BET unrolled the limited series “The New Edition Story” over three consecutive nights beginning January 24. The network’s decade-long commitment to bringing to the small screen the story behind one of the most successful boy bands of all time was rewarded with rave reviews and stellar ratings. Indeed, “The New Edition Story” merited a perfect score of 100 at Rotten Tomatoes.
Video directing wiz Chris Robinson helmed this compelling limited series that traces the band’s roots from the projects of Roxbury, MA to sold out stadium concerts. Critics lauded Robinson’s attention to detail and praised the script by Abdul Williams.
For Williams, the key to telling the truth behind all of the rumors that dogged the band was that all six members — Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant — signed on as co-producers. That lends a gritty realism to the raw scenes of the infighting that led to the band’s break-up and heightens the emotions surrounding the subsequent reconciliations.
Many reviewers likened the limited series to the ratings juggernaut “The Jacksons: An American Dream” that aired on ABC a quarter century ago. As with that Emmy winner, “The New Edition Story” cast several actors to play the band mates at various ages. Tyler Marcel Williams was lauded for playing the young Brown, who became the breakout star of the group, as was Woody McClain who showed us how fame came to nearly destroy this talent. Likewise Jahi Di’Allo Winston was praised for his uncanny ability to mimic the signature sound of the teenage Tresvant while Algee Smith earned plaudits for his portrayal of him as an adult struggling with success.
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