All American (TV series)

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All American
All American Title Card.jpg
Genre
Created byApril Blair
Starring
Composer(s)Blake Neely
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Robbie Rogers
CinematographyRamsey Nickell
Editor(s)Avi Youabian
Running time43 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkThe CW
Original releaseOctober 10, 2018 (2018-10-10) –
present (present)
External links
Website

All American is an American television drama series, created by April Blair that premiered on The CW on October 10, 2018. The series is inspired by the life of professional football player Spencer Paysinger.

In April 2019, the series was renewed for a second season.[1]

Premise[edit]

"When a rising high school football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds—Crenshaw and Beverly Hills—begin to collide. Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger."[2]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Daniel Ezra as Spencer James, based on Spencer Paysinger, a star wide receiver at Crenshaw High School who transfers to Beverly Hills High to play football, but is switched to playing Quarterback, and also covers as a kickoff returner and running back.[3] He long believed that his father was a linebacker coach for Eastern Nevada. After trying to drive Tyrone's gang out of Crenshaw, he was the only player given a standing ovation by the South Crenshaw crowd, despite playing for Beverly Hills High, their much more affluent cross-town rival. However, he knocked Chris out cold on a legal coverage tackle from a QB Spy after Chris scrambled once too many times. Chris temporarily lost feelings on his legs, a suspected lumbar injury.
  • Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper, Spencer's lesbian friend from Crenshaw High. While she tried to warn Shawn off the gang, she started to take the gang life more seriously after Shawn was killed off, restarting the chain of revenge killings between rival gangs that started with Shawn's brother, Brendon the year before.[4] Also, as she is still a minor, she cannot take over the lease on Shawn's rental house, even if she was to be emancipated from her mother.
  • Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating, a student at Beverly High who also shows an interest in Spencer. Her father is a very successful record producer, but her mother was killed in a car accident in Switzerland. She was dating Asher, but is now dating Spencer and used to be friends with Olivia before they had a falling out but they have reconciled. Her father was one of the boosters that donated to refurbish the locker rooms of Rose Bowl, home of UCLA Bruins.[4]
  • Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker, Billy's daughter who develops an interest in Spencer, but later becomes Chris's love interest. She recently just got out of rehab after a tumultuous last year and once had a one-night stand with Asher, which ended her friendship with Layla. After, reconciling again they become closer. Olivia started to help Asher put his life back together and also remains close friends with him. Her and her brother Jordan are very close and she is also very close with her parents. She is also close friends with Spencer as they often confide in each other as friends. [5]
  • Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker, Billy's son and quarterback for Beverly High who takes Spencer under his wing. He is 17, but because of his charmed life, he has no idea about dealing with police in an orderly manner when being racially profiled.[6]
  • Cody Christian as Asher Adams, wide receiver of the Beverly High football team and Layla's boyfriend. His father lost all of their family’s money, which resulted in Asher’s mother leaving. Asher and his father rent a guest house from another family that is always out of the country. Asher pretends the mansion is his to keep up the appearance his family has money, until he must confess that his father is laid off and has become broke.[7] His mother was an alumnus of Malibu Charter School, coached by Billy's former NFL rival. He was suspended for 2 games due to intoxication at Homecoming Dance after Layla broke up with him, and then was kicked off the team after he tipped off Malibu with Beverly's entire offensive playbook. In 2017, he was with Layla and was an alcoholic.
  • Karimah Westbrook as Grace James, Spencer's mother who secretly knew Billy a long time ago and had a one night stand with him.[8]
  • Monet Mazur as Laura Fine-Baker, Billy's wife who is a lawyer and also Olivia and Jordan's mother.[6]
  • Taye Diggs as Billy Baker, the coach for Beverly Hills High football team who recruits Spencer. Like Spencer, he was an alumnus of both Crenshaw High and Beverly Hills High, and played in the NFL as a former second-round pick, before his career was cut short by knee injuries. His father also abandoned him as a child. It is unknown if Dillon is his biological son, because he had an affair with Spencer's mother Grace.
  • Jalyn Hall as Dillon James, Spencer's younger brother. Like Spencer, he is also an A-grade student, and is much more mature for his young age. Likes sci-fi comics. He wants to play football like his brother Spencer, but at the moment, he is too young, so he sticks to playing basketball.[9]

Recurring[edit]

