Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Temis the Vorta, Oct 10, 2011.
You state this like there's been some big turn around in casting this season. Which there hasn't.
What a very strange question. This season has featured a substantial number of shows on the air whose first or second leads are nonwhite -- Scandal, Deception, Beauty and the Beast, Elementary, Nikita, Last Resort, Cult, the new series Golden Boy debuting next week (with Chi McBride as second lead), maybe more. That's got to be a record high. Hell, Scandal was the first network TV show with an African-American female lead in three decades, and now it's just one year later and we've got two more, plus Andre Braugher starring in Last Resort. Plus three shows with Asian-American leading ladies, not two as I said before (I forgot about Nikita).
Yes, there are still a lot of white actors on TV, still a long way to go to achieve full balance. But it makes no sense to say we're going backward from some alleged past time when there was more diversity on primetime TV, because there never was such a time. I've spent my whole life yearning for more diversity on TV, being frustrated at the disproportionate overabundance of white people on the small screen, but now we're finally getting a significant number of shows that satisfy my hopes. Still not enough, no, but more than ever before.
There's also Sally the ghost on the US version of BEING HUMAN . . . .
Sciffy generally doesn't do too well in that regard. Eureka is the exception, as far as I know, although there are a couple of shows that I don't watch.
It's a mixed bag. Warehouse 13 does have an overly white cast, and has just killed off its only black regular, but it has a fairly diverse supporting cast including CCH Pounder and Faran Tahir in major roles. It's also relatively progressive with gay/lesbian characters; regular character Steve Jinks is gay (though in a kind of asexual way, since he's not with anyone) and there's a strongly implied lesbian attraction between Myka and recurring character Helena Wells.
As far as I know, Haven's cast is pretty much white, but I don't watch it. And the upcoming Defiance's regular cast includes one First Nations (native Canadian) actor, Graham Greene, but otherwise is overwhelmingly white.
As for the Canadian imports, Lost Girl is quite good with the LGBT representation (its lead character is totally bisexual and currently in a committed lesbian relationship), but not as strong in the diversity category. It does have one black semiregular, K.C. Collins (and a second, Cle Bennett, in the first season only), and one semiregular Little Person, Rick Howland. So some kinds of diversity are represented better there than others. Continuum, meanwhile, has a nicely diverse supporting/semiregular cast including Roger Cross, Lexa Doig, Omari Newton, Terry Chen, Stephen Lobo (who's of Indian and Iranian ancestry), and Jennifer Spence (who's part-Japanese) -- but unfortunately, except for Spence, all of them play bad guys (though Lobo's character is morally ambiguous).
So I guess you're right about Eureka being an exception. Which is too bad. A science fiction-oriented network should be leading in inclusive casting, not trailing. But as we've seen many times, as a commercial network it's obliged to make choices based more on ratings and profits than science-fictional principles.
Regarding LOST GIRL, it should be noted that both "Hale" (black) and "Trick" (Little Person) are very regular as "semiregulars" go. They're both in almost every episode, often quite prominently. In fact, I was surprised to hear that "Trick" is considered a semiregular character; he strikes me as a fairly major character.
And HAVEN introduced a black character this last season, but, at the risk of being spoilery, he's unlikely to return next season . . . .
Yeah, a lot of Canadian-made shows seem to bill effectively regular cast members as if they were guest stars, I guess because they get paid less or are contracted differently. But you're right -- those two are regulars in every way that matters. Trick's been in every episode, and Hale in all but a few.
Well, Agam Darshi in Sanctuary seasons two and three was a main character in a series with a very small cast.
Stargate SG-1 had Chris Judge of course in a major role but it also of course made him the taciturn the character. SG-1's captains and generals, pretty much everybody in fact, were not just white but Anglo-Saxon. The only major exceptions I recall were the merely Saxon General Bauer and Steven C. Williams' General Vidrine.
Overall I'd have to agree that Syfy is pretty conservative.
But these things are really hard to judge without doing boring statistics that are also difficult statistics. CBS by and large is pretty white, but one of its biggest shows, CSI, had Lawrence Fishburne in the lead, which must count for more than an African-American friend.
Alphas had Azita Ghanizada (Afghan) as Rachel Pirzad (Persian).
Any discussion anywhere on the new CW reboot of the Tomorrow People?
Yeah, all these shows usually have the one ethnic character, but that's the definition of tokenism (not that the actors and characters aren't good). I wasn't sure about Continuum and Alphas, because I've never seen them, but it seems like they might be a moderate improvement.
I wonder what Defender will look like if it ever gets made.
Well, like I said, Continuum would be a much better improvement if more of the nonwhite cast members were good guys. Alphas did fairly well, though. It had Malik Yoba and Azita Ghanizada as regulars, and Mahershala Ali and Valerie Cruz in recurring roles as government agents. I particularly like it that they made Ghanizada's character Iranian, because a lot of the time, Middle-Eastern actors and actresses are instead cast as Caucasian characters, as with Sarah Shahi or Tony Shalhoub.
I have one hard & fast rule regarding SF/F: If they get some guy from Deadwood to play a Confederate zombie, that's an automatic win.
Which is why Sixth Gun just went to the top of my must see list.
Oh yeah and also casting news about the young hunk lead of Delirium.
I thought they'd be adding Abigail Van Helsing to that Dracula/Frankenstein series...
Except they're calling her Grace.
The more I hear about this one, the less it interests me.
I assume by "Caucasian" you mean Europeans mostly from the northwestern regions.
Where'd you'd get that idea? It's no different this year than any year. That's whay I'm complaining about, it seems like it'll never change.
Meanwhile what does change is, America gets more diverse...I wonder if this is contributing to the decline in broadcast ratings, especially among younger viewers. Everyone focuses on technology as the cause but what if it's also that younger viewers aren't seeing shows that reflect who they are? The younger cohort is the most diverse of all age groups.
Meanwhile in actual sf/f show news...they found some guy who looks just like Ichabod Crane to play Ichabod Crane.
Maybe because you said "is Hollywood just giving up on anything more than token diversity?"
Which indicates a belief on your part that something had changed.
Tracie Thoms Joins ‘Gothica’
Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory and Jamie Chung Join Believe
Best casting so far this season: Michael Ealy as JJ Abrams' Good (??) Robot.
With eyes like that of course the guy's an android.
Separate names with a comma.