FX has released the first trailer for original miniseries American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson, continuing their trend of edgy original programming.
American Crime Story was created by former college roommates Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, writers of dark character explorations including Ed Wood, Man on the Moon, and Auto Focus. They were able to sell the concept for a true-crime anthology series to American Horror Story creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk who landed a deal with FX. American Crime will serve as a slightly-more-grounded companion series to AHS, but follow the same format of rebooting storylines each season.
The trailer for ACS: OJ will induce flashbacks in anyone who lived through that strange day in 1994 when cable news became must-see-TV. Whether it draws audiences in to relive one of the most bizarre trials in history remains to be seen but personally, I think it’s going to take some convincing.
Sarah Paulson is passable in a mid-90’s power suit as attorney Marcia Clark, and Cuba Gooding and Courtney B. Vance will undoubtedly own their roles as Simpson and Jonnie Cochran.
I mean c’mon, look at Gooding’s face in this screencap from the Bronco chase:
— NYLON (@NylonMag) December 3, 2015
But the moment John Travolta, as Robert Shapiro, and David Schwimmer, as Robert Kardashian, hit the screen the trailer starts to feel like a parody. These actors are just not convincing enough to push past their own personas in a trailer. Selma Blair is too good as Kris Kardashian (which both made me laugh and filled me with guilt considering the scene is at a funeral). I’m just not sure audiences are going to be able to see past the circus that this trial and (some of) its participants became.
I am LIVING for Connie Britton and Selma Blair in the American Crime Story trailer. pic.twitter.com/eYhElBd7xq
— Robert Kessler (@robertkessler) December 2, 2015
On the other hand, the trailer leads into the promotional line “The trial wasn’t the whole story. This is.” Now that’s intriguing. But it also puts a good deal of pressure on Murphy and company to come up with a viable plotline that we haven’t already seen. American Horror Story has continued performing well with season-over-season increases in viewership and strong critical response. But part of the draw to AHS is it’s no-holds-barred attitude, in which any weirdness is acceptable (within cable standards.) The same can’t be accomplished with the facts of true crime. Or can they?
The series, which explores the trial from the perspective of the attorneys, is based on Simpson’s book The Run Of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson. It premieres on FX February 2.