The Diversity Chronicles #02 - "What's On Monday?"

Welcome to The Diversity Chronicles, a new op-ed series that will examine diversity and representation, predominantly in Western media.

What's On Monday?

The Originals (season 2 returns on Monday, January 19, on the CW at 8PM)

This fantasy series is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. The show examines the Mikaelson siblings from whom all vampires originated. Diversity comes in the form of Klaus' protege, Marcel. Actor Charles Michael Davis did fantastic work with Marcel's arc in season 1, but sadly Marcel has become more of a sidelined token in season 2. However, with the return of other Mikaelson family members Esther and Finn, in new bodies, brings forth two strong performers: Sonja Sohn and Yusuf Gatewood. These two have made the characters more compelling to watch than ever before.

Recommended episode (The Vampire Diaries 4x20 - "The Originals"):
This back-door pilot of the show was our first introduction to Marcel and drew us in immediately to wanting to know more about the character. Plus, it gave us his most iconic line: "I'm the king."

Gotham (season 1 returns on Monday, January 5, on FOX at 8PM)

This superhero series serves as a prequel to introduce the back stories to such iconic characters in the DC universe as Batman, Detective Jim Gordon, Penguin, Riddler, Cat Woman, etc. Diversity comes predominantly from two characters. First, there's Fish Mooney. Jada Pinkett Smith packs quite the punch as this club owner/mob boss and we just can't get enough of watching her scheme and be an all-around badass. Also worth watching is Renee Montoya; a detective in the Major Crimes Unit and also has romantic history with Barbara Kean. Victoria Cartagena entices us to want more from and about Renee Montoya with her strong performance.

Recommended episode (1x04 - "Arkham"):
Fish Mooney shows us just how tough it is to earn a spot in her crew through one of the most surprising and memorable moments of her character's arc thus far.

Sleepy Hollow (season 2 returns on Monday, January 5, on FOX at 9PM)

This apocalyptic fantasy series was so much a fan favourite in its first series that it was renewed for a second season after just three episodes. With so many POC characters (Abbie Mills, her sister Jenny Mills, Captain Frank Irving, Deputy Andy Brooks, Abbie's ex Luke) that were well-acted, and for the most part well-written, the show offered fans representation the likes of which they had rarely seen before. But season 2 has lost sight of that and fallen so far off track that we're more inclined to recommend that you just re-watch season 1 again and again. We'll let you know if things turn around, though.

Recommended episode (2x09 - "Mama"):
If there's one notable exception to the many flaws of season 2, it's "Mama," a Mills-sisters-centric episode in which Abbie and Jenny are reunited with the spirit of their mother and with such profoundly moving performances from all three actresses, we couldn't help but be emotionally moved.

Jane the Virgin (returns on Monday, January 19, on the CW at 9PM)

This dramedy is based on the Venezuelan telenovela "Juana la Virgen," and centres around a young woman (and yes, virgin) named Jane Villanueva who is accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine gynaecological visit. The gynaecologist is the sister of the father of the baby, Rafael Solano. Rafael is the owner of the hotel that Jane works at and he also had some romantic tension with Jane a few years prior. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as hilariously over-the-top plot relations are concerned, but get this: the show is actually brilliant. Gina Rodriguez is absolutely sensational as Jane, as are Andrea Navedo as Jane's mother Xiomara, and Ivonne Coll as Jane's grandmother Alba Gloriana Villanueva. It's so refreshing to see a show in which the female protagonist has all areas of her life explored. Though we're routing for Jane and Rafael as a romantic couple, it is not the main focus of the story. Equal, if not more, attention is paid to the family dynamic of Jane with her mother, grandmother, and even her father (who is a telenovela star), as well as her career, and her struggles to always do the most moral thing. The show has heart, depth, but also fun, and fantastic comedy. It embraces its over-the-top premise and powers through with strong performances from all the cast, and the "Latin Lover Narrator" offers up hilarious accompaniment to the various plot developments, making you feel as if you have a buddy watching with you at all times.

We'd like to also give extra kudos to the use of the Spanish language in the show. Rarely is a bilingual home depicted as the centre of a show, and this offers up representation to everyone who grew up speaking more than one language at home. Also, Jaime Camil brings to life one of the single-most hilarious characters we've ever had the pleasure of watching, Rogelio de la Vega. Rogelio is a world-famous telenovela star as well as Jane's father. He is enormously sure of himself in his superstardom, and has some of the best lines on the show, often leaving us clutching our stomach from all the laughing we're doing. But at the same time, we've seen just how much it means to him to connect with his daughter, even if his execution in doing so is a bit off the mark at times. Jane's entire family offers up some truly compelling moments. Jane's mother Xiomara is entirely self-sacrificing, always putting Jane first, and Alba loves Jane no matter what, despite her highly conservative views about love, sex, and marriage. As for Rafael, what was most striking about him is that he wasn't just another hot (though you should have no doubt, he is indeed hot) love interest that goes through the show being insufferably clueless. When his wife Petra is scheming, we get to see him begin to put the pieces together on what she's up to. Rafael has brawn and brain. It's the best Monday night has to offer.

Honestly, we could go on and on with all the good things that Jane the Virgin has to offer so we'll just sum it up with this: Love yourself. Treat yo self. Watch Jane the Virgin.

Recommended episode (1x04 - "Chapter Four"):
If we're being honest, you really should watch every single episode; there hasn't been a single one yet that wasn't less than fantastic. But seeing the range of emotion Gina Rodriguez exquisitely displays in just a few seconds, and how much she communicates as Jane learning the true identity of her father and that her mother lied to her for all these years, was a game-changing moment for us. (Even the mainstream critics noticed; Gina Rodriguez has rightfully been nominated for a Golden Globe).


What shows, characters, and content do you look to for diversity? Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below, or tweet the creator/author of The Diversity Chronicles here: (x)


Copyright © 2013 Something to Muse About and Blogger Templates - Anime OST.