If you’ve ever loved a show that appeared on UPN or its successor, WB (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, or Gilmore Girls) you have Moesha to thank. The family sitcom, starring Brandy Norwood, was the network’s breakout hit, and kept the network afloat for most of its six season run.
Norwood played the lead character, a teenage girl juggling the usual school, romance, and her unpredictable friendships. However, Moesha, formally the female head of the family, also has to transition back to being a kid after her father marries a new woman, who is also the high school principal. The show wasn’t winning any major awards for writing or acting, but it was a solid effort in the family comedy mixed with drama genre.
It also addressed some pretty heavy issues, in its own way. It tackled teen pregnancy, drug use, race relations, premarital sex, and the death of a parent. Norwood won an NCAAP Image award for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress and a SHINE Award for the 2000 episode, “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
The series was canceled in 2001 after failing ratings, but produced a spin-off, The Parkers, starring Mo’nique that gained quite a viewership on its own merit.