Happiness is a Warm TV

FALL TV: 'black-ish' is a winning family comedy

From left, Anthony Anderson, Marcus Scribner and Laurence Fishburne in “black-ish” on ABC.
From left, Anthony Anderson, Marcus Scribner and Laurence Fishburne in “black-ish” on ABC. Adam Taylor/ABC

New show: “black- ish”

When: 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC

Cast: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne

Premise: Dad Dre Johnson ( Anthony Anderson) worries that his four kids are losing their sense of black culture. Son Dre Jr. (a great Marcus Scribner) wants to be known as “Andy” and to play field hockey instead of basketball. Younger son Jack ( Miles Brown) isn’t clear that Obama was the nation’s first black president. (In Jack’s defense, Obama is the only president he’s ever known, black or white.)

On the work front, at his advertising job, Johnson fears that his own black-ness may be too prevalent. Is that why he was made a vice president over the new “urban” division?

Anderson is very good here, and he gets strong support from Tracee Ellis Ross as his mixed-race doctor wife, Rainbow, and Laurence Fishburne as his gruff-but-lovable father. (He doesn’t want “baked fried chicken,” thank you very much. He wants “ fried fried chicken”!)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the debut of the seminal “The Cosby Show,” and it’s nice to have a new series addressing issues of race in a smart, funny manner. “black- ish” is not quite “The Cosby Show” – at least not yet. But it certainly has a lot of potential. For now, let’s call it “great- ish.”

-Staff writer Thad Ogburn

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