If you haven’t had the chance to watch OWN’s new mega-church seriesGreenleaf, then you’re completely out of the summer 16 drama series loop!
The series is about the powerful African-American dynasty of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling megachurch in Memphis, Tennessee. Greenleaf is the second scripted drama after Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar on OWN that is not from Tyler Perry and it’s breaking records for the network.
If you need a little convincing that you should be watching Greenleaf on Wednesday nights while Empire is on a summer hiatus, here’s six reasons why you’ll want to catch up and finish out the season:
The series centers on the journey of estranged daughter and disillusioned preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge, The Night Shift) who has returned home after 20 years on the occasion of the mysterious death of her sister, Faith. As she reenters the world of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, the Memphis mega-church, which is ran by her powerful parents Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David, Enlisted and Community) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield, The Josephine Baker Story), it becomes evident that things are not as virtuous as they seem and that the family’s outward display of faith hides sin and misdeeds.
Sounds good, right? Well we’re hooked and the season is only on episode six!
There’s about three actresses in Black Hollywood who can effectively play the “no-nonsense” mother role and Lynn Whitfield is one of them. While Taraji P. Henson has Cookie Lyon tucked away, Whitfield has come all the way through as Lady Mae, the new primetime diva. While most mothers would welcome their daughter home with open arms, Lady Mae is actually Grace’s nemesis. Upon her return to Memphis, Mae warns Grace not to “sow seeds of discord in my fields of peace.”
She plays NO games.
Keith David couldn’t have been a better pick to play Bishop James Greenleaf, the charismatic family patriarch and manipulative leader of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries. He delivers powerful sermons that leave you yelling “God is good!” in agreement at the TV and in the next scene you see him strategically using his power to flex on those closest to him. There’s some deep-rooted family secrets that he can’t afford to have unburied.
Family Drama in a Mega-Church
The church is where you go for peace, comfort and to cleanse your soul, but Calvary is far from peaceful. When Grace, who left Memphis as a pastor and returned as journalist, begins digging deeper into her sister Faith’s death, she starts to uncover some disturbing truths. With the help of her Aunt Mavis (played by Oprah Winfrey), who owns a Beale Street bar and is Lady Mae’s sister, they come to the conclusion that Faith committed suicide after years of being raped by their Uncle Mac. Aunt Mavis doesn’t think Faith is Uncle Mac’s only victim. She believes he’s sexually abused other young girls in the church. You can’t have a drama series without infidelity or financial problems and Calvary certainly isn’t exempt from those issues.
A Superb Production Team
The series was created by Craig Wright (Lost and Six Feet Under) and executive produced by the media maven herself, Oprah Winfrey with the assistance of Wright and Lionsgate Television. Clement Virgo (Book of Negroes) joined the series as executive producer and director of the pilot episode.
Debuted with Stellar Ratings
Greenleaf debuted to record ratings on its premiere night (6/21/16) with over three million viewers, becoming the number one debut series in OWN history. The series reached over 5.5 million unique viewers over its two-night premiere (6/21 and 6/22).
Trust us, it’s THAT good!
Watch the Greenleaf extended trailer below:
Are you ready to tune in?
Written By: Nicole Cunningham