It’s the rare TV show makes me feel so uncomfortable. But that’s exactly what American Crime manages to do every single time, and it’s absolutely glorious.
The debut season of John Ridley’s thought-provoking drama was a disturbing success in every way, and I’m pleased to report that season two looks like it’s going to take the series to whole new levels of brilliance. This year’s unsettling narrative tackles the rape of a male student (on financial aid) in a preppy private school. Appropriately, the season will explore a multitude of themes including racism and classicism. It’s heavy material, but it’s skilfully handled in the season two premiere.
In a fantastic reversal, all the returning actors have been assigned completely opposite roles. Chief among them is Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman. She was positively superb as our somewhat-protagonist last season, and this year she’s the closest thing we’ve got to a baddie. Of course nothing is ever that simple, and American Crime is packed with layers and intricate complexities. Also incredible? Regina King and Lili Taylor – two actresses that did stellar work last season, and are right on track to outdo themselves with this year’s arc. Finally there’s Connor Jessup as Taylor Blaine – the boy at the center of the rape. His performance is gut-wrenching and moving in every way. Give him all the awards, now.
Thankfully, the show’s stunning cinematography is still as tremendous as ever. Extreme close-ups and shots that linger for far too long are still there, and they make for a haunting viewing experience at every turn. You genuinely feel the gamut of emotions taking over our characters, and it’s captivating the entire way through.
It might be difficult to watch, but American Crime is must-see television. Outstanding.