REVIEW: ‘All American’ maintains lightheartedness while exploring issues of race, privilege


Courtesy Netflix

While criticized for being overly simplified, Staff Writer Kiley Martin writes that ‘All American’ adequately covers important modern day issues.

Kiley Martin, Staff Writer

“All American” is an intriguing story that focuses on young love and teenage drama while living in L.A,. Not only does the TV series capture this lifestyle but it also incorporates modern issues that many people face in today’s society such as racism, gangs and white privilege.

Spencer James, played by Daniel Ezra, is a talented football player who is destined for greatness. He grew up in Crenshaw, a neighborhood in South Los Angeles, that is filled with gang violence and poverty. Spencer is offered a way out from Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) by attending Beverly Hills High School to have a better opportunity at a college scholarship. Spencer leaves his family and hometown to hopefully thrive at his new school. 

When entering a new school,  new relationships and heartache are bound to happen along with unwelcoming teammates such as Jordan Baker (Michael Evan Behling) and Asher Adams (Cody Christian), who are not initially pleased with Spencer’s arrival. Spencer soon moves into the Bakers’ home and treats them like a family. Spencer, whether he likes it or not, is considered a brother to both Olivia (Samantha Logan) and Jordan Baker. Spencer is immediately stunned by Layla Keating’s (Greta Onieogou) beauty, as is every boy attending Beverly High. Relationships between Olivia Baker and her ex-best friend Layla only become more complicated. However, Spencer’s best friend from Crenshaw, Coop (Bre-Z), still remains by his side through his ups and downs. 

“All American” proves that TV series can have more than enough drama just between teenagers without adding sex and drugs into it. This show and others like it are entertaining while remaining relatively innocent and it’s the viewers like me that very much enjoy it. The “All American” actors are also good looking, fun to watch, and talented as they capture the essence of teenage drama. 

As much as I do enjoy “All American,” some criticize the simplicity of teenage drama and football as boring. They’re looking for the crime and excitement in most other recent TV shows, but are disappointed when watching “All American.” However, a TV show can not please everyone although “All American” comes close.

As Spencer says to Billy, “I took a risk and bet on you. You willing to take a risk and bet on me?” “All American” is worth taking a risk on. You can stream it on Netflix, The CW, and Amazon Prime.