Tamera Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry

6 Iconic Black TV Shows That Deserve a Reboot

Uncover 6 timeless black TV shows that not only entertained but also sparked important conversations. Dive into a world longing for their epic comebacks.


Feb. 19 2024, Published 11:14 a.m. ET

The ‘90s and early 2000s were a magical era for Black television. Iconic shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air filled our TV screens with brilliance and stories that resonated. These shows weren’t just phenomenal; they were the very embodiment of black excellence. Beyond their entertainment value, they were pioneers, tackling issues like racism that resonate even more profoundly in today’s world.

Strides toward inclusion and fair representation on film and TV shows have long been an ongoing process for Black actors. Great TV shows have won us over and inspired new generations of Black actors, directors, and writers to make stories. This is just as important today as it was 20 years ago. As noted by McKinsey & Co, "Today, Black Americans make up 13.4 percent of the US population, and that percentage will increase over the next few decades.2 Just as the racial wealth gap is constraining the US economy, the film and TV industry will continue to leave money on the table if it fails to advance racial equity."

It is time to look back and regain that old inspiration with some fond memories. So, walk down memory lane with us as we explore six iconic black TV shows that deserve a reboot.

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Black TV Shows That Fans Are Eager to See Revived

Here are six classic black TV shows that were so iconic they had us glued to the TV and deserve a reboot:

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1. ‘Girlfriends’

Girlfriends might be over a decade old now, but it certainly needs a spin-off. The show chronicles the lives and friendships of four African-American women navigating career, love, and personal growth. It stands out for its authentic portrayal of the ups and downs of being a modern Black woman in America.

Given the evolving landscape of gender dynamics, societal expectations, and burning social issues like racial tensions and skin color, a new season with an all-new cast would be an excellent way to offer fresh perspectives on contemporary issues. Note Netflix did add it to its library in 2020. So, catch up if you were too young to understand it or missed out on some episodes.

2. ‘Smart Guy’

Being exceptionally intelligent at a young age is a curse and a blessing, as this iconic Black show from 1997 proves. The plot centers on a 10-year-old genius navigating high school and dealing with the fact that his move up to high school is somewhat of an aggravation to his teenage siblings.

In the current era, where themes of early education, child prodigies, and societal pressures on young minds are prevalent, Black families need something to latch on to and enjoy with a new generation. A reboot of Smart Guy could offer a lighthearted yet insightful exploration of intelligence and adolescence that parents could share and enjoy with their children today.

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3. ‘South Central’

South Central was a short-lived but impactful drama series that offered a realistic portrayal of life in South Central Los Angeles. The show focuses on the struggles and triumphs of a single mother, Joan Mosley, as she tries to keep her family together amid societal challenges.

Given the key actor that set the show in motion is the loss of a child, there are some dark and impactful issues that still echo in Black communities today. The show touched on issues like gun violence and racism, and with the current societal focus on these themes, a reboot could offer a platform for nuanced storytelling. It would lend its platform to the messages Black community members are trying to speak to still today.

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4. ‘Sister Sister’

If you love comfort TV with a touch of underrepresented social issues Sister Sister fits the bill. This ‘90s show revolves around Tia and Tamera, identical twins who reunite after being separated at birth. The chaos, heartbreak, love, and unity that is found with this new family that is thrown together resonates with many Black families, which made it a very popular show.

It perfectly blends humor, heart, and the ups and downs of sisterhood, all while exploring themes like adoption, family dynamics, and the unique challenges of being a teen in a modern world. Rebooting this show could breathe some much-needed fresh air into the Black TV show production line.

5. ‘Moesha’

Losing a parent is hard and comes with numerous life changes, as Moesha, a teenager navigating the challenges of adolescence and parent loss in the show Moesha, demonstrates. From her struggles with identity, drugs, violence, and racism to family and relationships, the show tackles so many issues that a lot of shows in that era didn’t want to touch.

Moesha depicts what most teens go through in any generation, and a spin-off could delve into the complexities of adolescence in the digital age, exploring issues like social media and identity. It is a message and a situation that is as applicable today as it was when it first aired. Young Black teens could use a reboot to give them hope that they are not alone in their struggles.

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6. ‘The Proud Family’

Black animated Disney shows weren’t as many in the early years of television, but the few that did make it to families' TV screens were nothing short of brilliant. The Proud Family is a testament to this. An animated gem, The Proud Family follows the life of Penny Proud and her family and gives an interesting look at Black family dynamics.

It gave a humorous take on typical teenage issues and larger social topics. With animation gaining renewed popularity and a growing appetite for diverse family narratives, a reboot would be a great way to address issues relevant to today’s youth.

Rediscovering Classic Black TV Shows

As we navigate the landscape of television, revisiting the iconic black shows of the past sparks nostalgia and a collective desire for their revival. These shows entertained and addressed socially relevant issues, making them timeless and worth rediscovering. While it is important to keep pushing the envelope and creating new shows for Black actors, directors, and writers, we can also take cues from the past. Shows that worked well and captivated audiences could be used to continue keeping the focus on inclusion and diversity in television. What do you think? Did you love these Black TV shows? Are there others you would love to see as a reboot as well?

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