  • Jay Reeves as Shawn Scott,[10] a drug dealer and gang member who sometimes does good deeds, but was shot dead by rival gangs as part of revenge killing in front of his house after he paid Tyrone off to get out of the gang.
  • Hunter Clowdus as JJ Parker, an outside linebacker for the Beverly High Eagles. A party boy that likes to organize parties.
  • Spence Moore II as Chris, a quarterback at Crenshaw High and Olivia's love interest. Despite initially resenting Spencer for moving to Beverly, he helped Beverly Eagles defeat Malibu using Crenshaw's old playbook.
  • Casper Van Dien as Harold Adams, Asher's father.
  • Chelsea Tavares as Patience, Coop's love interest.
  • Mitchell Edwards as Cam, Crenshaw's new receiver after Spencer left. He has great size, speed and athleticism, but often outplayed by Spencer as the cornerback due to his poor hands and easy tells.
  • Brent Jennings as Willy Baker, Billy's father. Former Beverly Hills Football coach, and raised Billy to become an NFL player, he believed Billy abandoned him after going pro and left Crenshaw. He disapproves of his son's lifestyle and refuses to accept his daughter-in-law because she is white. Despite this, he receives monthly payments from his son. He also conned money from his grandson by suggesting he couldn't afford medical care for his diabetes.
  • Michelle Hayden as Ripley, a cheerleader for Malibu Charter School, and love interest of Jordan, but she abuses him as she is a marijuana user, to get him into trouble.
  • Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tyrone Morris, a gang leader in Crenshaw. He was the mastermind that killed both Brendon and Shawn Scott. He also put Preach into hospital by shooting. He was apprehended by Police on State Championship night after Coop and Malik set up a police ambush.
  • Mikelen Walker as Malik, Tyrone and Coop's gang underling, mostly used for espionage missions. His disloyalty towards Tyrone helped Coop set up a police ambush to put Tyrone behind bars.
  • Chad L. Coleman as Corey James, a former football player and coach who is Spencer's biological father.

Guest[edit]

  • Jordan Belfi as Principal Ed Landon
  • Danielle Campbell as Hadley [11]
  • Bill Lee Brown as Alvin Washington, barber and respected figure in Crenshaw.
  • Elvis Nolasco as JP Keating, Leila's father, a music mogul that grew up in Harlem, New York. Donated to build Rose Bowl's Locker Room. As an alumnus of UCLA, he is effectively a lifetime member of the ground.
  • Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland as Chynna, Leila's father's new lover, but also a rapper managed by JP that is set to make her debut. Although she was born in Crenshaw, she was not raised there.
  • Judith Scott as Janelle Cooper, Coop's overly religious, divorced, homophobic mother who throws Coop out of her house after she comes out as a lesbian. However, she realizes their differences are relatively trivial , and let Coop back in, after Preach was critically injured after being shot by Tyrone.
  • Jefferson Reid as Brandon Scott, deceased older brother to Shawn. He was also part of the same gang that Shawn was in. He was killed last year, which triggered a cycle of revenge killings between the two rival gangs.
  • Asjha Cooper as Kia, South Crenshaw High student, ex-girlfriend of Spencer and an avid social activist. Her uncle is a reformed Bloods gang member.
  • James R. Black as Reggie, Coop's father. A former truck driver after not wanting to work for Tyrone. Because he is estranged from his wife, he hasn't been able to help Coop as much as he wished. He knew Coops is gay long before he and his wife divorced.
  • Kareem J. Grimes as Preach, a gang member who initially follows Tyrone because he thought Tyrone saved Brendon's lives by serving two prison terms together. However, when Coop made him realize the Scotts were both killed by Tyrone, he tried to set a plan to kill him, but he failed, and was shot and critically injured, and is recovering in Intensive Care Unit post-operation.
  • Daryl C. Brown as Pastor Weekes, a respected South Crenshaw pastor and a South Crenshshaw High academic alumnus.
  • Akono Dixon as Andre, Tyrone and Coop's gang underlings, mostly used for money transfer missions.

