Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Will your favorite AAPI actor be coming back on TV next season?

When 'Fresh Off the Boat introduced the Huang family three years ago, who knew it would become the longest running show featuring an Asian American theme.

LAST WEEK was a mixed bag of good-news, bad-news for AAPI TV fans and for the casts of these shows that star or feature AAPI actors.


GOOD NEWS: Fresh Off the Boat got renewed for a fourth season. Every year the sitcom is renewed it breaks a record for the longest-running TV show featuring an AAPI theme. We get to hang out with the Huang family as they continue to assimilate and at the same time retain their identity as an Asian/American family.

BAD NEWS: Dr. Ken, starring Ken Jeong and loosely based on his real life as a physician turned comedic actor, was cancelled after two seasons. 

GOOD NEWS: 2 Broke Girls, was finally cancelled after six seasons. The show featured one, Han Lee played by Matthew Moy, of the worst stereotypes of Asian/American men on TV today: sexually unappealing, effeminate, socially awkward, thick thick accent.

BAD NEWS: 2 Broke Girls will stick around for quite a while in reruns.


Matthew Moy tweeted out this picture of the cast in their final bow and a series of black hearts.

GOOD NEWS: Even though it receives one of he lowest ratings in the CW Network shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend got a third season. The romantic musical comedy co-stars Vincent Rodriguez III and ocassionally features his Filipino/American family and his hip Filipino/American priest will be around for another.

BAD NEWS: The Vanessa Hudgens vehicle Powerless, a midseason replacement sitcom for NBC, flamed out and won't be back next year.


GOOD NEWS: Priyanka Chopra, the lead in Quantico, will return as FBI agent Alex Parrish. There was some doubt if there would be a third season since the show's ratings dipped this year compared to its first year.

BAD NEWS: The TV version of Rush Hour couldn't match the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker chemistry from the movies though Jon Foo and Justin Hines gave it their best shot, their onscreen chemistry fizzled.

GOOD NEWS: Elementary, the updated Sherlock Holmes detective series starring Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson was on the bubble all week. At the last minute, CBS renewed it for a sixth season.

BAD NEWS: Pretty Little Liars is in its seventh and final season. The gang will graduate from the long-running series. That means saying goodbye to Emily Fields played by Shay Mitchell. Watch her say her tearful farewell.

Shay Mitchell
MORE GOOD NEWS:  
  • Agents of SHIELD, starring Ming Na Wen and Chloe Bennet in two action-filled heroic roles;
  • Hawaii 5-0 with Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park playing prominent members of the core group of actors, and a whole hose of AAPI actors who play Hawaii residents. 
  • Into the Badlands starring Daniel Wu as THE hero and Aramis Knight as his protege was confirmed for a third season by AMC; 
  • Scorpion with Elyes Gabel and Jadyn Wong will be back for a fourth season on CBS.
  • AMC's Humans which introduced us to the Gemma Chan, whose portrayal of a beautiful robot is anything but wooden,
  • Designated Survivor, whose return was questionable, just made the cut, which is good news for fans of Maggie Q and Kal Penn. (Earlier versions of this blog misidentified Kal Penn. It has been corrected - editor.)
  • Code Black, starring handsome leading man Reza Jaffrey, will be back to operate the L.A. emergency room,
  • The Magicians with Arjun Gupta won't disappear. It will return to the Syfy channel for its third season,
  • Superstore returns with the wonderful cast of off-beat store clerks including Nico Santos and Nicole Bloom along with regulars Kaliko Kauahi and Jon Miyahara.
  • The Good Place gets a second season in which Manny Jacinto plays a Filipino who shatters Asian stereotypes,
  • The OA, a surprise hit for Netflix, gives fans a chance to discover Jason Perea whose role should be expanded in the second season, 
  • The Man in the High Castle, that tells an alternate history in which Germany and Japan won WWII, has a whole bunch of Asian/American cast members led by veteran actors Joel de la Fuente and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa,
  • Riverdale loses breakout star Ross Butler, who played key character Reggie, but in its second season he'll be replaced by another Asian/American hunk Charles Melton,
  • 13 Reasons Why will have a second season even though the 13 tapes have been heard. That will hopefull give us a chance to explore the back stories of the Asian/American characters played by Ross Butler and Michele Selene Ang.
Ross Butler leaves fictional Riverdale High for Liberty High in "13 Reasons Why."

The fate of a handful of other shows, ie. Aziz Ansari's and Alan Yang's Master of None, in what has become TV's second and third rounds of programs will be decided later this year. 

Some new shows will be introduced next fall with AAPI cast members. That's exciting. Watch out for my yearly preview of the coming season - as always, from an AAPI point of view.

Based on this list, it may appear that there are a lot of AAPI actors working but in reality, it's just a drop in the bucket. Minority actors are vastly underrepresented on in the entertainment industry that includes television, according to a UCLA report on diversity in Hollywood.

The report points out minorities make up 40 percent of the U.S. population but only 13.6 percent of lead actors in theatrical films and 10.1 percent of Hollywood directors.

Darnell Hunt, the report’s lead author  said, “At the heart of it is the fact that Hollywood is simply not structured to make the most of today’s market realities.”
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