American Crime (ABC) is one of the best new shows on television. It had all the elements you might want and some you did not even know you needed.
The multiple story lines were deep and intertwined. You rarely guess what might happen next week, or even in the next scene. American Crime explored some complex issues such as race, family dynamics, drug addiction, forgiveness, depression, and the twisted mess of the American criminal justice system. Yes, of course this was a fictional story, but I dare anyone to say that some of the events that happened during this show, do not actually happen in reality.
American Crime took a single event and showed us the multiple points of view of the consequences spawning from the central event. Each character carried their own baggage and personal interest into the evolution of the show.
The acting was solid across the board. It is hard to say who I would choose as my favorite. I am very biased toward Regina King. She played a very powerful and emotional role. Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Elvis Nolasco, Caitlin Gerard, Richard Cabral, and Regina King all played their roles flawlessly.
But I want to mention an aspect of television that is often overlooked by the viewer and only occasionally re-imagined by some directors…..
“The Art of the Camera Angle”
This show was like nothing I can recall. Their use of camera angles for effect, told the story as well as the actors did. In some scenes, you had your standard switch between the speaking characters. What American Crime did was genius. In many scenes they used a fixed camera position. The interaction between one or two characters was captured from a single point of view. This was even more dynamic when one or both of the character were out of frame. So you could hear the interaction but one see whoever might be in frame. This POV (Point Of View) greatly enhanced the viewing experience.
Now I know what you are thinking…
“But Big Baba Rob, how can you enjoy the moment when you can’t see the people who are speaking?”
I’m so glad you asked that question loyal follower. This stationary POV forces you to focus on the dialogue or on the expression of the person who was in the frame, or… [maniacal grin] what is happening in the background of the frame. It is like you are standing still watching the interaction from nearby. This was brilliant. I applaud who ever came up with the idea of using this method of visual storytelling.
One final note about the artistry. They also used an audio track of the dialogue that would lead or lag the scene. The visual and audio effects definitely drew me in to each moment. The viewing experience for this show was completely different from most other show.
American Crime bravely tackled some of the very serious issues of our day. They did it with a mastery level of storytelling, writing, and artistry that is often missing from television today.
I want to thank Elvis Nolasco, Felicity Huffman, and the Executive Producer Michael J. McDonald for taking the time to actually interact with me on Twitter. That was really classy of them. I had some great interactions with Mr. McDonald. Kudos to creator John Riley. I greatly look forward to Season Two of American Crime. I’ll be watching and tweeting.
When award season comes around, I sincerely hope American Crime is acknowledged for their hard work and vision.