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Pilot"Rob HardyApril BlairOctober 10, 2018 (2018-10-10)T15.101510.69[12]
Spencer James, an ambitious football player from South Los Angeles, is offered a scholarship to Beverly Hills High School when the coach Billy Baker notices his ability. He is torn between his two worlds, as his mother and brother both want him to relocate while his friend Coop struggles with gangs and his cultural shift in lifestyles. He also struggles with his father's abandonment for a coaching job. On his first day, he plays exceptionally well much to the dismay of Asher while Spencer gets close with his girlfriend Leila who is extremely wealthy and takes a liking to him. However, Billy's daughter Olivia seems to be more interested in him. Soon Spencer learns of experts coming in to watch him play football but a party leads to him being drugged and embarrasses himself during the game. At the end of the episode, Spencer is forced to move into the Baker household while Billy shows up at Spencer's home to his mother and says that they need to tell him the truth.
2"99 Problems"David McWhirterApril Blair & Mike Herro & David StrausOctober 17, 2018 (2018-10-17)T13.213520.61[13]
Spencer continues to live within the household but Billy's constant attention to Spencer causes a rift between his relationship with his son Jordan and Olivia with Asher becoming aggressive towards him because of his interest towards Leila. Spencer continues to travel down South but his friend Coop continues to hang out with gang member Shawn and forced to pledge loyalty by dropping off what is supposed to be drugs but actually a gift to an ex-member's grandmother and soon informs Spencer that he has to live his own life. His constant visits also worry Grace as she wants what's best for him. At scouting night, Asher's father soon disrupts the scene after his son is injured earlier on accidentally by Spencer and announces that Spencer has been staying in the Baker household. A confrontation between Shawn and Spencer and an injury leads to Beverly Hills losing the game.
3"i"Rob HardyNkechi O. CarrollOctober 24, 2018 (2018-10-24)T13.213530.76[14]
At a football session, Asher continues to grow frustrated with Spencer and soon creates a meme to ridicule him and sends it across the school. Meanwhile, Coop begins falling for a girl named Patience at her mother's church choir soon revealed to be the reason that she hasn't come out as lesbian due to the religious belief's of her family. The tensions between Asher and Spencer increase when they attempt to fight at a session and soon Jordan experiences Spencer's former life in South LA before Beverly after defending Spencer against Asher. Olivia and Leila try to reconcile after being paired for an English project. Jordan experiences police racism-based treatment after being harassed and Billy soon becomes hurt that his son wasn't aware of the prejudice. Jordan goes to a barber with his dad but finds his old high school yearbook revealing that his father dated Grace James, Spencer's mother.
4"Lose Yourself"Elodie KeeneJohn A. NorrisNovember 7, 2018 (2018-11-07)T13.213540.75[15]
5"All We Got"Rose TrocheRobert D. Doty & Lorna OsunsanmiNovember 14, 2018 (2018-11-14)T13.213550.67[16]
6"The Choice Is Yours"Benny BoomMike Herro & David Strauss & J. Stone AlstonNovember 28, 2018 (2018-11-28)T13.213560.75[17]
7"California Love"Dawn WilkinsonNkechi Carroll & Michael BhimDecember 5, 2018 (2018-12-05)T13.213570.66[18]
8"Homecoming"Rob HardyApril BlairDecember 12, 2018 (2018-12-12)T13.213580.70[19]
9"Keep Ya Head Up"Kevin Rodney SullivanJohn A. NorrisJanuary 16, 2019 (2019-01-16)T13.213590.69[20]
10"m.A.A.d. city"Darren GrantNatalie Abrams & Cam'ron MooreJanuary 23, 2019 (2019-01-23)T13.213600.71[21]
11"All Eyez on Me"Michael SchultzJ. Stone Alston & Robert D. DotyJanuary 30, 2019 (2019-01-30)T13.213610.77[22]
12"Back in the Day"Elizabeth Allen RosenbaumNkechi O. Carroll & Lorna OsunsanmiFebruary 6, 2019 (2019-02-06)T13.213620.57[23]
Coop struggles to keep Shawn's old rental properly as she isn't fully emancipated from her mother, but his father managed to reconcile with his wife and make her at least sign the emancipation paper with her, while Olivia threatens to relapse back to her 2017 self due to her being abandoned during playoffs and her mother's district attorney promotion campaign period,while Kia also ended her relationship with Spencer during that same time after she witnessed him fighting, and he almost started a fight again with Asher, worrying he and Leila could be back together.
13"Legacy"Salli Richardson-WhitfieldJohn A. NorrisFebruary 27, 2019 (2019-02-27)T13.213630.61[24]
14"Regulate"Geoff SholtzJameal TurnerMarch 6, 2019 (2019-03-06)T13.213640.59[25]
15"Best Kept Secret"Michael SchultzMike Herro & David StraussMarch 13, 2019 (2019-03-13)T13.213650.60[26]
16"Championships"David McWhirterNkechi Okoro Carroll & Michael BhimMarch 20, 2019 (2019-03-20)T13.213660.54[27]
Spencer must face his former team at South Crenshaw High in the state championship game. Coop finally executes the plan to subdue Tyrone. In the end, Spencer’s dad becomes the new football coach for South Crenshaw High School and wants Spencer to come back home to play for the team. Spencer must make the decision to either stay at Beverly or back to Crenshaw.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In September 2017, it was announced that The CW veteran Greg Berlanti had two pilots in development for the network, one of them inspired by the life of NFL football player Spencer Paysinger. It was also revealed that April Blair would write and executive produce the untitled project, with Berlanti and Sarah Schechter executive producing.[28] A pilot for the potential series, then called Spencer, was ordered in January 2018.[29] The pilot was ordered to series on May 11, 2018.[2] On October 2, 2018, it was reported that Blair had stepped down as showrunner due to "personal reasons" and was subsequently replaced with co-executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll, who was also made an executive producer.[30] On October 8, 2018, The CW ordered five additional scripts for the series.[31] On November 8, 2018, it was announced that The CW had ordered an additional three episodes of the series, bringing the first season total up to 16 episodes.[32] On April 24, 2019, it was reported that The CW renewed the series for a second season.[1]

