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September 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s no question that a TV comedy that focuses on race relations and titled blackish represents a bold and risky move by ABC-TV executives. TV critic David Hinkley in the New York Daily News summed up the premise this way: "The show revolves around being black in a white world." His conclusion about tonight’s (Wednesday) debut: "It’s funny. It’s also scattered, and in the first episode it doesn’t push envelopes or test edges." Like other critics, Verne Gay in Newsday compares the series with The Cosby Show of the ’80s. "Cosby was essentially colorblind — a powerful manifesto on racial equality that mined humor in the universal (kids, school, marriage),"he writes. "blackish is so mindful of color that it’s even in the title. Everything here is about race: every line, joke, riff, aside, sigh, grimace and outburst. Yes, blackish can be fiercely funny, sharply observed, and unfailingly good-humored about the racial divide. But just beyond that glossy surface is a serious and even compelling undercurrent. It’s a show about shifting cultural identities in a mass-market world that has appropriated that identity … to sell stuff." Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times concludes that the series premiere appears "much more admirable in its intent than its execution, a better conversation-starter than episode. It has funny moments … but the first half-hour of blackish often seems intimidated by its own ambitions." Robert Bianco in USA Today expresses the believe that the show has "the potential to change the TV landscape." He praises "the good humor" with which the show’s writers treat "heavy subjects. He concludes: "While the big set pieces are very funny, there are too many lulls between them. But odds are you’ll come away believing the show will get better and hoping it does — because TV will be all the better for it." James Poniewozik, the TV critic for Time magazine, points out that ABC only allowed critics to view the first episode of the series, which, he says, "is not enough to judge its trajectory-whether it will stay as focused on its state-of-blackness premise or become like its schedule partner Modern Family, which foregrounds its how-we-live-now alternafamily themes once in a while. For now, I can only say what I want to hear about any new half-hour: it happens to be funny."