STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: $23.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 400 minutes
•  Ashley’s Home Tour
•  Hanging With Sal
•  Casting Tapes
•  Cast Interviews
•  The Creators

The Pitch

It’s what Beverly Hills would be like if they allowed Black people.

The Humans

Daymeon, Ashley, Jordan, Gerren, Moriah, Garnette, Earl, Gaven, Roqui, Sal, Staci, Willie, Makensy

The Nutshell

Baldwin Hills is a reality show that follows the lives of a dozen high school-aged Black kids in and around the Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles, which is a more affluent area bordering LA’s more infamous neighborhoods such as Crenshaw and Watts. 

The Lowdown

There are positive and negative aspects to Baldwin Hills that strike me after watching it.  On the one hand, I think it’s good that the kids on the show are shown to be normal, average kids, who just happen to be Black.  And also that, for the most part, they’re shown in a positive light, as kids who engage in American pursuits and have dreams and aspirations, but still get caught up – and not in a negative way – in the serious and not-so-serious dramas that kids their age are supposed to.  Then on the flipside, it’s still not a surprise that generally a reality show about predominantly Black youth is only going to be shown on BET and nowhere else.  Go to virtually any other station and the reality shows hardly represent any cultural diversity. 

With that out of the way, Baldwin Hills is a show about kids.  In this case, Black kids, but kids nonetheless.  So pretty much, if you’re over 25, you’re going to tune it out, because the level of conversation ranges from girls wondering “Does he like me?  Does he know I like him?” and guys wondering the same thing in reverse.  There’s most of the things you’re going to expect high school-aged kids to be engaging in: parties, dating, arguing with their parents, hanging with their friends, pursuing their own interests and the like.  With 12 protagonists, there’s a wide range of interests to be pursued, from the musclebound Sal and his music, to Earl and comedy, Ashley and dancing, Jordan wanting to be the next big entrepreneur, and so on.  However, the show is stretched a little thin trying to juggle all of the kids’ stories and sometimes moves at a music video pace.  Baldwin Hills is an alright reality show that doesn’t push many new boundaries, but does fills a void in the genre.

The Package

The show is shot in widescreen and looks fine.  The ten episodes of Season 1 are offered in Dolby.  There are no subtitles or other languages available.  There are five special features, starting off with Ashley’s House Tour, which is basically a five-minute MTV Cribs kind of segment.  Hanging With Sal is a ten-minute piece about following Sal around for a day as he visits friends and places in and around Baldwin Hills.  Casting Tapes runs around 25 minutes and is the collection of all of the cast members aution interviews for the show.  Cast Interviews is 23 minutes of more of the same, except this time the cast are discussing interacting with the other cast members. Finally, The Creators is 10 minutes of the inspirations for the show, casting and producing it.  All in all, pretty general stuff.

6.0 out of 10