All the classic Black TV shows Netflix will be streaming


As someone who grew up during the 90s-2000s, the young girl in me shrieked on July 29th when Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) sent out a tweet stating that Netflix had secured the rights to classic Black television shows. This is huge and the first deal of its kind. Someone got the memo and was a massive fan of UPN and its subsidiaries. (And was doing their job as part of the Netflix team dedicated to building content for Black audiences.) Starting this past weekend, Netflix has begun to release these beloved series and will continue to do so throughout the fall. The first show released was Moesha, which premiered to an entirely new audience on August 1. With ‘rona still running rampant outdoors, it’s nice to have some sense of nostalgia to switch your mind off reality for a bit, back when life appeared a little more simple and had a studio laugh track. If you’ve never watched these popular shows, here’s a guide with an iconic episode to start with for each series.


Moesha: Now on Netflix

Originally ordered as a pilot for CBS and then rejected, ‘Moesha’ was picked up by UPN mid-season and became one of the channel’s greatest hits. Photo: UPN

Moesha stars 90s R&B singer, Brandy Norwood as the lead character, Moesha Mitchell, the eldest daughter in a happy-go-lucky family in a suburb of Los Angeles.

Episode to Watch: The Whistle Blower

Crenshaw High’s star basketball player Terry Hightower (guest-starring basketball legend, Kobe Bryant), asks Moesha for help on the upcoming S.A.T. She declines and persuades him to attempt it on his own. After he scores big on the test, everyone believes Mo did it, and Terry is forced to take it again. 


The Game: August 15 

New York Times critic Jon Caramanica once called ‘The Game’ a precursor to “reality television about the semi-famous” because of the numerous stars who played themselves on the show, like Robin Givens and Rick Fox. Photo: BET

The Game is a comedy about three women (Tia Mowry, Wendy Robinson, and Brittany Daniel) in relationships with three hard-working football players. The series explores the joys and downfalls existing within their relationships, with frequent athlete and celebrity appearances.

Episode to Watch: The Trey Wiggs Fallout

Melanie (Tia Mowry) learns that Derwin (Pooch Hall) is still in his feelings about her friendship with one of his old football rivals, so she decides to make it up to him. However, Derwin refuses to acknowledge the issue further pushes her away. 

Sister Sister: September 1

‘Sister Sister’ aired on UPN from 1994-1999 with a premise straight out of the 90s: Twin sisters separated at birth and reunited by accident in a Detroit mall. Photo: UPN

Tia and Tamera Mowry play twins who were separated at birth and coincidentally run into each other at a shopping mall. AH, gotta love the early 90s plot lines! Ray Campbell, Tamera’s adopted father, is very different from Tia’s adopted mother, Lisa Landry. Still, the twins don’t want to be separated, forcing everyone to live together. The series focuses on the trouble the twins get into it because of them being ya know, twins! 


Episode to Watch: You Are so Beautiful

After an ugly encounter with last year’s prom queen, the twins start feeling insecure about their looks and question Ray and Lisa about their birth mother.


Girlfriends: September 11

From left, Jill Marie Jones, Persia White, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Golden Brooks of ‘Girlfriends,’ originally on UPN. Photo: Darien Davis/Paramount Pictures

Girlfriends, to me, was ahead of its time. It was similar to a Black Sex & the City but far more relatable. The show is an honest depiction of what Black women may face as it pertains to their career, family, and personal lives. 


Episode to Watch: Trick or Truth 

Toni (Jill Marie Jones) suffers an emotional breakdown after realizing her boyfriend only took her back for revenge. Lynn (Persia White) and Maya (Golden Brooks) try to help her get it back together, while Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) is less than sympathetic. 


The Parkers: October 1

There were rumors of ‘The Parkers’ getting a reboot. For now it’s just getting a re-airing. Photo: UPN

The Parkers was a spin-off of popular UPN show MoeshaThe Parkers feature the mother-daughter team of Nikki (played by Mo’Nique) and Kim Parker (played by Countess Vaughn) as they get themselves into plenty of hi-jinks and laugh-out-loud moments.


Episode to Watch: Bad to the Bone

Nikki gets involved in Professor Oglevee’s mentor program, acting as a big sister for a 12-year-old girl named Shaquilla who’s a handful and soon alienates Kim and her professor. 


Half & Half: October 15

Next to ‘Girlfriends,’ ‘Half & Half’ was the second-most watched show on UPN’s Monday night lineup. Photo: UPN

Half & Half centers around the lives of two estranged half-sisters Mona (Rachel True) and DeeDee (Essence Atkins), who live in the same apartment building in San Francisco. Mona, the eldest, is level-headed and responsible, while DeeDee is bubbly and fashionable. Through the series, the half-sisters grow to love each other and learn to accept their differences. 


Episode to Watch: The Big ‘Who You Gonna Call’ Episode

Mona decides to put herself first and dates two men, who couldn’t be more different, leading to complications. On the flip side, DeeDee begins to date someone who puts health before everything. 


One on One: October 15

‘One on One’ attracted a number of celebrities over its 2001-2006 run, with everyone from TLC to Solange Knowles making guest appearances. Photo: UPN

Flex Alexander stars as a single sportscaster who suddenly becomes a full-time dad when his ex-wife accepts a job out of the country, and his teenage daughter, Breanna (Kyla Pratt), moves in with him. The situational comedy focuses on redefining relationships in modern families.


Episode to Watch: When Flex got Breanna

The pilot sets up the tone for the show perfectly. You automatically get the characters and understand that family (no matter how it looks) is at the heart of everything.

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