Recreating a 1960's Philadelphia is not easy. At this point with the late 1963 time line to start, it involves recreating the Pryor family and everything connected to them including Catholic High School and American Bandstand. While it was not easy to pull off, this one gets the series into a solid start.
A guilty pleasure of watching this for me is on the DVD you can listen to the creator of American Dreams talking about what has meaning for him and Dick Clark, the man himself talking about the times being created. When you add this to the pilot, it gives the pilot much more meaning.
For those of us who remember the JFK incident, this is accurate in one important way, it has the students in class and announced to them what had happened. That is exactly the way it happened to me. Our school immediately dismissed everyone from school to go home early that day and stayed closed until the next week.
The world in 1963 did not have all the immediate information we have today. That might be a good thing but if today's technology did exist in 1963, we would have gotten a better story and more facts than we did then, perhaps. That would have helped the country cope better then. but the shock of the television age is shown here. So is the magic of American Bandstand.