Queen Oprah: Ranking the top TV shows on OWN
Season three of Ava DuVernay’s emotionally charged drama Queen Sugar premieres on OWN tonight, meaning that fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief (and maybe get some Kleenex ready) for the return of the Bordelon family. The show is one of the best on TV right now and is the shining gem of Oprah Winfrey’s network OWN. That’s not to say there aren’t some other shows that also shine brightly on there and that you should definitely check out. Here’s our ranking of the nine best TV shows currently on OWN and why you should watch them.
9. The Paynes (2018-)
The spinoff to House of Payne is by no means perfect, but then very few modern American sitcoms are these days. However, the cast including Stephanie Charles (Adulterers), Markice Moore (Snowfall), LaVan Davis (Daddy’s Little Girls), and Cassi Davis (Boo! A Madea Halloween) aren’t quite dynamite enough to solicit enough chuckles to make some of the more after-school special style life lessons involved in the show feel a little less on the nose.
8. Iyanla: Fix My Life (2012-)
The guilty pleasure we’re perhaps least proud of loving on OWN is nonetheless still utterly gripping, even if it makes you feel a little grubby for tuning in afterwards. Author and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant works with dysfunctional individuals to iron out their issues in front of a live studio audience. It’s the sort of show that was designed to be watched at about 2pm with a big bag of bon-bons while you should be doing something much more urgent and important.
7. Oprah: Where Are They Now? (2012-)
If you’re a fan of The Oprah Winfrey Show, this retrospective addition to it is a nice companion piece in which many of the most famous and infamous guests from the 25 years of the show are revisited to see what they’re up to today.
6. Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s (2011-)
Centered around Robbie Montgomery a.k.a. Miss Robbie (a former backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner in the 60s) as she maintains the iconic St. Louis soul food restaurant Sweetie Pie’s, Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s also navigates the personal lives of the vivacious personality and her family. As reality shows go, it offers everything you could ever want (including spotlighting familial drama and the occasional mouth-watering recipe) and is the best guilty pleasure on the network.
5. If Loving You Is Wrong (2014-)
One of Tyler Perry’s many shows on this list is as sexy, sleek, and scandalous as it is surprisingly heartfelt. Centered around a middle-class community of friends and couples who seem superficially perfect but are harboring some serious heartbreak, lies, and deception underneath it all, If Loving You Is Wrong is a scorching slice of soapy goodness.
4. Our America with Lisa Ling (2011-)
Provoking discussion and encouraging an open mind, Lisa Ling’s docuseries is immensely underrated as the ex co-host of The View travels America to immerse herself into a variety of different lifestyles, cultures, personalities, and perspectives. The result is some genuinely eye-opening episodes that offer a friendly, intelligent, and refreshingly non-judgemental exploration of all the various textures of humanity that make up our country.
3. Greenleaf (2016-)
Starring Winfrey alongside the always spectacular Keith David (They Live), religious drama Greenleaf is a soapy delight full of an endless series of salacious scandals that are brimming beneath the facade of a Memphis megachurch. There are love triangles, infidelity, revenge, and heaps of simmering resentments to enjoy.
2. The Haves and Have Nots (2013-)
There’s something ever-so slightly telenovela to The Haves and the Have Nots that we absolutely adore. Though the drama can be plentiful and extreme, it never feels at odds with the overall tone of this primetime soap opera from Perry (again). As well as some seriously staunch performances from Tika Sumpter (Southside with You) & Angela Robinson, the show is stacked full of the sort of commentaries about wealth, success, and opulence that all the best soapy dramas revolve around.
1. Queen Sugar (2016-)
We’ve already declared our love for DuVernay’s (A Wrinkle in Time) Louisiana-set family drama, but damn does it blow our minds. Centered around an estranged set of siblings who join forces after a family tragedy, the show features slow and purposeful plotting that grants bold emotional depth to the characters and incredible performances from a cast including Kofi Siriboe (Whiplash), Rutina Wesley (True Blood), Dawn-Lyen Gardner (Luke Cage), and Tina Lifford (Blood Work).