There was a moment early on when I first felt the complete scope of what American Crime Story was going do and it left me floored - we were going to see the birth of America's media culture and its never gone/forgotten problems with race. But while we have brilliant performances we've also got Cuba as a weak OJ and an annoying Rob Kardashian who sole purpose is to remind us of what came 12 years later.
Love Sarah Paulson-- but during certain moments this show seems to be about making sure we all remember that the Kardashian girls were kids during this trial. Who the fuck cares? Even the best stuff by Ryan Murphy (which is mostly just a few seasons of Nip/Tuck) always has that element of truly bad taste coming in to stain it.
Murphy and his crew are capable of amazing things when they have to stay with their feet on the ground and follow a strict plot. The entire cast was outstanding, particularly Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Courtney B. Vance as Jonhnie Cochran. For 10 episodes the audience got the chance to delve into this amazing story and understand its impact on the protagonists's lives and American society in general.
(Generous) 7 - So close to greatness. Terrible directorial decisions (the swooping camera and cheesy cop show score are particularly heinous) severely hurt the potential of one of the most nuanced takes on the true crime genre in years. To take a media shitshow of a case like this, turn it into resonant, wide-ranging character study, and give a subsequently-convicted felon the benefit of the doubt is almost heroic.
Convoluted contexts. How trial-by-media as a catalyst for an investigation can escalate. The ambiguity of 'in the public interest' remains. Variables including gender, race and fame are raw in this real life case. Notions such as due process, innocent until proven guilty, evidence, suspicion, doubt and the right to a fair trial are in the spotlight here. Acrimony of the verdict and other interpretations remain.