Though I’ve been skeptical of shows naming themselves after a city in the past, Atlanta cured me of that. It’s a show that, as an Atlantan, I’m proud of not only for its creative merits, but for how it represents the city. No city can be represented fully by just one story, but there can be a truth to it that is universal. Detroiters also achieved both a niche and broad tale of its city, again as a half-hour series. Hopefully, The Chi — which comes from Lena Waithe, Common, and Elwood Reid — will live up to the bar these other shows have set.
The hourlong Showtime drama is set up as coming-of-age story, and a heartfelt new trailer certainly shows it has style. But if it wants to stand out in this crowded Peak TV arena, it’s going to need more than that; it’s going to need to grab us out of the gate with heart, humor, and honesty. That’s no small feat, but I trust in Lena Waithe, who recently won an Emmy for Master of None. The Chi could be one of 2018’s best.
Check out the full trailer below:
The Chi premieres January 7th at 10 p.m., and stars Jason Mitchell, Jacob Latimore, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross, Armando Riesco, Tiffany Boone, Steven Williams, Sonja Sohn, and Jason Mitchell. Here’s the official synopsis:
Produced entirely in its namesake city, THE CHI is a timely coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption. The ensemble cast includes Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Jacob Latimore (Sleight), Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Queen of Katwe), Alex Hibbert (Moonlight), Yolonda Ross (Treme, The Get Down), Armando Riesco (Bull) and Tiffany Boone (The Following). Kevin (Hibbert) is the pre-teen who must step past shattered illusions and embrace the normal rites of childhood, while Brandon (Mitchell) the dreamer makes his own nearly impossible leap of faith to succeed in life and love with girlfriend Jerrika (Boone). Emmett (Latimore) is the carefree teen thrust into complex responsibility with guidance from his mother Jada (Ross), and Ronnie (Mwine) is the drifter whose struggle to love and be loved calls into question his every pursuit. Sonja Sohn (The Wire), Jahking Guillory (Kicks), and Steven Williams (The Leftovers) recur. In addition to Waithe, Common and Reid, Aaron Kaplan (Santa Clarita Diet, Divorce) serves as executive producer along with Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), who also directed the premiere episode, and Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone of Freedom Road Productions. The series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios.