‘All-American’ is all Americans are talking about

Reviews

The newly popular show “All American” became a huge hit after the quarantine was set into place. Surprisingly, it is not a new show. The first season aired on the CW in October 2018; the second season came out on the CW in October of 2019. Its recent spike in viewers came after season two was released on Netflix on March 17, 2020—perfect timing for people bored in their house. Since then, the show has been in the top three trending in the United States and only recently left that list. 

If you have not already watched it, I recommend you do. It’s based on a true story—the life of Spencer Paysinger, a professional American football linebacker. Paysinger lived in Los Angeles and went to Beverly Hills High School to play football. He was drafted by the New York Giants in 2011 and then played for the Dolphins and Panthers before retiring.  

To parallel this, the main character’s name is Spencer James (played by Daniel Ezra), who lives in the neighborhood of South Crenshaw in Los Angeles with his mom and little brother. His father left them when he was younger, which is a huge storyline throughout the first season. Spencer James gets the opportunity to play for the Beverly Hills Eagles just like Spencer Paysinger did. 

The show covers both parts of Spencer James’ life: his home back in Crenshaw along with his school and new life in Beverly Hills. Spencer’s best friend in Crenshaw is Coop, an aspiring rapper (played by Bre-Z, a real music artist) who gets caught up in the gangs and violence present in the area. At Beverly Hills, Spencer first finds it tough to fit in with the wealthy crowd there, and the first season has a lot to do with him fitting in on the team. 

The second season, on the other hand, goes more into character development and is not as heavily focused on football as the first season was. The first season is pretty much like the show “Friday Night Lights,” so if you have watched and enjoyed “FNL” then you will probably like “All American.” It’s like a combination of football and a generic teen drama show with relationships and such. 

The first season is so good. It’s a typical rising athlete storyline; however, there’s the added component of being in high school and living in Los Angeles that makes the show interesting. It’s also very relatable, even if you don’t play sports, because the other characters in the show make up for it by not all being star athletes or super smart. 

I didn’t like the second season, first because of Coop. She appeared more in the second season, and I don’t like her at all. It’s one of the memes about “All American” because Coop is probably the most disliked character on the show. I also didn’t like it much because it felt like a lot of the focus was taken away from Spencer’s story and placed on the other characters, which was fine, but personally, I would want more about Spencer and his football career. 

One good thing to come out of the second season, however, is Darnell Hayes (played by Da’Vinchi). I won’t give away his background because it spoils some of the first season, but I like his character and think he makes a good addition to the cast of season two. His storyline is also set up to continue into season three, so that is something to look forward to. 

Another setback of the show is that a lot of people find it hard to feel realistic because these are all these actors in their late 20s and early 30s trying to play 17-year-olds, which does not work well. Additionally,, both the seasons combined were one school year on the show timeline, but they were filmed and released over two years. 

The CW renewed the show for a third season in January 2020, which originally would have started airing October 2020, but, with the quarantine, we’ll have to wait and see. Regardless, I definitely won’t wait for it to be on Netflix before I watch the third season because I’m obsessed and in need of more Spencer James and Jordan Baker action!