After more than a year away, “Dear White People” returned to Netflix on August 2 with volume three. The latest batch of episodes continues to explore life at Winchester, a fictional ivy league university brimming with racial tension. So where does the show stand in its junior year?
As of this writing season three of the satire has a MetaCritic score of 77 based on six reviews counted thus far — five of them positive, one of them somewhat mixed. That’s lower than the 85 for season one and the 89 for season two, but while one critic, Robyn Bahr (Hollywood Reporter) says the new season is a “minor disappointment,” she prefaces that by saying that it’s still “one of the best shows on TV that you might not be watching.” These episodes are also being described as “lighter, funnier, more relaxed,” pushing its characters “toward thrilling new beginnings.” It “captures the boundless mood of college life” better than any other TV series.
Created by Justin Simien based on his 2014 independent film, the series picks up after its season two cliffhanger that introduced Sam White (Logan Browning) and Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton) to the Order of X, a secret society on the lookout for black excellence. And there are more big changes, like Sam stepping away from her on-campus radio show that gives “Dear White People” its title, Lionel exploring gay life on campus, and Troy (Brandon P. Bell) joining the ranks of the college’s controversial humor magazine.
What do you think of the changes on Netflix’s satirical campus? Check out some of the reviews below, and discuss this and more with your fellow TV fans in our forums.
Darren Franich (Entertainment Weekly): “‘Dear White People’ captures the boundless mood of college life better than any TV series I’ve ever seen. To be clear, this witty satire pinpoints a hyperspecific bubble in a bubble, living within and around multiple black communities at an Ivy League college … But in the astounding third season, creator Justin Simien pushes his characters toward thrilling new beginnings.”
Malcolm Venable (TV Guide): “Up ’til now, it’s been a serious show that happened to be funny. In Season 3, the formula flips: ‘Dear White People’ is a very funny show with serious stories to tell, and it’s more enjoyable than ever … ‘DWP’ is now a lighter, funnier, more relaxed version of itself, with more of an emphasis on characters’ internal conflicts.”
Matt Zoller Seitz (Vulture): “This sort of thing won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, clearly …. Some subplots and characters get lost along the way, but here, too, there are gems of dialogue and performance and a breakout performance by a new cast member, Griffin Michaels, who plays D’unte, the openly gay teacher’s assistant who acts as a cultural Sherpa to Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton) as he navigates his new identity.”
Robyn Bahr (Hollywood Reporter): “In its third season, ‘Dear White People’ remains one of the best shows on TV that you might not be watching. Justin Simien’s Netflix adaptation of his Sundance-toasted feature is a paragon of movie-to-TV adaptations, putting trenchant social commentary and deftly written dialogue in the mouths of an ensemble of future stars … But the third season still stands as a minor disappointment.”
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 22. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.
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