When BET announced that a Boomerang television series based on the classic Black film starring Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens and Halle Berry, the reaction from fans of the movie was mixed. Shadow And Act even wrote about why the original cast just couldn’t be beat.
But when Berry and Lena Waithe came on board the series, Waithe revealed that they were making a “sequel” to the 1992 film, not a remake or reboot. And after watching the first episodes, we can say: the multi-hyphenate was true to her word. Picking up 27 years after the film, the Boomerang series brings new energy that’s fun, young and unapologetically Black. This series is probably the freshest that BET has aired in quite some time. In fact, Boomerang could be just the jolt of life that BET needs to establish itself as a formidable producer of not just Black entertainment, but overall programming that is relevant to today’s audience.
Built off of an ensemble cast of relative newcomers — excluding three-time Daytime Emmy award-nominated Tequan Richmond, who most will recognize from his role on Everybody Hates Chris — Boomerang follows 26-year-old headstrong Simone Graham (Tetona Jackson), daughter of Marcus (Murphy) and Angela (Berry) Graham, as she breaks away from her father’s control and starts her own advertising agency, despite having the world at her finger tips. Richmond co-stars as Jacqueline Boyer’s (Givens) son, Bryson, an assured advertising account manager with a thread of vulnerability who is (somewhat) secretly in love with his childhood friend and co-worker Simone.
Social media star and comedian Lala Milan, Leland B. Martin, Brittany Inge and Atlanta standout and scene-stealer, RJ Walker round out the rest of the cast, repping for Black millennials across the sexuality spectrum. Staying in tune with the tagline of several of the series’ promos, “There’s not just one way to be Black,” each of the character are written very different and are great examples of the spectrum of which you can find Black millennials, without seeming like they are stereotypes or acting as caricatures. Martin plays Ari, a sexually fluid digital producer. Walker plays a newly-celibate young minister going through a break-up with Inge’s character. And Milan plays a stripper on the come-up, thanks to Simone’s business savvy.
The razor-sharp, fast-paced dialogue often sounds like a set of trending topics on Black Twitter, but it doesn’t come off as pandering; it feels authentic and relevant. Tonally and aesthetically, there does seem to be an influence of HBO’s Insecure, which doesn’t come as a surprise, not just because Boomerang is a rom-com in the same vein, but because showrunner Ben Cory Jones was on the writing staff for the Issa Rae-created series. But, as Boomerang shapes itself throughout its first season, it’s sure to pave a lane all its own.
Boomerang debuts Tuesday, February 12 on BET.