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4 items from 2015


American Crime Review – TV ABC – Racial Tension Drama Sidesteps Overblown Theatrics

4 March 2015 4:08 PM, PST | AreYouScreening.com | See recent AreYouScreening news »

The fact that John Ridley, of 12 Years a Slave, created and executive produces American Crime is probably, oddly, too informative for the show’s own good.

If you know the film, you are correct about your estimation of what you’re going to get from the show, generally speaking, except insofar as the scope of the subjects up for analysis. This could be a turn off for some viewers, just based on the “everything can’t happen to this one set of people,” theory of non-watchability.

If you don’t know the film, you probably aren’t any more moved to see the show than you were the movie, and you should really try your best to overcome that, because the show is gripping, powerful, and engaging, almost in spite of itself.

The show kicks off with Russ (Timothy Hutton) having to identify the body of his son, Matt Skokie. »

- Marc Eastman

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Review: John Ridley aims high with ABC's 'American Crime'

4 March 2015 6:00 AM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Even before he won an Academy Award for "12 Years a Slave," John Ridley had an interesting, eclectic career. He's written for sitcoms ("The John Larroquette Show") and dramas ("Third Watch") and even produced Wanda Sykes' talk show. A decade before "Empire," he created a hip-hop industry drama for Upn called "Platinum." As a novelist, he's written science-fiction ("Those Who Walk in Darkness"), pulp ("Everybody Smokes in Hell") and historical fiction ("A Conversation with the Mann"), among other genres. Whether by design, opportunity, or simply a sense of restlessness — one of the most vivid characters in any of his books is Brain Nigger Charlie from "The Drift," a hobo who can no longer relate to the anchored middle-class existence from which he descended — Ridley has avoided being pigeonholed in a business that tries to do that with everyone, and particularly with artists of color. That sense of ambition and motion »

- Alan Sepinwall

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TV Review: ‘American Crime’

3 March 2015 7:31 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Already described as a broadcast-tv stab at doing a prestige-cable series, “American Crime” is produced with a stark sense of realism, from the unglamorous look of the actors to the near-absence of music. Telling the story from multiple perspectives, a la “Crash,” intersecting around a murder, writer-director John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) works to challenge perceptions and preconceived notions, as the evolving facts of the case sweep up the characters, but seldom shake their prejudices and convictions. This is, in any venue, ambitious storytelling, although the rarefied air it inhabits could wind up thinning the ratings as well.

Certainly, marketing a series this downbeat and low-key — with uncomfortable issues about race woven into the fabric — asks a lot of an audience that’s been marinating in the bombast of Shonda Rhimes’ melodramas, with lead-in “Scandal” growing loopier by the moment.

Ridley (who wrote the first three episodes, and directed the »

- Brian Lowry

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‘American Crime’ Sneak Peek: Inside John Ridley’s ABC Drama

4 February 2015 9:10 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

In March, ABC will debut “American Crime,” a taut, incisive drama from “12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley, which promises to “examine preconceptions on faith, family, gender, race, class and other aspects of our social experience through an approach and perspectives historically underserved in media.”

Above, Variety has an exclusive sneak peek from the pilot, which sees a typical family dynamic between an overprotective father and rebellious son take a darker turn, after the police question Tony Gutiérrez (Johnny Ortiz) about his involvement in a seemingly innocuous case that has far-ranging implications for both himself and his father Alonzo (Benito Martinez).

Ridley recently told Variety that he’s most drawn to stories that allow him “an opportunity to offer something up… something that moves or uncovers a bit of history that maybe [viewers] were unfamiliar with; those things are interesting to me. And those things I feel like I have some kind of connection to. »

- Laura Prudom

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4 items from 2015


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