Web Series “Anacostia” Brings Out the Drama

Online Soap Focuses on the Drama of a Community

There have been a lot of television shows set in Washington -- political dramas like "The West Wing," FBI shows like "Bones" and "The X Files," comedies like "Murphy Brown." We even finally got our own season of "The Real World" last summer.

But there aren't many shows about life outside of political Washington. Shows about the District have been limited to, well, "The District," and the '80s sitcom "227."

But you can find a more authentic take on D.C. life online. The web series "Anacostia," which also airs on cable channel DCTV, is entering its second season. The show’s ensemble cast won an Independent Soap Opera Award last year, and "Anacostia" has also been honored with Los Angeles Web Festival awards.

Sort of an east-of-the-river "Melrose Place," the series mixes themes of sex, murder and betrayal with tales of day-to-day life in the Southeast neighborhood.

"Anacostia" creator Anthony Anderson -- a D.C. native who is also one of the show's stars -- has called the series "escapism," but also says there’s more to it than that.

"It shows Anacostia in a completely different way that I don’t think people get a chance to see," he said before the show's 2009 debut. "People usually see 'local teen gets shot,' but they don’t see every day that there are people out there working, striving and hav[ing] great lives."

Anderson has compared his series to old-school prime-time soaps like "Dallas" and "Knots Landing," but he warns, "This is not your grandma’s soap opera."

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