NVTV 26: Black-Ish Halloween

Big strides for Black-Ish this week despite the absence of the show's usual MVP. The list of terrible child actors has shrunk from four to three as Yara Shahidi showed off some impressive deadpan chops. Charley Murphy returned, and was deployed with a bit more expertise. Tracee Ellis Ross turned in her usual great work but was actually given something to work with, and Anthony Anderson got to be more than just a narrator. The jokes were the most consistent they've been so far, and while the ending was telegraphed, it was also an ending that worked for the show, and didn't sell out any of its characters. Perhaps most importantly, after six weeks of pretending to be about race, Black-Ish actually showed some teeth with it's racial humor (mostly at the office).

On the negative side, the show still feels compelled to hold its audience's hand a bit too much... though sadly they may be a necessity for a hit network sitcom these days; Black-Ish is curb stomping every other show I'm reviewing in the ratings despite being somewhere in the middle of the pack qualitatively. Three out of four child actors are still butchering otherwise good material (the oldest son was particularly brutal this week, turning on-paper funny material into a real snore), and Pop's was conspicuous by his absence; since that absence likely means Hannibal is shooting again, I'm ok with it, but within the realm of Black-Ish less Pops is worrisome as he's been their most consistently funny character thus far. 

Overall, big thumbs up for this week relative to last week, and a moderate thumbs up in a vacuum.