Launching on November 23 on Netflix, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It the TV series is something you’ve gotta watch. Hell, between turkey or whatever you’ll be binging next week, you should also binge the fully Lee-directed and DeWanda Wise-starring show based on Lee’s first feature film, as I say in my video review above.
While full of homages to the 1986 black-and-white indie classic from the get go, this She’s Gotta Have It is a rare second pass that breathes new life into its updated, 21st century story and goes much further than before. With a star revealing herself before us, Underground alum Wise hits nothing but high notes as the Republic of Brooklyn-based artist Nola Darling, who is unapologetic but must face up to the consequences of her actions.
Yes, this life of a “sex-positive, polyamorous, pansexual” twentysomething black woman is depicted through the eyes of the now 60-year-old Lee. But stripping away many of the problematic and hackneyed elements of the original, a lot of this very modern 10-episode first season executive produced by Tonya Lewis Lee is written by women including The Get Down scribe Radha Blank and Angela Davis biopic EP Eisa Davis.
Sure there are a few bum notes in the new She’s Gotta Have it, but with a film maestro simultaneously delving into some of his greatest hits and showing entirely new moves, his first TV series isn’t here to cash Netflix’s check. With Nola’s trio of lovers played with grace, grievance and wit by Lyrig Bent, Cleo Anthony and the bespectacled high energy of Hamilton vet Anthony Ramos, the series packs in a lot. No spoilers, but the show plays out assuredly like a five-hourish movie – revealing that television or at least streaming is a medium Lee should certainly consider embracing more.
So, before you settle in for Thanksgiving, click on my review to get more of my Hell Yeah! take on this latest Spike Lee joint. Will you be tuning in November 23?