DAR TV: The 5 Greatest Black Shows From FOX

By @TrueGodImmortal

The FOX Network has always been one of the most prominent on television over the last 25 plus years. With shows like Married With Children, American Idol, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and more, FOX has been at the forefront of TV for so long. One area of television where they have lacked in recent years, like most networks, has been black shows, however years ago, FOX excelled at this. They didn't have black shows in large quantity, but they did have a good selection of programming over the years. Today, I wanted to take a look back at the 5 greatest black shows in the history of the network. What takes the no. 1 spot? Read on and find out.

5. Roc
(3 Seasons, 72 Episodes)

-I was never the biggest fan of Roc, but during the heyday of the network, it was the third most prominent sitcom of the 90's (with a black cast) for FOX. While The Sinbad Show, Between Brothers, and a few other moderately successful shows made their way to FOX, they had no staying power. Roc had slightly less staying power than the show ranked higher, but it was still a popular show with a large section of the black sitcom audience. The show would exhibit the hard working element of a black family in Baltimore (my city), with Charles S. Dutton playing the father and lead character. The show was more down to earth and legit compared to black shows of the past, and the element of the live performance added another piece to the successful strategy of the show. While it wasn't quite Martin or Living Single, Roc did pave a path for the sitcoms of a similar style to come along. This is top 5 from FOX, but much lower on the black sitcoms overall list. Still, Roc is classic in its own right.

4. The Bernie Mac Show
(5 Seasons, 104 Episodes)

-I always felt like Bernie Mac was a legend that was unsung. Underrated. He was extremely funny and ahead of his time in a way with his honest and brash style, which was normal in comedy, but his delivery was what made the difference. It was an amazing moment to see Bernie get his own sitcom that mirrored his comedy. Based around his epic comedic bit during the Original Kings of Comedy tour, his show centered around him taking care of three of his sister's kids after she went away for rehab help and other personal issues. With his wife Wanda by his side, Bernie essentially learns how to be a father mostly on the fly, with his knowledge and his experience coming through tough situations of discipline and making sure the kids are understanding (they're usually not). The Bernie Mac Show would become a hit for FOX during a time where they didn't have many black led shows on the network at all, earning this an easy slot in the top 5 list.

3. Living Single
(5 Seasons, 118 Episodes)

-Recently, we took a look at the characters of Living Single and what made them so special. After ranking the characters from the show, I realized how important and vital this show was to the television experience as a child. With the show now available on Hulu, you can revisit what made the program one of the best black sitcoms in general. Based around four friends who live either together or nearby in New York, the show followed a format that worked wonders for the show. While many were fans of the relationships between the friends, I think one underrated aspect of this show was the pacing of the episodes. Their plots and true stories were seldom, but it was still fun to watch them sit around and joke with each other, problem solve, and everything in between. Whether you were an avid watcher or a casual viewer, everyone remembers the adventures of Maxine Shaw, Khadijah James, Synclaire James, and Regine. You also remember the hilarity of Kyle Barker and Overton Wakefield Jones, as well as the relationships between Synclaire and Overton, as well as the love/hate dynamic of Kyle and Max. Living Single was a legendary show in its own right and it made FOX a regularly watched network in my household.

2. In Living Color
(5 Seasons, 127 Episodes)

-I debated with myself about putting this show at the no. 1 spot, because it is that important to the culture and to television history. In Living Color was more than a mere comedy show that featured musical acts and sketch comedy. It was a movement of sorts, as it challenged the status quo and made it something that people wanted to watch and be a part of. This would become the show to watch on FOX, breaking a ton of careers in the process and giving the world a bunch of bright new comedians. With iconic characters like Wanda, Anton Jackson, Fire Marshall Bill, and Homey The Clown being a vital part of the show's success, the show would see Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, and many more become worldwide stars. With the Fly Girls also being an important piece of the show, it felt like In Living Color could do no wrong. It was hilarious yet aggressive comedy that was in your face and made even some of the viewers uncomfortable, which is exactly what was needed at the time I believe. In Living Color was truly ahead of its time and remains one of the greatest black shows in the history of television.

1. Martin
(5 Seasons, 132 Episodes)

-There is no other answer. Of course. FOX didn't do too many things well in terms of programming, but they would easily get this one right. Martin became one of the most important shows in television history and it all began on FOX in 1992. From the first episode, you knew there was something special here. Martin Lawrence was a budding comedian at the time who had seen minimal success in smaller roles in films, but his career would change after this show. As the titular star, Martin would bring the world a new comedic legend who made a sitcom that was equally realistic and ridiculous with a cast of characters to help the show become THAT much better. Whether he was spending time with his lady Gina, or arguing with Pam, chilling with his friends Tommy and Cole, heading to Hollywood for Varnell Hill, or trying to find out who stole his CD player, Martin never missed a beat and was usually the funniest show of the week every single week when it was on the air. For me, it is the greatest sitcom of all time and the best black show as well, which solidifies the fact that this classic show has to be at no. 1 for the FOX Network. Martin is a classic and the top dog in network television.



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