The 2013 feature Short Term 12 told a rare, but crucially important sort of story. The film gave a voice to a subject rarely heard from at the movies by taking a group home as its setting and focusing on the residents and faculty who hold it together. It’s a moving, tenderly felt drama and gave Brie Larson an early showcase for her Oscar-nominated talents, but it also afforded director Destin Daniel Cretton a chance to tell a story he felt mattered. He’ll get another golden opportunity to do that with his new TV program Minors, and he’ll get a little help from poet Chinaka Hodge as well as Creed director and Black Panther director-to-be Ryan Coogler.
This triumvirate of talent has banded together to draw focus to the juvenile-detention system, a catastrophically dysfunctional American institution that’s undergone little scrutiny in the pop-culture arena. