FX's newest anthology series "American Crime Story" premieres February 2 with "The People vs. O.J. Simpson," an adaptation of Jeffrey Toobin's best-seller from prolific producer Ryan Murphy. Murphy has won Emmy Awards for directing the Fox musical series "Glee" and producing the HBO telefilm "The Normal Heart," but this real-life tale could yield his biggest Emmy haul yet. (Read excerpts of the rave reviews below.)
The much-anticipated limited series tackles the murder trial of NFL Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and explores the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court. Other notable cast members include John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran.
We have been eagerly awaiting "The People v. O.J. Simpson" for months, ever since editor-in-chief Tom O'Neil raved in our message boards after seeing the first two episodes, "We were slain. We all agree — it's gonna SWEEP the Emmys."
The first reviews from major publications have been posted, in advance of Wednesday's fancy red-carpet premiere of this prestige production. Among the critical raves:
Dan Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
"'The People v. O.J.' has a welcomely, wonky interest in the legal process, which is the best thing that could happen to the series in this era of 'Serial' and 'The Jinx' and 'Making a Murderer.' Murphy, so frequently a master of visceral and emotional manipulation, proves adept at following systematic manipulation, whether it's in jury selection, evidence presentation or witness wrangling."
Tim Molloy, The Wrap
"Even knowing the tragic, ridiculous way it has to end, I charged like a bronco through 'The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.' The FX limited-run series is every bit as watchable as the insanely watchable trial."
Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture
"There isn't a bad performance anywhere in this production, and while a few of them fail to rise above the level of a very good imitation, most of them go far beyond that. As O.J., Cuba Gooding Jr. communicates the defendant’s incredulity, narcissism, and unearned smugness, but also his justifiable self-loathing at having come so far in life and lost it all in a single unfathomably brutal night."
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Photo Credit: FX Networks/Emmys