You NEED to watch Greenleaf – OWN’s newest hour long drama.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network continues to grow as a channel both creatively and in the ratings. Both of these things spectacularly collided with the debut of Greenleaf.
Greenleaf, created by Craig Wright (Lost, Six Feet Under), follows the Greenleaf family – a powerful family that runs the Calvary Fellowship World Ministries in Memphis Tennessee.
We are introduced to these characters through the eyes of Grace ‘Gigi’ Greenleaf, who returns home following the mysterious death of her sister. To add even more suspense into the mix, Gigi (played by Broadway star Merle Dandridge) has been estranged from her family for nearly 20 years.
In addition to the family dynamics, we learn patriarch Bishop James Greenleaf, the influential head of the megachurch, is held accountable to almost no one as his congregation so blindly adores him. That adoration may be needed in the future as it seems he may be hiding some financial secrets from nearly everyone. The Bishop is played by Julliard trained Keith David, who brings the charisma and power and needed for the role.
Lynn Whitfield plays Lady Mae Greenleaf, the family matriarch. Her relationship with Gigi is, at best, rough, and adds an extremely interesting dynamic to both the family and the show. It seems Gigi’s not so subtle determination to get to the bottom of her sisters death didn’t warrant a welcome home party.
Seemingly one of the only people that is actually happy to have Gigi back is her aunt Mavis, the no nonsense Blues club owner played by Oprah Winfrey. Aunt Mavis, Lady Mae’s sister, doesn’t need a Bible to guide her as she may be the most upstanding character in the series. In fact, Mavis urges her niece to dig deeper into the family secrets. This small, but powerful role, marks Oprah’s first scripted TV role since playing Ellen’s therapist in the groundbreaking 1997 “Coming Out” episode.
Greenleaf is compelling television that is both smart and respectful of it’s content and characters and of it’s audience. It doesn’t pander. It doesn’t dumb down the content for the lowest common denominator. This, coupled with it’s amazing performances, is why the show succeeds. There’s a lot to look forward to in this series and I’ll be along for the ride. You should too!
Download or watch Greenleaf Season 1, Episode 1 “A Time To Heal” free from Apple iTunes!