For the oldheads among us, the double victory run of the studio system acknowledging that a) there’s an audience for ‘Atlanta’, ‘Insecure’, and ‘Get Out’, and b) not only that, but it’s quality storytelling, continues with the Netflix version of Justin Simien’s ‘Dear White People.’ And I know I’m not the first to say this, but I agree it’s an improvement over the film. Taking full advantage of the platform, a line of dialogue in the film that serves as backstory is nearly always fleshed out into a half hour episode that gives the audience more empathy for ‘why’ even characters you may not gravitate toward, do the things that they do.
Was the film geek in me biased from episode one with the ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ visual tributes? Sure, but nods like this are subtle in each episode. (Quick setup for the completely uninitiated: like the film, the story is set off when a blackface party is thrown by one of the fraternities on a predominantly white campus). Justin directed a few of the episodes, I noted Tina Mabry’s name in the credits, but if you have to pick one episode, yes, the now Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins ‘Episode V’ is the strongest.
Ten not quite half hours. I honestly wasn’t planning on getting through the whole season in one weekend, but sometimes the story keeps you that engaged.
Check it out.