Like sequels to movies, spinoffs for television shows are traditionally underwhelming. So you could imagine my disappointment when I learned that Blackish would be getting its own spinoff starring Yara Shahidi as Zoey, going to college. Don’t get me wrong; I love Yara Shahidi (in my mind we are best friends and one day this will become a reality), but I didn’t know how the themes of blackish would be converted to a college campus. What if it sucked? What if this new spinoff which was unnamed at the time was completely terrible? These along with several other questions began to swirl in my mind as I anxiously awaited the premiere.
When Grownish finally premiered on January 3 I was pleasantly surprised, Yara Shahidi is joined by a delightful cast made up of some of the coolest people in young hollywood. Chloe and Halle, the musical sister duo who are often linked to Beyonce as a result of being signed to her label and their appearance in Lemonade, play Jazz and Sky, student track stars who’s attitudes are slicker than their baby hairs. Trevor Jackson, whose fine face you may have recognized from several guest appearances on Disney Channel shows such as K.C. Undercover, Austin and Ally, and Disney Channel movie Let It Shine, stars as Aaron an unapologetically black and often unspoken sophomore student who still is somehow ridiculously cute with a ducktail braid. Another face you may have recognized from the cast is Francia Raisa, who starred on another well known Freeform show back when it was called ABC Family. Raisa played Adrian on Secret Life Of An American Teenager and now returns to the channel as Ana. Ana is Zoey’s republican roommate. Their relationship starts off rocky at first, but, after some time, they grow to love one another. Emily Arlook, Jordan Buhat, and Luka Sabbat round out the cast of Zoey’s new college friends.
Grownish does not disappoint and almost effortlessly translates the comedic genius of blackish to a different stage. The series has already discussed the juggling act of dating in college, drug abuse, and the pressure that falls on student athletes all in the span of five episodes. Despite the new environment of the fictional Cal-U (California University) campus, Zoey remains true to her character. Still the perfect combination of #blackgirlmagic and #ohnobabywhatisyoudoing, Zoey confidently heads into a world unknown and I can’t wait to see what she discovers next. Grownish airs every Wednesday at 8 on Freeform and is also available on Freeform apps, on demand, and Hulu. I obviously highly recommend it and hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.