By: Robert Akeem Mays
Remember when Cedric the Entertainer had the skit “What is we gon’ do”? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but that is exactly how I felt when I learned the BEST show on television was cancelled. There has never been a show like Underground. They portrayed “Black Folk”, African descendants who were enslaved (not slaves) and yet still had power, agency, and narrative. They showed them resisting, and revolting against their oppressors, white people. They showed them not just trying to survive but trying to reach something else beyond what they could conceive. I appreciate the brilliance that brought this imagery to fruition. But now, its cancelled. And I am feeling some-type-of-way. Here are my points:
1) It should have never been on WGN in the first place. Yes it brought millions of viewers to the channel and thus when new people acquired the station, they wasn’t feeling it and that was it. It honestly needed to be on HBO, STARS, something where it would have the budget and the viewership to recoup the cost.
2) I’m glad OWN or BET did not pick it up. I love Aunt O. I love Queen Sugar and Greenleaf. But Underground does not fit into her programming. I mean do you really want to see commercials for The Haves and Have Nots, while waiting to see how Noah killed and burned down a plantation? And she will lose money. BET…no. Just no. They destroyed The Game and Mary Jane is still the same (aye that rhymes). No. No. No.
3) Season 2 was not like Season 1. I LOVE UNDERGROUND. But the season really did not go to where it needed to go until episode 5. That’s too long for a show that only has 10-12 episodes per season. I needed more backstory, and I wanted to see the narrative of the people who escaped, the thoughts of those who were left in bondage and suffered the repercussions. I wanted to see more of the narrative from the Black folks both freed and enslaved.
4) And lastly, Hey Netflix, I’m in your city for the weekend…what’s up?