In 1950, Amos N’ Andy proved a turning point for blacks in society as it featured the first ever all black cast on a US-televised TV series. In the same fashion, East Los High is Hulu’s first and only all-Latino cast TV show.
The show follows a group of young people in their final year of high school in eastern Los Angeles. The show is partly aimed at public health education, as the producers of the series, which include Wise Entertainment, Population Media Center and Into Action Films, worked closely with public health organizations. This was in order to add an educational element to the show so that young Latinos could make healthier life choices and climb the social ladder more effectively. They are currently overrepresented in prisons and low-paid work.
The show’s fourth season was released in early July, which caps off a very successful run the show is currently on. Debuting in 2013, the series has seen one season a year released by Hulu, as part of an exclusive deal for the video streaming site. So, another straight-to-stream series that has seen strong success. The move to streaming rather than airing on TV continues at full pace.
And it has been well-received by fans and critics alike. As mentioned before, the show has a significant educational element as well as simple entertainment for which it has been praised. It also boasts a strong 7.4 rating on IMDB which is good for a show aimed at teenagers.
Fans have appreciated the show for its brutal honesty and fearlessness when it comes to the topics tackled. Issues faced by the young protagonists include teen pregnancy, rape, abortion, drugs, cancer, homelessness and street and domestic violence. We said it was honest.
And in the latest season, there were themes of immigration and racism, in the light of the American presidential debate which has at times focused increasingly on immigration and racial politics. The show’s executive producer said the decision to enter politics was an easy one once they were making the fourth season in the current political climate. Up until then issues had been just as important but more personal and not so political. The aim was to show the personal effects of a campaign of hate speech and fear mongering.
Bringing a massive subject to a TV screen and portraying its ripple effects down to a persons living rooms is a big ask, but the show does it very well. And the effect this has on viewers is something that the show’s producers are keen to observe. Wise Entertainment partnered with research farms to track the effect of the storyline on viewing audiences.
There hasn’t been an official announcement on a fifth season yet, but there are many reasons to be hopeful. The show is still under the radar, so to speak, and the show’s EP has said the hopes for a very long life for #ELH. With four seasons on the trot there is no reason to think Hulu and Wise Entertainment will stop now.
It’s a truly unique approach to television, seeing the viewer as more than just a paying customer but as an important member of society, that could do with support through pedagogical entertainment. This is also why it is one to
Which social issues do you think #EastLosHigh delved into the most effectively and professionally?
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