Kelly Lynne D'Angelo
Wačíŋyeya Iwáš'aka Yracheta as Kodi Skycedar, Talon Proc Alford as Eddy Skycedar, Kimberly Guerrero as Mom, Isis Celilo Rogers as Summer Skycedar and John Timothy as Dad in Spirit Rangers
Isis Celilo Rogers as Summer Skycedar, Talon Proc Alford as Eddy Skycedar and Wačíŋyeya Iwáš'aka Yracheta as Kodi Skycedar in Spirit Rangers
Talon Proc Alford as Eddy Skycedar, Isis Celilo Rogers as Summer Skycedar and Wačíŋyeya Iwáš'aka Yracheta as Kodi Skycedar in Spirit Rangers
Don't tell writer Kelly Lynne D'Angelo that fairy tales don't truly exist. After all, she can trace her career to the tender age of seven when she tuned in to ABC's 1997 musical version of Cinderella, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. A Native Haudenosaunee Tuscarora, she couldn't believe what she was seeing from her tiny town in upstate New York.
"I saw a Black princess and an Asian male lead [Paolo Montalban]," she says, "And I thought to myself, 'I could exist in that world. I want to be a part of that world. How do I join it?' From that point on, I started writing."
But unlike Cinderella, D'Angelo made her wishes come true thanks to her own talent and moxie. She's been a comedy, fantasy and animation writer for the past decade, working on projects such as Miracle Workers, Final Space and My Little Pony: Make Your Mark.
D'Angelo is particularly proud of her contributions to Netflix's new animated kids' series Spirit Rangers, which celebrates Indigenous people and cultures. The preschool show follows Chumash/Cowlitz siblings as they protect the California national park where they live. The three siblings also turn into "spirit rangers," becoming a grizzly bear, red-tailed hawk and turtle. Created by Karissa Valencia, a member of the Chumash tribe, the series boasts an all-Native writing staff. D'Angelo notes that the show reflects a part of Valencia's journey, "and I was honored to tell her stories."
D'Angelo, in fact, has been outspoken about representation in her industry. In 2020, she and other members of the WGA West's Native American and Indigenous Writers' Committee wrote an open letter and called on Hollywood to reject stereotypical portrayals of Native people and increase hiring. "We're trying to stop being seen in Hollywood in a certain way," she says. Within the past few years, she notes, the number of Native writers in the WGA has quadrupled into the triple digits. "Hopefully we can be a part of everyone's conversations," she adds. "We don't just want to tell our stories; we want to tell any story that speaks to us."
Though D'Angelo admits she mostly watches TV these days for "research purposes," she cops to bingeing Search Party, Our Flag Means Death and especially The Great British Bake Off. "I love it, love it, love it!" she exclaims. She expresses similar joy for her seven TV favorites, which she's selected for TelevisionAcademy.com.
- Heroes (NBC, 2006–10)
I was obsessed with this show! I remember it was originally on during the same competitive time slot as Lost. I chose Heroes. I actually think its first season is one of the most masterful stories ever told. I loved how it focused on these characters and why they received their powers and the mystery surrounding these powers and how the characters all affected each other. That narrative web was fascinating and executed phenomenally.
- Legend of the Seeker (ABC, 2008–10)
This was based on a Terry Goodkind fantasy novel series, and it was done by the same team who did Xena: Warrior Princess. It's so good. So good! It was feminist and powerful and kind of like Lord of the Rings, except it was campy. It only lasted two seasons on ABC, and I still desperately want a season three.
- Stella (Comedy Central, 2005)
This was written by Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain, who are some of the most ingenious comedians to date. And even though it only aired for one season at 10:30 at night, it was so brilliant and ahead of its time. It was based off their sketch comedy show, in which three guys who are essentially adult male children, always wear suits and can't do anything. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's American absurdism in a nutshell. In terms of comedy, it's my touchstone.
- Green Wing (Channel 4, 2004–07)
A British friend introduced me to this random show, and I fell in love with it. I'm forever grateful! It's a comedy show from the early 2000s set at a medical center with doctors and nurses. But it's insane. Like, the show is insane. It's shot insane. It's edited insane. And as a comedy, it's a British masterpiece. I just love comedy that tends to be absurd.
- What We Do in the Shadows (FX, 2019–)
I have watched this over and over and over. I think it's the best. [Cocreator and writer] Taika Waititi is Indigenous, and he's got a great sense of humor because he has this unique perspective. This is the beautiful thing: Indigenous people have stories to tell that can be universally loved. I don't think a lot of people quite see that yet. So, I look at Taika like, "See? We can do that!"
- Community (NBC, 2009–15)
It's just sheer brilliance. Not only was it one of the most tightly written shows ever, it was an incredibly witty character-driven comedy. I know some people want an easy watch, but Community had an element of intellectual humor that I just latched on to. If you look at how many jokes the writers slammed into every single sentence, it's just unbelievable. And it moved so quickly! If you laughed, you missed three jokes.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997–2001; UPN, 2001–03)
I discovered this a bit later in my twenties because I was very Catholic growing up, and my mother generally wanted me to avoid the scary spooky stuff. I think this is a great show because it started as one premise, and then it developed with its characters. So, season to season, the tone shifted, and the storytelling shifted as the characters grew from their mistakes. Sarah Michelle Gellar really carried it, too. It was just so well done, engaging and masterful.