When FX first announced American Crime Story and dubbed it a “companion anthology,” I automatically assumed it’d have the same heightened, dark tone as American Horror Story, but based on the comments show writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Big Eyes, The People vs. Larry Flynt) just made, I’m starting to think it’ll be far more comedic.
The show is based on the book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin. The story will be told from the perspective of the lawyers and chronicle “how a combination of prosecution confidence, defense wiliness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.” Alexander insisted that the show is “going to be a hoot” and also told Vulture:
“The strange thing about the trial is that they [the real-life characters] all shoved themselves onto television and so a lot of lawyers ended up becoming ‘personalities,’ which is very unusual. So everybody in America knows this entire cast of lawyers and witnesses and hangers-on.”
American Crime Story rocks quite the line-up including John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, but apparently there’s one minor character that will be key to the show as well. Karaszewski explained:
“One of the running gags in our script is that [because] they knocked out all of the daytime television for the trial, we have a very minor character who’s into the soap operas and is very, very angry they pulled all of her shows. But by the tenth episode, she’s watching the O.J. trial as if it’s a soap opera.”
Based on those details, now I’m thinking American Crime Story is going to be more of a madcap satire than something akin to American Horror Story. If that’s accurate, that approach could certainly have a fun, fresh appeal to it, but I wonder if they’ll stick with it for subsequent seasons – if they even get them. The original press release said that each season will focus on “a different true crime story which made headlines and captivated the imagination of the public” and I doubt they’ll all be as sensational and outrageous as the O.J. Simpson trial.
American Crime Story is set for an early 2016 debut.