Diversity is an aspiration pretty much every medium in every corner of the world now wants to reflect in its characters, from the might of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the US to tiny wee BBC Three in the UK. However, while some ‘minorities’, such as women and LGBT+, are present all over the world, others aren’t, so what’s diverse in one country is simply the old paradigm in another.
It’s all very well a US show highlighting its Puerto Rican and Native American cast members, but where are the Maori, a New Zealand viewer might ask? How about Asians or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, asks an Australian viewer? And in the UK, we might wonder about the lack of Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, Polish, Pakistani and northern English actors, and that’s before we start thinking about middle class v working class representation.
In Canada, which claims Toronto as the most diverse city in the world, questions about diversity on TV are often similar to those in the US. Here, Canada’s Roger Cross Full Employment Act ensures that black Canadians are always represented – albeit by Roger Cross – in virtually every TV show. Similarly, there’s Blood and Water for Chinese Canadians.
Putting debates about whether that’s sufficient to one side, that’s all very admirable. But as with all attempts at diversity, those initiatives cater to the largest groups, but not all groups. Where, one might ask – particularly if one were from the UK and considering questions of diversity – are the shows about Indian Canadians?
Indeed, one Indian Canadian asked herself that very question and not getting an answer, made her own TV show starring herself.
Indian-Canadian Supinder Wraich created The 410 after seeing an episode of High Maintenance in which a young Muslim woman tries to buy cannabis – “That was probably the first time I’d seen a South Asian woman represented without hero qualities or desirable qualities or, ‘Oh, she’s a doctor’ or a lawyer or an accountant and she fits into this stereotype”.
It follows would be Instagram influencer Suri, whose life starts to fall apart when her trucker father is arrested for possessing sizeable quantities of cocaine.
What’s worse is that returning home after nearly a year away, she soon discovers more cocaine and not having the cash to pay for bail, comes up with a scheme to get the money…
Every Tuesday, TMINE flags up what new TV events BAFTA is holding around the UK
TMINE’s regular BAFTA updates are often surprising popular. I imagine this final (?) addition to May’s schedule might be even more popular than usual, though…
TV Preview: Good Omens + Q&A
Thursday, 30 May 2019 6:30pm Odeon Luxe, Glasgow Quay, Glasgow
The end of the world is coming, which means a fussy Angel (Michael Sheen) and a loose-living Demon (David Tennant) who’ve become overly fond of life on Earth are forced to form an unlikely alliance to stop Armageddon.
Good Omens follows the duo who have lost the Antichrist, an 11-year-old boy unaware he’s meant to bring upon the end of days, forcing them to embark on an adventure to find him and save the world before it’s too late…
The Amazon Original, based on the beloved book by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, is directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Sherlock – The Abominable Bride) and also stars Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Richardson, Adria Arjona, Michael McKean, Mireille Enos, among many others.
Good Omens is produced by Amazon Studios, BBC Studios, Blank Corporation and Narrativia.
This screening will preview two episodes of the new series and will be followed by a Q&A with director Douglas Mackinnon.
Alfred Hitchcock famously said that drama is life with the dull bits cut out. If so, you’d think that SundanceTV’s State of the Union would be a little bit more exciting, given that its 10 episodes are just 10 minutes long, so it should be able to cut about just about everything dull in life. Alas no.
Despite its US name and US network, State of the Union is virtually all British and Irish talent in front of and behind the camera. Written by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) and directed by Stephen Frears, it sees Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Get Shorty) and Rosamund Pike playing a not so happily married couple London couple. Each episode is set in the pub where the two meet before heading over the road for marriage counselling.
And that’s it. We never see the counselling sessions themselves and for the most part, the only other characters we see are two couples Pike and O’Dowd observe coming out of the preceding sessions, usually in a state of emotional shock.
Although Aisling Bea does turn up for about three minutes in one episode. That was a highlight in a show that is for the most part, all the bits of life left after the drama is taken out.