Mass media has changed incredibly since the first television set was invented — and we’re not just talking about the fact that we went from big backs with antennas to flat screens with “smart” capabilities. How we digest TV is different, sure, but there’s also been a huge shift in what we’re digesting when we kick back and pick up a remote.
Having been born from a generation of people who survived, despite insurmountable odds, millennials appreciate the need to shake things up, air out the dirty laundry, and cash in on justice that is long due. Pair that angst with our mass media obsession, and we have television that provokes, documentaries that force you to come face-to-fave with your own personal traumas, and stories that are so triggering you literally have to prepare for internal war before tuning in.
These must-see shows listed below are extremely difficult to watch, but you’d be remiss to turn a blind eye.
WHEN THEY SEE US
When They See Us follows five Black and Hispanic teens who are wrongfully imprisoned for the rape of a Central Park jogger. Triggering, to say the least, the four-part documentary sheds light on what it means to be a person of color in America, an extremely painful reality to come to terms with.
Michael Jackson‘s career was plagued by accusations of pedophilia. STILL, he somehow died a legend. Leaving Neverland, a two-part documentary, takes a look at the alleged abuse Wade Robson and James Safechuck suffered at the hands of Jackson — and how that abuse affected their lives forever.
SURVIVING R. KELLY
R. Kelly dodged sexual accusations for decades, but Lifetime may have finally sealed his fate with their six-part Surviving R. Kelly documentary. Featuring several victims, former members of his team, and family — all giving their accounts and opinions on Kelly’s predatory behavior over the years — this is an extremely tough watch, especially for anyone who’s ever been sexually assaulted or harassed.
CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: THE TED BUNDY TAPES/EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL, AND VILE
When Netflix put out Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, I admittedly felt far removed (after all, his killing spree happened way back in the 70s). But, after tuning in, it was incredibly difficult to stomach the likelihood that at least one person you know — probably more — are leading secret lives just as he was. Lock your doors, then tune into their follow-up Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile if you can bear it.
THE HATE U GIVE
The Hate U Give was right on time, as the nation sheds light on the systematic racism faced by Black people at the hands of police officers and the American justice system. Starring Amandla Stenberg, this two-hour, 13-minute drama follows a young woman dealing with the pressure of her community after her best friend is fatally shot by a cop.
BIG LITTLE LIES
I didn’t know Big Little Lies was going to be as triggering as it is. Dealing with rape and domestic violence, the plot is twisted in a way that will leave you shocked beyond measure.
On its surface, you’d probably assume Greenleaf covers all your average drama, but the series delves into rape and what has been a taboo topic in the Black community for ages — incest. Yep, they go there.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
The Handmaid’s Tale transports us to a time and place where women are enslaved and fertile women only live to give birth to children for the rich. Need we say more?
The millennium version of The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is a series of frightening situations in which our worse technological nightmares come true. What’s worse is, the way we’re going, every set of circumstances could totally be America in 100 years. Give or take.