This summer TV viewers spent Sunday evenings two ways: preparing for Winter’s arrival, or building their case to free Ghost. Somewhere between medieval Europe and present-day NYC, I’ve resided in the sticky, heat of south Florida in TNT’s Claws.
The dark comedy focuses on a tight-knit group of nail technicians whose dreams of better says are numbered by a colorfully dangerous drug kingpin. With a stellar cast, sharp writing and the perfect mix of humor and heart, here are five reasons why Claws is arguably one of the best shows of 2017.
- Full-fledged women characters – Like Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Claws is a female-driven show with five strong complex characters – all varying races and backgrounds. Unlike OITNB, access to this tapestry of womanhood isn’t fixed through a white woman. None are mere plot devices, or two-dimensional. It does a great job of humanizing each woman to the point where anyone can relate to their circumstance.
- Niecy Nash – The comedienne who supported laughs on Reno 911 and The Bernie Mac Show has finally landed the lead role. After earning praise and a nomination for Showtime’s critically-acclaimed Getting On, Nash showcases the full berth of her talent as the matriarch figure, Desna. She’s smart and resourceful, especially for her family; yet, sometimes is the most fragile when it comes to her own problems. She’s the Olivia Pope of the Florida nail industry and deserves nomination consideration next year.
- Inclusion – Claws’ range of representation feels authentic. The show depicts characters often underrepresented on television with a wholeness. From the sexually fluid drug kingpin (Dean Norris); to Desna’s autistic, bodybuilding brother (Harold Perrineau). Countless times casting “others” involves a quota checklist. Characters assigned specific duties – comic relief or sexual prowess. This diminishes the humanness of a character. And its why we watch a show, to connect and relate to other human beings.
- Supporting Cast – The show boasts one of the most eclectic and strongest supporting casts this year. From Norris and Perrineau, to Carrie Preston’s incredibly vibrant portrayal of Polly. But no one surprises more than ex-girlfriend -turned-actress Karreuche Tran. Tran’s Virginia is young and dumb, but carries so much heart. She holds her own among acting giants throughout the series.
- It’s GOOD – Many of summers have come and gone with shows who wanted to do what Claws does but couldn’t. ABC’s Mistresses and Lifetime’s Devious Maids comes to mind. Not since Desperate Housewives has a show perfectly mixed intense drama, smart comedy and real heart. Even if the show swings in the guilty-pleasure realm at times, it still at its core delivers.