For a while there, Netflix's deep pockets meant that pretty much any show could find its way to a quick renewal, even if it seemed like nobody was watching or talking about it. That trend has ceased in the last year or two. Suddenly, there seems to be a kind of invisible three-season cap on all but the highest-rated, most-buzzy shows. (And of course, "highest-rated" is a relative term, since Netflix doesn't make its subscriber data public.) The recent cancellations of shows like One Day at a Time and Santa Clarita Diet after their respective third seasons makes the upcoming season of Dear White People feel all the more precarious. The show has been a huge critical success, but with a lack of Emmy attention or any indication that viewership is high, there's reason to worry that Season 3 could be the show's last.
NEW SEASON: It would be a shame if this is the final season of Dear White People. Creator Justin Simien adapted his own indie film — set on a fictional elite college campus where America's racial tensions have come to a boil — into a series where the anxieties and realities of the Trump administration are played out in dozens of ways. Boasting one of the most underrated casts on TV — including Logan Browning, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Antoinette Robertson, DeRon Horton, and Brandon P. Bell — it's a show that blends ever-more-satisfying character arcs with challenging socio-political stances, and ideally, it's just hitting its stride. Streaming on Netflix
SERIES PREMIERE: Creator Robin Thede teamed up with Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis, and Quinta Brunson to create A Black Lady Sketch Show. This one has the stamp of approval of executive producer Issa Rae (Insecure) and touches on topics like social norms, anxiety, religion, sex, dating, and relationships. The first episode features Oscar-nominated guest star Angela Bassett. Also this season, look for the likes of Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, Patti LaBelle, Gina Torres, Loretta Devine, Lil Rel Howery, Natasha Rothwell, and Kelly Rowland. 11:00 PM ET on HBO
NEW SEASON: Northern Ireland in the 1990s never seemed quite so appealing until Netflix imported the Channel 4 series Derry Girls, which is returning for a second season. As our Aaron Barnhart discussed in his review of Season 1, this madcap comedy about five working-class Catholic schoolkids isn't for the faint of heart, but it is funny as hell.
Streaming on Netflix
SEASON PREMIERE: It's more tears, more action, and more drama than ever before, as Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team returns to CMT for its 14th season. If you haven't been following the action in our forums, this season they're working with elite choreographers, including So You Think You Can Dance's Travis Wall and Tyce Diorio, as well as pop choreographer Charm La'donna. 9:00 PM ET on CMT
Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.