With many held up under self-quarantine television streaming is now the entertainment option of choice. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ are seeing a tremendous surge in viewership. If you, like many find yourself held up in your home and suffering from cabin fever. Well, here are a few culturally relevant streaming options. Some will have you laughing, some crying or feeling a little better off.
Originally a web series of the same name, Genetified is created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez who also serve as executive producers alongside actress America Ferrera. The show follows three cousins that band together to keep their grandfather’s popular Boyle Heights taco shop afloat. It poses the newest question – what happens when you are a native of the neighborhood, yet somehow are viewed as part of its gentrification? Throughout the show’s first season the cousins confront their differences in their connections to community, their heritage and commitment to the family business. Gentefied premiered on Netflix in February with a 10-episode run. Reviews and word of mouth are positive. It’s got an 87% Fresh Score on Rotten Tomatoes and Netflix has already green lit a second season.
On My Block
Also, on Netflix is On My Block a teen-based drama-comedy series. It follows four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South-Central Los Angeles. Dealing with the danger of getting their friend out of a gang and friends turning into romance. Created by Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft and Laura Iungerich. The show is in its third season on Netflix, the latest premiering on March 11th.
It’s got an 95% Fresh Score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s also lauded by critics for its diverse cast, storytelling and fresh multifaceted take on teen life. Matt Seitz of New York Magazine wrote, “One of the many remarkable things about this series is how it folds crime and the awareness of potential violence into everyday life, which is something white sitcoms never do unless it’s a Very Special Episode.”
One of the older offerings on this list, Power is a crime drama that just wrapped its six-season run on the Starz cable network. It follows the story of James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York City club owner by night, but leading a double life as a drug kingpin. As much as Ghost longs to be a legitimate businessman, colleagues from his old life don’t necessarily want to see him move on. Factor in some very heavy anti-hero tendencies of St. Patrick and you have drama to spare. The show was executive produced by Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson and Courtney Kemp, who also created the show.
It was a runaway hit for Starz and has spawned no less than three spinoffs currently in the works. Of note is its inclusion of all cultures one can find in New York City. Its strong Latino characters, non-stop plot twists and infusion of urban culture had more viewers tuning in each year. Although its original run is complete, you can view all six seasons on Amazon Prime or Hulu.
A spin off of the cult hit Sons of Anarchy. Mayans MC is set in a post-Jax Teller world. It follows the trial of the Mayan motorcycle club, whose members made various appearances during the original show’s run. This incarnation however focuses upon EZ Reyes, a former golden boy now fresh out of prison. Reyes is now a prospect in the Mayan MC charter on the California-Mexico border. EZ continuously struggles to carve out his new outlaw identity. Mayans MC just completed its second season and has been green lit for a third.
It’s got great creative power behind the camera, in the form of original SOA creator Kurt Sutter (although Sutter will not be involved in Season 3). But also, in front of it, with veteran actors such as Edward James Olmos and young fresh talent in the form of JD Pardo and Clayton Cardenas serving as series leads. While we get to see great SOA Easter eggs the show has slowly but surely found its own footing. Working in issues such as race, cultures, immigration and government corruption. Mayans MC is streaming on Hulu.
Where Gentefied, brings a comedic element to gentrification, Vida handles the subject matter in more dramatic fashion. Don’t believe us – the tag line for the second season was “operating on a chingona level”. If that is not drama, we don’t know what is.
The series focuses on two Mexican-American sisters, Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn Hernandez (Melissa Barrera), both from the Eastside of Los Angeles. Yet they couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. The untimely death of their mother force them to return to their old neighborhood. Things are not how they remembered. The sisters now have to step up and step in to save the family business. All while confronting their past, their mother’s identity and a neighborhood that’s not as welcoming as it once was. Vida airs on the Starz Network, however, is also available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Party of Five
A reboot of the 90’s hit series of the same name. Yet, with a very topical twist. The initial show is about a group of siblings forced to fend for themselves and one another after the sudden death of their parents. The current incarnation sees the matriarch and patriarch of the Acosta family, deported by ICE back to Mexico. Forced to leave their five children behind. The siblings must now look after one another and fend off an administration looking for any excuse to separate them. Sporting a great young Latinx cast and humanizing immigration in a way not present on television. Party of Five is must see tv.