Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Scariest Thing on Television

You guys.  I was seriously just about to post my promised review of Gotham (coming right up, I promise!) when a quick cursory fact check via Twitter informed me that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, creators of Nip/Tuck, Glee, and, my personal favorite, American Horror Story are spinning off the latter show into a new franchise that just may be the scariest thing on TV; reality television.

And by that I mean actual reality television, not the scripted Kim Kardashian stuff.  The new series? An anthology in the same vein as American Horror Story that will try to do for the weekly true crime genre what AHS has done for the weekly horror show.  The new series will be called, seriously, American Crime Story and season one will be the O.J. Simpson story.


I'll be honest that I thought this was some kind of April Fool's Day joke when I came across it, but low and behold it is, in fact, real.  The creative team behind AHS (season four debuts tomorrow.  Jesus, I have a lot of writing to do...) have been "looking for the right property that could serve as an extension of the American Horror Story brand."

This may not be a crazy idea.  An anthology series about America's most notorious crimes would certainly fit the bill in terms of expanding AHS's franchise brand.  AHS has already shown itself to be very willing to tell stories in multiple time periods and presumably the format would allow Murphy et al to visit any significant true crime from all of American history.

That's the good news.  My worry is that we're going to get a series about stories that are already overly sensationalized by the team that brought us Glee.  Subtle is not their bailiwick.  And while I don't think a poorly filmed take on O.J. Simpson is likely to do anything like, say, restart the L.A. riots, I do worry about how well the show will be able to present these stories, especially if the aim is to do them as true crime and not as the kind of "true crime" we saw in season one of AHS with the Black Dahlia.  As dramatic as murder is in real life, Hollywood has typically felt for some reason that it isn't sensational enough. That kind of sexing up of history will be harder to pull off in cases like O.J. Simpson, which is a story that existed in the era of modern news, but it will be significantly harder if season two is the Lindbergh Baby.

American Crime Story will air on FX sometime in 2015.

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