HOLLYWOOD—I love a good drama on TV, but I’m even more attracted to a series that seems rooted in reality or directly address social issues in a way that seem so realistic. There are two series on the OWN network that some may be watching while others are not, so I want to turn your attention to dramas worth giving a watch. The first series being “Greenleaf,” which kicked off its third season premiere this week on the network. I will be honest it has been a minute since the show last aired, so I need a recap to get my brain churning on what last transpired on the show.
“Greenleaf” focuses on the church, religion and the dynamics of a family where everyone is desperate in their own way to get their moment in the spotlight. We have a terrific cast including Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge, Tye White, Deborah Joy Winans, Kim Hawthorne, Lamman Rucker and Desiree Ross. The biggest battle in the series is between Lady Mae (Whitfield), the matriarch of the Greenleaf clan and her daughter and Grace (Dandridge). Mother and daughter have a very contentious relationship; and it all stems from Lady Mae’s brother, Mac, who was responsible for sexually assaulting Grace’s sister Faith when she was a child resulting in her death as an adult.
This plot point is the bulk of the narrative push for the first two seasons of the series because it was something that both Lady Mae and Bishop (David) may have known about, but never took action to stop. It is because of this that Lady Mae has friction with her sister Mavis (Oprah Winfrey). However, a surprise that we learned in the second season was that Mavis and Bishop shared a moment in their past, and when Mavis revealed that bomb to Mae near wholly hell almost broke loose.
The Greenleaf family is not perfect, and that is what I love about this show. Even though it’s rooted in religion it shows that even those who are Christian and holy can do wicked things behind closed doors. Grace is in constant battle with her siblings as her father sees her as the prodigal one, Lady Mae and Bishop’s marriage is on the verge of dissolution as season three kicks off, and it looks like temptation is prevalent more than ever for Bishop. Also we have to discuss that wicked storyline in season two that dealt with domestic violence, this time involving teenage love. It was quite riveting to watch to say the least. I will admit it takes a few episodes to get invested in “Greenleaf,” which in my opinion has only gotten better since its first season.
Now, let’s transition the discussion to one of my favs, “Queen Sugar.” This show has it all, great drama, exceptional acting and relevance for so many in the African American community. The series revolves around a family in New Orleans attempting to run their father’s sugar cane farm after his death. The cast includes Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Tina Lifford, Omar Dorsey, Dondre Whitfield, Bianca Lawson and Ethan Hutchison. At its core, this series is about siblings Charlie (Gardner), Nova (Wesley) and Ralph Angel (Siriboe), none are perfect, but the audience can immediately spot the dissonance between Charley and her siblings.
Charley is the successful one; she has plenty of money and was the sibling who left New Orleans the first opportunity she got. On the flipside, Nova stayed and became an accomplished writer who has stirred the pot a bit in her hometown with her rhetoric. Then there is Ralph Angel, who has not had an easy life, notably multiple run-ins with the law and even a stint behind bars. Season one sets the stage for most of the drama that culminated in season 2 and the phenomenal season 3. This past season of “Queen Sugar” was sensational delivering can’t miss moments.
After learning that he might not be Blue’s father, Ralph Angel had a DNA test that confirmed his suspicions. It was heartbreaking for him to learn the truth, but Ralph Angel proved to be a dedicated parent continuing to raise a child who in the depths of his heart is his (in his mind) even though blood says otherwise. This has created a major friction between Ralph Angel and Darla, both who were on the verge of marriage last season, but Darla’s bombshell placed them at odds and their relationship has only gotten worse as the season culminated.
We also have to talk about Violet (Lifford) who is battling Lupus and is the core of the Bordelon family after her brother’s death. She is the glue that keeps its real with the siblings and keeps the family from falling apart in the midst of family squabbles and dynamics on the farm. Witnessing Violet and Hollywood (Dorsey) exchange vows during the season 3 finale had to be some of the best dialogue I’ve witnessed on the small screen in years; it literally moved me to tears and was the best way to cap off a stellar season.
A bulk of the tale for season three involved Charley finding herself deep with the Landry clan after she was forced to sell her mill and infiltrated the Landry clan from the inside to undercut her opponent. Charley is a boss; that is something that cannot be denied. Her intentions may not be clear in the beginning, but she is smart, she is cunning and a testament to a strong African-America woman, who not only grappled with her identity as a biracial woman, but dealing with infidelity in her marriage while being a single parent.
While “Queen Sugar” is not expected to return until 2019, “Greenleaf” recently kicked off its third season with a two-night premiere to deliver as much drama as possible for fans. “Greenleaf” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on OWN.