Returning this spring season of television are two shows that have made their mark in popular culture for their standout, quotable characters and satire along with a trail of controversy following them for years after they've aired.
Back from the dead and ready for a new presentation of its original three seasons on Feb. 26, which includes episodes never aired in the U.S., is English actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Ali G: Rezurection,” FXX’s new branding of “Da Ali G Show,” where characters such as Ali G, Borat and Brüno were introduced and eventually featured in their own films.
Not quite considered buried and thought to have ended or been cancelled, creator Aaron McGruder and his comic strip adapted adult animation series “The Boondocks” are back for a fourth season, reminded in a 10-second commercial from programming block, Adult Swim. “We can’t give you any specific information,” the clip said, “but it airs April 21 at 10:30 p.m.”
Baron Cohen’s show is centered on his roles as three unusual journalists: the main character of Ali G, a Kazakh named Borat and the flamboyant Austrian named Brüno. The three engage in interviews with gullible celebrities, government officials and other familiar people, asking them crazy and illogical questions.
With its original run coming to an end in late 2004, HBO revealed their plans to move on without an additional season of “Da Ali G Show” on July 23, 2005. On Nov. 1, 2013, a deal was struck by FXX and they announced the airing of the series under the branding of “Ali G: Rezurection,” where Baron Cohen has filmed all new character intros for each episode.
Methods used by Baron Cohen have caused substantial controversy, with some guests becoming extremely upset after finding out they’ve been duped, along with numerous comments made on several episodes causing viewers to be outraged. However, the quarreling hasn’t been significant enough to garner disapproval of the show as a whole, similar to “The Boondocks.”
Based on McGruder’s comic strip of the same name, “The Boondocks” chronicles the lives of a black family, the Freemans, after having moved from the south side of Chicago, Illinois to the mostly white, fictional suburb of Woodcrest. Much of the comedy and conflict rises from the perspectives offered by the mixture of cultures, stereotypes, viewpoints and lifestyles.
The third season came to an end in late August 2010, leaving many to speculate whether the sitcom would make its return again. When the fourth season was officially announced, Adult Swim stated it would be comprised of 20 episodes set to air in January 2014. This was later delayed after confirming on Jan. 12 that the season would premiere on April 21.
McGruder’s series is known for airing many controversial moments since it began, yet it’s also been well received among critics and nominated for several rewards. In 2010, “The Boondocks” was named sixth out of 10 of the Most Controversial Cartoons of All Time by Time magazine, where IGN has placed it at 17 on their list of Top 25 Animated series for adults.
Both of these series have been long gone from the screens for quite some time, which may lead some to wonder what took them so long to return. It seems like nowadays most networks have programs with annual releases of new seasons upon their renewal, maintaining a promised schedule to keep the audience’s interest at its peak.
Fan bases have come to expect quality from these shows in the past, but with the gap between years, where the material was once most relevant to the time, it causes some worry as to whether these shows can still make an impact. It’s hard to think of something more frustrating than one’s favorite show going on hiatus, let’s hope it’ll be worth the wait in the end.