Critical Condition: All American

All American | TVNZ OnDemand, from Thursday

➢➢ “This one arrives with the rumour that it’s like Friday Night Lights. Nah, it’s a long way from that classic. But it takes on the same themes — football, family, and, most important, community — as it loosely tells the story of NFL linebacker Spencer Paysinger. Well-played by Daniel Ezra, a Brit with a flawless American accent, the show’s Spencer is growing up with his single mother in South Central Los Angeles when he gets recruited to play for Beverly Hills High by Taye Diggs’s coach. Culture clash and racial tensions ensue.” — Boston Globe.

➢➢ “Many will be quick to draw a comparison between All American and TV’s last great high school football drama, Friday Night Lights, but doing so would be a judgment error. The audience All American is gunning for and the audience Friday Night Lights was gunning for are not one in the same. They are shows built on entirely different mindsets. All American is a much more overt, in your face drama about what it means to seize an opportunity when presented with it.” — Forbes.

➢➢ “There haven’t been many shows in the vein of The O.C., One Tree Hill or 90210 in recent years; instead, Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars opted for truly life-and-death stakes, with murder mysteries and bloody cliffhangers. But CW has recaptured that early 2000s spirit with All American, a good, old-fashioned high-school show that’s perhaps a little too reminiscent of O.C., but also makes that familiar formula work. It doesn’t need an ax-murderer to add drama; there’s plenty already.” — USA Today.

➢➢ “All American is an interesting mix of the California-as-utopia teen drama — golden sunlight glinting off the Pacific, so many shirtless boys! — and a more nuanced exploration of the intersection between race and class. Bonus for the sports-impaired (like myself): You don’t need to understand anything about football to enjoy it.” — Entertainment Weekly.

➢➢ “As the first three episodes play out, it becomes clear that the show’s writers have ample plans for how to add interest to the concept, making All American a bright spot at the start of a moribund network-TV season … All American is a rookie show with real promise.” — Variety.

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