San Francisco Chronicle

Season two is set for Oakland-set TV series

- By G. Allen Johnson

So Ashley and Miles are finally married. Now what?

Miles is still in prison, and Ashley is still stuck living with Miles’ mom while trying to raise their son. Fun times are ahead in Oakland for season two of “Blindspott­ing,” the Starz series based on the 2018 movie made in the East Bay city.

Starz will premiere the second season at 9 p.m. April 14 with the first two episodes, the network announced earlier this month. Those episodes will make their world premiere at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, in March.

New half-hour episodes of the series will then premiere at 9 p.m. on Fridays. All episodes will be available on the Starz streaming and on-demand platforms soon after their debut. The series is co-created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, East Bay natives who grew up in Oakland and collaborat­ed on the 2018 indie hit, along with Keith Calder and Jess Wu Calder. Casal, who makes cameo appearance­s in the series reprising his role as Miles, is the series’ showrunner.

The show centers around Ashley (Emmy winner Jasmine Cephas Jones, who starred with Diggs as part of the original Broadway cast of “Hamilton”), whose dreams of a middle-class existence are short-circuited by Miles’ incarcerat­ion on drug charges. She and their son, Sean (Atticus Woodward), are forced to move in with Miles’ mother, Rainey (Oscar-winner Helen Hunt), and sister, Trish (Jaylen Barron).

Season one culminated with Ashley and Miles getting married in a ceremony at San Quentin. Season two picks up nine months later. Among the returning cast are April Absynth, Lance Holloway, Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Benjamin Turner, a Bay Arearaised actor and recording artist.

While all of the 2018 movie, directed by Carlos López Estrada (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), was filmed in and around Oakland, the pandemic forced most of the first season to be filmed in a Hollywood studio under COVID protocols, with some exterior location footage in Oakland.

Diggs and Casal both told The Chronicle ahead of the season one premiere in 2021 that they intended to shoot a second season mostly in the Bay Area. A Starz spokesman told The Chronicle in an email on Feb. 1 that the second season was filmed in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

“It’s a chance to tell a Bay Area story, and that was something that was really important to us, to show off our home and tell the kinds of stories and show the kind of people we don’t get to see” in other movies, Diggs said in 2021. “Just seeing the people I grew up with, and the way it felt for us to grow up, on our television screens – it doesn’t get old. ‘Blindspott­ing’ for us is code for home. It’s becoming a Bay Area multiverse!”

Starz also did not say if there would be an Oakland block party to celebrate the debut of season two, as there was for season one.

 ?? Starz ?? Daveed Diggs (left), Jasmine Cephas Jones and Rafael Casal in Oakland during the filming of “Blindspott­ing,” a Starz series based on the 2018 movie.
Starz Daveed Diggs (left), Jasmine Cephas Jones and Rafael Casal in Oakland during the filming of “Blindspott­ing,” a Starz series based on the 2018 movie.

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