Just as America begins to come down from the long national high from the crackling courtroom drama of American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson, TV comes through in the clutch to continue satisfying the viewing public’s addiction to salacious tales of true crime. And though this next TV event does center on O.J. Simpson, too, it’s certain to eschew most of the fiery performing and virtuosic monologuing that made FX’s series a hit. As part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series, this summer’s O.J.: Made In America will stick to the facts while approaching the subject of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. But judging from the early reports, documentarian Ezra Edelman will weave the details of the landmark court case into a sweeping tapestry of the history of race, gender, and class in America.
Today brings the first trailer for this much-hyped documentary project, with such esteemed voices such as Pulitzer-winning critic Wesley Morris and Chuck Klosterman already vouching for the quality of the seven-and-a-half-hour miniseries. Set to begin on ABC on June 11, Edelman’s film compiles exhaustive archival footage and interviews to get a top-to-bottom, nearly Dickensian look at the trial. This won’t be the first time that the 30 for 30 series has touched on the Simpson controversy, either, having chronicled the events of the day of the notorious white Ford Bronco chase with June 17, 1994 back in 2010.
But from the sound of the advance praise, Edelman’s film is on an entirely different level, going beyond the realm of sports to make larger statements about the pillars of America’s fractured identity. It may not have Sarah Paulson or Courtney B. Vance, but ESPN’s upcoming series has the real Juice, and what performance could be more mesmerizing than that?