Though I know that cable (especially for my fellow New Yorkers) and subscription television services have fallen further and further into the "luxury" category, there's nothing like dedicating an evening to "Netflix & Chill." I often find myself confronted with the statement "I don't watch much TV" in conversation with my colleagues. As a result, I usually include the phrase "guilty pleasure" in my response; but, you know what? There's no guilt. I love my shows and I love (and abhor) many of the characters that drive their plots. Here are a few of my faves and the characters that keep me hooked:
1. This Is Us
Personal Fave: Beth
I've never seen a more perfect display of spunk and selflessness. Beth is that one person that gets along with everyone without even trying. In the age of "problematic faves," it's refreshing to see a character that instills such great values in herself, her babies, and her broader family unit. #coconutoilqueen
Personal Fave: Huck
This man's character must've been inspired by the song "I'll Be Around" by The Spinners. His unwavering loyalty to Olivia Pope despite her issues and his own is astonishing. The heart that seems so dark based on action alone is one that I'd consider to be the purest of any character on the show. No matter how many Ls Huck seems to suffer, I never stop wanting him to win.
3. How to Get Away with Murder
Personal Fave: Frank
This one was hard because every single character on this show has about 9,000 screws loose. I picked Frank because he's so sure of himself. He does cruddy things sometimes (okay, often), but unless my memory fails me, he always owns up to his mistakes and tries to forge a path forward.
4. Game of Thrones
Personal Fave: Khaleesi / Daenerys
Yes, she is everyone's fave. As she should be. Sis literally started from the bottom and now she's here. It almost makes me emotional when I think about the fact that she rose to such a position of influence and power from a life of oppression. Her character is reminder: play with fire and you will get burned.
Personal Fave: Jessica
As much as I love how Olivia Pope slays a suit...NO ONE. No. One. Slays a lady boss wardrobe like Jessica Pearson. Her character is (was) the managing partner of the fictitious law firm, Pearson Specter Litt. Read: she's a big deal and the nuance that is her character occupying the highest position of anyone in her company as a woman of color should not be lost. The next time I make a vision board, her character will probably be on it.
6. Queen Sugar
Personal Fave: Hollywood
Sometimes it's nice to have a character whose sole purpose is to diffuse drama, not create it. Hollywood is a solid example of what it looks like to stay low and build. He's truly just a good person - no matter what you've done or who you are, Hollywood will show you love in whatever way you need it (constructive criticism, tender kindness, jovial companionship).
Personal Fave: Kelli
Kelli is the friend that we all need: the one that helps us let loose and the one that won't let us get away with tomfoolery. Nothing gets past her and she truly provides much-needed comedic relief amidst all of the drama that Issa and Molly conjure up.
8. Black Mirror
Personal Fave (Episode): Hang the DJ
I haven't finished Season 4 yet, but this episode was fascinating to me without being terrifying. I'm often so disturbed by the more punishment-based episodes of this series that I can't fully enjoy the quality of the writing itself. No spoilers, so I'll leave it at that for now.
9. She's Gotta Have It
Personal Fave: Opal
Uncompromising. Accepting nothing less than what she personally requires. That's Opal. I truly admire the certainty that surrounds her plan for herself and the people that she engages with romantically. Her character is a level-headed breath of fresh air.
Personal Fave: Van
Van is the type of character that you want to laugh with, not at. She goes through so much in her few appearances throughout the first season, and her trials and tribulations make you want to keep and eye on her character to see how things shake out for her - with or without Earn.
Honorable mention to all of the reality TV that I've historically kept up with (L&HH, RHOA, etc.) and to all of the shows that are on my list to watch (Riverdale, Stranger Things, etc.).
Feel free to share your faves or your reactions to mine in the comments below!