DAR TV: 10 Of The Most Underrated Black TV Shows

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Black television is something we discuss often, and we've discussed black sitcoms to a lesser degree here on the site. While we've given solo articles to the hugely and widely appreciated like Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Fresh Prince, there's a number of shows that tend to be slept on. Today, I wanted to give a list of the most slept on black shows and some that deserve much more recognition than they received. Let's get into it.

*Living Single 
(5 Seasons, 118 Episodes)

-I wasn't the hugest fan of this show growing up, as I felt it appealed slightly more to women than men (which was the point). It was centered around 4 women who were either related or very close friends living in New York, just trying to make it. Queen Latifah in the starring role worked very well, as she managed to bring a sense of realism to the show amidst the crazy Sinclair James played by Kim Coles, the hilarious Regine Carter played by Kim Fields, and Erika Alexander's turn as the utterly ridiculous yet also hilarious Maxine Shaw. The ladies kept me laughing for the most part and as I've gotten older, I've been able to appreciate the show much more. This is always an enjoyable watch and even the guys on the show, Overton Wakefield Jones and Kyle Barker are comedy fodder throughout the seasons.

(8 Seasons, 172 Episodes)

-Another female driven show, but this was also enjoyable for the most part. I think the reason it might be underrated is because the show was on UPN and a number of shows that came from that network have a stigma around them. Regardless, the foursome of Joan, Lynn, Toni, and Maya with William beside them made for some hilarious moments, some serious stories, and just a window into how four completely different women could be friends. While the realism of the show is a bit shaky at times, the women and their emotional complexities are very real, and that's the most realistic aspect we see on the show. The stories aren't necessarily as realistic, and even some character changes aren't, but that doesn't take away from the show at all. It was very enjoyable.

*The Parent'Hood 
(5 Seasons, 90 Episodes)

-Robert Townsend is a slept on producer and director, but is usually not the best actor IMO. However, with him on board for both of those things, the show managed to give us a look into the world of a mostly squeaky clean middle class family, and while walked the line between family entertainment and being corny, the show was still good fun and good TV overall.

*My Wife and Kids 
(5 Seasons, 123 Episodes)

-One of the most underrated sitcoms ever, this show was a given to make the list. Damon Wayans is underrated as a comedian period, and this show was yet another reason why. His comedic timing, plus the back and forth chemistry between him and the deceptively funny Tisha Campbell was something to keep me entertained and even the children on the show managed to keep you laughing. Jennifer Freeman as Claire (though she wasn't the original and they did a Fresh Prince darkskin to lightskin switch) was cool, but Kady and her friend Franklin provided most of the kid laughs and adorable moments that added to the show. However, there is no one that carried that show quite like Damon, as it is possibly the crown jewel of his career.

*Everybody Hates Chris 
(4 Seasons, 88 Episodes)

-Aside from me still thinking of all the budget lessons I learned from the father character that Terry Crews played, this show was all around hilarious, and featured enough racial undertones, sarcasm, and a true coming of age story that made it great to watch. I still enjoy to revisit some of the episodes and to think that this is actually a slightly exaggerated account of the upbringing of Chris Rock further solidifies the hilarious nature of this show. I wish it would have had more seasons and more episodes, but there's more than enough to enjoy if you want to check it out.

*My Brother And Me
(1 Season, 13 Episodes)

-If there was ever a show that didn't get the just due it deserved, this was it. With only 1 season under the belt, the Nickelodeon aired show delighted audiences for 13 episodes and much like other shows that didn't get enough attention until it was off the air, My Brother And Me would come to be appreciated more afterwards. If you've never seen the show, check it out. It's a really enjoyable watch, and I wish we got to see more episodes and more seasons of this entertaining program.

*Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
(5 Seasons, 101 Episodes)

-Mark Curry was never the funniest comedian to me, but there was something about this show that kept me watching and still makes me laugh today. Perhaps the writing was done well or the situations we found Mr. Cooper in was just too hilarious to deny, but this show often goes forgotten when talking great sitcoms of the 90s. It wasn't on the same level as the classics like Wayans Bros, Jamie Foxx, Steve Harvey, and of course Martin or Fresh Prince, but with over 5 seasons and 100 episodes, this show definitely was enticing the viewer to stay tuned in weekly.

(3 Seasons, 72 Episodes)

-This show was short lived, but was very intriguing in many ways. Full of serious situations and moments to coincide with the amazing comedic side, the Charles Dutton and Elle Royce led show was truly underrated and I always wonder why there weren't more episodes and why the show really didn't catch on for a fourth and fifth season. I'd have loved to see the show hit that 100 episode syndication mark, but regardless, the show still remains to be a very solid sitcom that had a message behind it as well.

*The Bernie Mac Show
(5 Seasons, 104 Episodes)

-A lot of people didn't like the show, but I was a huge fan of it. Sure, Bernie wasn't able to be his foul mouthed self, but the way he made this TV transition was seamless. The kids were annoying on the show, but the way Bernie would respond to their antics was enough to keep me coming back and watching. The natural charisma and comedic genius of Bernie still managed to shine through in this show. I've grown to appreciate it more as I've got older like a few other shows on this list, and I think it deserved even more recognition than it got when it was airing. RIP Bernie.

*New York Undercover 
(4 Seasons, 89 Episodes)

-While not necessarily a 100% black show, this show has always seemed to be one. It featured a black lead actor and was about the streets and being undercover cops in the seedy underworld of New York, so it falls right into the category. Showcasing that the urban atmosphere was a melting pot, Malik Yoba as the lead actor on this show was able to carry the role, and his story arcs with the woman in his life and a long standing feud with Ice T on the show gave it a different feel than your standard cop show. There was the relationship with the detective and his son displayed, as well as the secondary characters also getting back story, providing an emotional attachment to the characters that lacked a bit in other cop shows. Certainly an underrated show and one of my favorites of the 90s.



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