In this latest installment of this golden age of television we are currently living in, I will highlight three more classic television shows produced in the last six years: “Luther,” “Gotham,” and “Atlanta.” Every one of these programs highlight why since the 21st century began, viewers of television are engaging in one of the greatest eras of broadcast history.
When I was a child, my parents on the weekend would watch intently British mysteries on our local PBS stations. My mother would marvel at how much more powerful and creative these shows were in comparison to the American style mysteries. Shows like “Miss Marple,” “Inspector Poirot,” and “Inspector Morse,” were their favorites. No one dared changed the channel on a Saturday or Sunday evening while my parents were watching any of the aforementioned shows. “Luther,” is a fine addition to the British genre of classic mysteries. Inspector John Luther, played by the single, greatest Black sex symbol of the 21st century, Idris Elba, is unlike any television detective ever seen. He’s a suicidal, dark character who’s so intense that his presence even when he’s quiet can cut you like a knife. Luther is the main detective in a London homicide unit. He is a great detective because he literally gets into the minds of the suspects. He is a great detective because he has nothing to live for. His wife left him because of his job, he has no children and he’s psychologically scarred from a life of dealing with evil perpetrators. Idris Elba plays Luther with an edge that keeps the viewer glued to the television. My mother loves this program. Her approval of this show, in my opinion, authenticates this show as a continuation of the great British detective genre.
“Gotham,” is another dark crime drama, this time based in America and its premise is how the Batman legend was born. Ben McKenzie, like Idris Elba, also portrays a very dark detective: James Gordon, in his pre-commissioner days. Detective Gordon works in a Gotham police force that is both corrupt and unethical. Gotham is a city run by the inmates. Gordon is the only cop in Gotham who wants to rid the city of the lunatics who run it. Unfortunately, he has to resort to some shady and often unethical means in order to bring a town full of miscreants to justice. Ben McKenzie is the perfect actor to play the valiant and heroic Detective Gordon. The show highlights the beginning of not only Gordon and Batman, but also the rise of iconic super villains such as Catwoman, The Riddler and Penguin. It is in my opinion, the single greatest television show based on a comic.
A show very different from the previous shows mentioned, “Atlanta,” is one of the most creatively unique programs ever to air on television. The show is very political and funny. It is both parody and authentic in looking at today’s hip hop music scene. It pokes fun at society without being preachy. It shatters the myth that the hip hop lifestyle is both glamorous and lucrative. Donald Glover, the star, creator and head writer, is himself in real life the rapper Childish Gambino. He plays Earnest, who manages his cousin, an up and coming rapper named Paper Boi. Earnest and Paper Boi continually have to overcome pitfalls in order to make it to the fame and fortune they both greatly desire. Glover’s frustration as a struggling young man trying to raise his child in a world where money is hard to come by is very moving and shows throughout his portrayal of Earnest. You root for Earnest to make it, and along the way the show keeps you laughing as it points out the hypocrisies of today’s pop culture and society.
I highly recommend that if you haven’t seen any of the aforementioned shows, binge watch them. Both “Gotham” and Luther” are available on NetFlix. “Atlanta” is available on FX prime time on demand. Three more reasons why we are living in a new GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION!