Roc was one of the highlights of Fox’s early days as a network, when much of their programming was built around catering directly to the African-American audience.  Set in Baltimore, the dramedy centered around a hard working garbageman, his wife, and his father and brother as they dealt with day to day life. 

On to the tale of the tape…

Relevance:  I genuinely wonder if a show like this will ever appear on network television again.  A group of Broadway bred black actors led by Charles Dutton, Roc and its storylines would often speak directly to issues that effected the lower middle class portion of the black community.  I genuinely wonder if a show like this will ever appear on network television again.  Did I already say that?  Doesn’t matter, it’s a genuine concern.

Legacy:  To the benefit of this list but the detriment of black television, there are very few if any shows like this on anymore.  And there’s some direct and indirect connections to another Baltimore based show that would appear on the scene later, a little show called The Wire.  SPOILER ALERT: This won’t be the only time The Wire is mentioned in the context of this countdown.  With the training of the actors that appeared regularly on Roc, it’s not much of a stretch to think an Oscar winner came from this show.  But who would have guessed it would be Crazy George (Jamie Foxx)?

Craft:  To take advantage of the stage training of all the principals, the second season was filmed entirely live.  The whole season, not one or two episodes.  That hasn’t happened since.  No surprise, but this was consistently one of the best shows on television during its time, both in content and performance.

Crossover:  Not much honestly.  Cult classic is not even an appropriate term here; you just had to be there.  Black people loved it, but it was always one of the lowest rated shows on.

Apollo:  The nature of the show, especially the live second season, opened the door for a lot of ‘WHAT?’ moments.  As the series progressed, a drug dealing character named Andre surfaced.  While most of the other characters had shades of gray, Andre was bad.  Credit for remembering this goes to a close friend, but just to make sure you know how bad of a guy Andre was, he delivered the immortal line, “I sell drugs to kids!”  I’m not doing it justice here, but he was a bad, bad guy (who eventually chose to reform his ways).

The countdown continues next month…