watch on USA (Tuesdays at 10pm.)
The SMILF (2017)
Created, written, and starring Frankie Shaw, Smilf is a sharp contrast of what shows like 16 and Pregnant portray. Taking place in Southie Boston, we see a single mother struggle financially. We see the tensions arise between her and her own mother (Rosie O’Donnell), and watch her struggle with body and food related issues...all the while trying to make something of her life. It’s clear that Frankie loves her son played by the adorable Anna and Alexandra Reimer, but with limited resources her parenting skills are a little out there.
Stream season 1 on Showtime.
Intervention: The Town (2018)
A docuseries that chronicles the lives of those addicted to drugs and alcohol, where usually at the end of each episode the addict is given the opportunity to get help, aka go to rehab. This past season was different though. A&Es interventionists travel to an affluent suburb in Atlanta, known as “The Heroin Triangle” and for 90 days the docuseries features the intertwining lives of a group of addicts, and their families. Each episode focuses on more than one subject and after they’ve accepted (or denied treatment), we get updates throughout the season on how their lives are going. With what’s going on with the opiate crisis, this is a must-watch (especially for teens), and definitely an eye-opener.
Stream on A&E.