The new year is kicking off with a flurry of new shows and seasons, but few will be as good in the early part of 2018 as Freeform’s January 3-debuting Grown-ish. A spinoff of ABC’s Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated Black-ish, the 13-episode college-set series led by Yara Shahidi is both funny and discerning.
Executive produced by Kenya Barris and Larry Wilmore, among others, and given lift-off by the original show last year, Grown-ish sees Shahidi’s Zoey Johnson leave Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) next for her freshman year at Southern California University. Building on Freeform’s bolder new direction of sorts launched by The Bold Type’s debut last summer, the fourth wall-shattering Grown-ish is full of Breakfast Club shout-outs and all the cynicism, optimism and insecurities that characterizes the first year of college, as I say in my video review above. With a strong cast of Deon Cole, Chris Parnell, Emily Arlook, Trevor Jackson, Francia Raisa, Jordan Buhat, Chloe Bailey and Halle Bailey, Luka Sabbat and Abraham D. Juste alongside Shahidi, the series is also, from what I’ve seen, fast-paced and packed with eminently enjoyable teachable moments.
So, don’t allow yourself to get soured on the new offerings on the small screen by the likes of Fox’s terrible LA to Vegas, which premieres tonight. If you do see a conflict in your viewing options Wednesday — with Grown-ish’s debut and the start of the latest revival of The X-Files — I say DVR the latter. Season 11 of the Chris Carter-created conspiracy show is back in fine form for the fans and marks a slight step up the relevancy ladder from the last time the David Duchovny- and Gillian Anderson-led series returned last year. However, whatever you do, don’t miss Grown-ish – it’s fresh stuff and a keeper.
Check out more of my take on Grow-ish in the video review above. Black-ish fan or not, tell us what you think.