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Showtime Releases Full Trailer For The Chi

Showtime already has a show set in Chicago's south side with its often-farcical family dramedy Shameless, but the network wants to show you another, more in-depth side of the south side in the first full trailer for its upcoming hour-long drama series The Chi.

The Chi is the ambitious brainchild of Emmy award winner Lena Waithe, who took home a trophy in at the 2017 awards in September for outstanding writing in a comedy series for her work on Netflix's Master of None. (She also performs on the series, playing the character Denise.) 

Produced entirely in Chicago, the series is an ensemble slice-of-life experience, following a variety of characters as they weave in and around each others' lives, their individual problems and coming-of-age developments combining to form a narrative tapestry. In addition to Waithe, the show is also being executive produced by Common, Divorce's Aaron Kaplan, and The Bridge's Elwood Reid.

The series previously introduced itself a month ago with a teaser listing off the names of its many characters, but the variety of scenes on display in this expanded look gives a much better impression of the show's sprawling nature and the individual stories of the members of its cast. It looks kinetic, stylish, dramatic and fun—a stirring portrait of the great highs and terrible lows of life in the second city.

The Chi's premiere episode is directed by Rick Famuyiwa, who previously directed the movie Dope. Its sprawling ensemble includes Alex R. Hibbert as Kevin, Jason Mitchell as Brandon, Tiffany Boone as Jerrika, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine as Ronnie, Yolonda Ross as Jada, Jacob Latimore as Emmett, Armando Riesco as Detective Cruz, and Jahking Guillory as Coogie. It's Steven Williams and The Wire's Sonja Sohn are also set to play recurring characters on the series.

Prior to creating The Chi and working on Master of None, Waithe produced the film Dear White People, wrote for Bones and Hello Cupid, and appeared on Showtime's The Comeback and Amazon's Transparent. As a performer, she'll next be seen on the big screen in the upcoming Steven Spielberg movie Ready Player One.

The Chi will premiere on Showtime on January 7 at 10 pm EST. Until then, you can check out the colorful street art poster for the series below.