Casting[edit]

On February 22, 2018, Taye Diggs was cast as Billy Baker, followed a week later with Samantha Logan cast as Olivia Baker, his daughter.[33][5] The rest of the cast was filled out through mid-March with Bre-Z and Greta Onieogou cast on March 15 as characters, Tiana Cooper and Leila Faisal, respectively, with Monet Mazur, Michael Evans Behling, and Cody Christian cast the next day, to play Laura Fine-Baker, Olivia's mother; Jordan Baker, Olivia's brother; and Asher, respectively.[4][6][7] Karimah Westbrook was cast as Grace James on March 19 and British actor Daniel Ezra was cast in the lead role of Spencer James on March 21.[8][3] On May 31, Jalyn Hall was promoted to a series regular as Dillion, Spencer's little brother.[9]

Filming[edit]

Filming for the series takes place in Los Angeles, California.[34] The pilot was filmed during the first quarter of 2018.[citation needed] Filming for season one began in July.[35] Filming took place in Thomas Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles known as South Crenshaw High School in the series.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

No. Title Air date Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" October 10, 2018 0.2/1 0.69[12] 0.1 0.37 0.3 1.06[36]
2 "99 Problem" October 17, 2018 0.2/1 0.61[13] 0.1 0.37 0.3 0.98[37]
3 "i" October 24, 2018 0.3/1 0.76[14] 0.1 0.44 0.4 1.21[38]
4 "Lose Yourself" November 7, 2018 0.3/1 0.75[15] 0.2 0.41 0.5 1.16[39]
5 "All We Got" November 14, 2018 0.3/1 0.67[16] 0.1 0.45 0.4 1.12[40]
6 "The Choice Is Yours" November 28, 2018 0.3/1 0.75[17] 0.1 0.43 0.4 1.18[41]
7 "California Love" December 5, 2018 0.2/1 0.66[18] N/A 0.40 N/A 1.06[42]
8 "Homecoming" December 12, 2018 0.2/1 0.70[19] 0.2 0.35 0.4 1.05[43]
9 "Keep Ya Head Up" January 16, 2019 0.2/1 0.69[20] 0.1 0.34 0.3 1.03[44]
10 "m.A.A.d. city" January 23, 2019 0.2/1 0.71[21] 0.2 0.41 0.4 1.12[45]
11 "All Eyez on Me" January 30, 2019 0.2/1 0.77[22] 0.2 0.31 0.4 1.08[46]
12 "Back in the Day" February 6, 2019 0.2/1 0.57[23] 0.1 0.40 0.3 0.97[47]
13 "Legacy" February 27, 2019 0.2/1 0.61[24] 0.2 0.39 0.4 1.00[48]
14 "Regulate" March 6, 2019 0.2/1 0.59[25] 0.1 0.38 0.3 0.97[49]
15 "Best Kept Secret" March 13, 2019 0.2/1 0.60[26] 0.2 0.41 0.4 1.01[50]
16 "Championships" March 20, 2019 0.2/1 0.54[27] 0.1 0.34 0.3 0.88[51]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 91%, based on 23 reviews, and an average rating of 6.92/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "All American's ambitious attempts to tackle class struggles and classroom drama largely play thanks to its winning cast — an auspicious start to a promising new series".[52] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 63 out of 100 based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[53]

Release[edit]

Distribution[edit]

All American is aired as a web-only series on TVNZ OnDemand. It releases the same episode as the US at 8pm Thursdays (NZDT), 5 hours after it is aired in the USA.[54]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]