What Black History Month Programming Is On Demand?February 02, 2012

What Black History Month Programming Is On Demand?

Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.


Black History Month - On Demand

By T. Tara Turk


I generally celebrate being black 365 days a year since, well, I’m black and that’s who I am. But having a designated (albeit short) month to celebrate usually calls for the customary cards, parades, and customized television program on some channels. The TV part is my favorite because then we get to peruse some classics that usually go unnoticed in mainstream “Best Of” lists since some tend not to think outside of the regular classics box.

If you’re in the mood to add some culture to your February or you just want to take a dance down memory lane, I found a few titles available on Black Cinema on Xfinity On Demand this month that may help.

For the Beginner:

ROOTS: THE MINI SERIES - One of the most popular mini series of all time. Pre-dvr/vhs/on demand days, folks would actually plan their TV week with TV Guide and this was one series that scored high ratings across the board in the 1970s. And, since we’re spanning the first few hundred years of slavery, every black actor in Hollywood was able to get a job. -

RAY - Jamie Foxx appears to have an out of body experience playing famed musician Ray Charles. This performance was so good, Jamie continued to channel Ray in a Kanye West song. But seriously, not many people know the story of Ray Charles but most seem to benefit from it.

THE COLOR PURPLE - I don’t have a group of friends in my life that doesn’t, in some way, quote from this movie. While Alice Walker’s book about a black girl in the south who grows up beyond expectations touched so many lives, the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, mad a lasting impression with its stellar cast which includes Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery and the late great Adolph Caeser.

MALCOLM X - For a long time, Malcolm was and has been misunderstood as a minister of hate but thanks to Spike Lee’s epic production and the genius of Denzel Washington, this should shed some light on the life of Malcolm while being hugely entertaining to watch.

DREAMGIRLS - Who doesn’t love a little retro glamour, a little heartbreak and some amazing singing from the likes of Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx,Anoki Rose and - GASP - Eddie Murphy! The long running Broadway story rumored to based on Diana Ross and the Supremes, finally made a huge dent at the box office and came away with a few Grammy nods.

For the Experienced:

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What Is Crackle Cracked Up To Be?August 22, 2012

What Is Crackle Cracked Up To Be?


I can’t wait for Crackle to define what it thinks it’s “cool” programming is actually going to be. Intrigued after my fun ride with Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”, I checked out the rest of the programming and wasn’t AS excited with what they’ve got so far but I do see potential.


Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld / Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle)

So far there’s a peculiar collection of bizarre Charlie Murphy skits (I usually LOVE him and think he’s actually funnier now than Eddie Murphy is), passed up reality shows (“Mommy XXX” - about a soccer mom who’s a porn star, David Faustino from “Married With Children” trying to get his career back on track and “Penn Says” with Pen Jillette among other things), Dilbert cartoons, a comic book legend Ed Brubaker/stuntwoman Zoe Bell series “Angel of Death” I really wanted to like and some other bits one would find left over at a pilot season garage sale.


 Crackle has a great idea but its chief obstacle is getting a consensus of what they want “cool” to be. So far they’ve got one of their star directors, Kevin Connolly, doing his own programming list and that’s a fun start. Also, they are pulling newsfeeds from Hit-Fix so it’s fun to see that Angie Harmon wants to play She-Hulk (though that would NEVER be my choice in casting). It looks like selections are based on Sony’s catalog and what your stereotypical guy/couchpotato/sports nut/machismo would like to spend their time watching but cool could be so much more.

It would be great of Crackle did an old school cool section where their programming went back further than the 1990s. Sony Pictures owns Mr. Magoo for crying out loud! Who’s cooler than Magoo? Rather, wouldn’t a cool person want to watch Magoo with their cool kid? How about a little Brando from ON THE WATERFRONT which Sony owns through Columbia? Who’s cooler than Brando?? Well, there are a few cooler than Marlon Brando but they aren’t on the Crackle site.


Dominic Monaghan / “The Unknown” (Crackle)

Also, we females are considered cool from time to time. I respect the valiant effort by including Zoe Bell and having Martha Coolidge direct a few episodes of “The Unknown” with Dominic Monaghan from “Lost” (if you miss “Red Shoe Diaries” on Cinemax and the 1980s “Twilight Zone” then this is the show for you) but give us a little more. You have to dig to find Sony title’s like LA FEMME NIKITA. 

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