Dear HBO,

Over at Slate, Tanner Colby writes about a TV show begging to be made:

HBOIt’s been a banner year for lambasting the deplorable state of race and television. Lately it seems you can pick a fight just about anywhere on the dial. Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes recently got into a Twitter dust-up by calling out the lily-white casting of ABC’s Bunheads. That was a minor skirmish compared to the scorched-earth campaign of criticism waged over Lena Dunham’s Girls this past spring. Mad Men is too white. Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns is too black. Then there are your reality-TV disasters: VH1’s Basketball Wives isn’t doing the modern black woman any favors, and we’ve got lawyers suing ABC over The Bachelor because it casts only white contestants, a lawsuit that must represent a new low for civil rights litigation in America.

Friday Night Lights and The Wire both offered intelligent, thoughtful portraits of race. For laughs, we’ve still got the smart and subtle humor of NBC’s Community, FX’s Louie, and Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. But in what is supposedly a new age of groundbreaking, “novelistic” television drama, one of the most dramatic threads of America’s cultural history is strangely absent. We did Mad Men, the well-lit, glossy “before” picture of white America, taken just as the civil rights movement was about to upend Madison Avenue’s cushy status quo. And we’ve done The Wire, the gritty “after” shot of urban America in the wake of white flight and the drug war. But we skipped the middle chapter. We haven’t done the part about how America stopped being Mad Men and turned into The Wire. That would be the story of the failure of racial integration in the 1970s.

Read the rest here.