'Black-ish' spins off to college with 'Grown-ish'

Thirty years ago "The Cosby Show" shipped one of its daughters off to college, creating the spinoff "A Different Worl...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 4:29 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 4:29 AM

Thirty years ago "The Cosby Show" shipped one of its daughters off to college, creating the spinoff "A Different World." "Black-ish" pulls off a similar operation with "Grown-ish," a good-ish comedy whose change of venue also represents a sign of the synergistic times.

That's because instead of joining its sitcom parent on ABC, "Grown-ish" actually lands on Freeform, the sister cable network (both are owned by Disney) with the terrible name. The placement reflects the program's demographic skew -- catering to a younger female audience -- but still feels a bit puzzling in terms of breaking up this made-for-TV family.

Setting that aside, the series -- also from showrunner Kenya Barris -- has an assured, polished feel, starring Yara Shahidi as Zoey, now a first-year college student. She's quickly surrounded by an eclectic cast of new characters, while the show also somewhat awkwardly imports "Black-ish" co-star Deon Cole, which feels more like an unnecessary security blanket than anything else.

Over the course of three previewed episodes, Zoey deals with the usual assortment of coming-of-age challenges, from a crush on one of her classmates -- who might not feel the same way -- to clashing with the obligatory mean girl.

"Grown-ish" doesn't shy away from more serious issues, including an episode that features Zoey's introduction to uppers -- or "academic steroids," as a friend calls them -- as she struggles to stay up late nights in order to get a paper done.

Still, the show makes its debut amid an age of TV abundance, with no shortage of series about this stage of life, including Netflix's "Dear White People," which addresses situations from the perspective of African-American students in a more ambitious and provocative way.

Taken on its own, "Grown-ish" has its charms, beginning with Shahidi, who captures the excitement of her new freedom as well as the vulnerability in being out on her own. That said, it's going to take a bit more of the flashes of edge exhibited to make this seem like more than a slightly more grown-up version of the Disney Channel shows that broadly chronicle every facet of the high-school/teen/tween spectrum.

The show clearly possesses promise. Yet despite passing that first test, "Grown-ish" is going to need to do some more growing to avoid getting lost in the crowd.

"Grown-ish" premieres Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. on Freeform.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 68503

Reported Deaths: 867
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15561230
Washington940198
Marion8650135
Clackamas568777
Umatilla421248
Lane405040
Jackson357925
Malheur234942
Deschutes207414
Yamhill161516
Linn131019
Polk114015
Douglas88217
Jefferson79811
Union7463
Klamath7454
Benton7447
Morrow6357
Lincoln60014
Wasco49719
Josephine4824
Columbia4573
Coos4061
Hood River3751
Clatsop3450
Baker2703
Crook2086
Grant1301
Curry1202
Tillamook1150
Lake1131
Harney901
Wallowa703
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00
Eugene
Overcast
38° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 38°
Corvallis
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Roseburg
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
North Bend
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 51°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events