WCSU

Eric Deggans

Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson has a way with words that borders on magic. At least, it seems that way after watching a few episodes of CBS's newest police drama reboot, S.W.A.T.

In the new show, beefcake star Shemar Moore is Hondo, a nonwhite guy (the show isn't more specific) from a tough neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles who winds up leading a Special Weapons and Tactics police unit. Every chance he gets, he defuses tension with suspects or crime victims (often people of color) by telling them about his hardscrabble background.

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Who exactly was Whitney Houston?

Was she the radiantly beautiful pop princess who earned the love of mainstream America with enduring hits like I Will Always Love You?

Was she the down-to-Earth onetime gospel singer from the 'hood in Newark who couldn't believe when the crowd at the 1989 Soul Train Awards booed her as a sellout to black music?

It may be the most explosive response ever to a TV show that hasn't shot a frame, doesn't have a script, or even a plot written yet.

All we know is HBO's Confederate will be a TV show set in a modern America where the Confederacy never lost the Civil War and slavery still exists. After days at the center of the controversy, Executive Producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman says the experience has been like getting "a crash course in crazy."

It sounds like the title to an awful, self-confessional memoir: Everything I learned about fatherhood, I learned from TV. But, as Father's Day approaches, this TV nerd finds himself reflecting on exactly that, the surprising lessons about fatherhood and parenting that came to me from iconic figures on the small screen.

As a TV critic who keeps an eye on social issues, I've long been critical of ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises. They urge viewers to believe completely contrived events are somehow spontaneous. They also support an unhealthy princess fantasy in which romance is conflated with an upper-middle class wonderland filled with reality TV fame and luxury resort getaways.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The centerpiece of the Black History Month programming on the cable channel BET is a miniseries called "Madiba." "Madiba" is a three-night special on the life of Nelson Mandela. It debuts tonight. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has this review.

Lee Daniels is known as a fiercely creative producer with a taste for controversy. He regularly tackles gay issues, race and class in the hit TV drama he co-created for Fox, Empire, and his new series for the network, Star.

But when I caught up to him after a press conference and asked how he felt about the election of Donald Trump, Daniels got unexpectedly emotional.

Issa Rae knows she is committing a revolutionary act by simply creating a TV show centered on an average black woman's life.

And she can't believe it.

"Isn't it sad that it's revolutionary?" says Rae, whose new comedy Insecure, debuts on HBO Sunday night. "It's so basic ... but we don't get to do that. We don't get to just have a show about regular black people being basic."

As protests over police shootings of black men top the news, Netflix debuts a show on Friday about a bulletproof black man. It's called Marvel's Luke Cage, and it's based on one of Marvel Comics' first black superheroes.

Step into executive producer and showrunner Cheo Coker's cramped office in Hollywood, and you face a wall plastered with comic books from the 1970s and '80s. "That's where my love of comics started." he says. "Because when I read those I mean I was, what, sixth grade?"

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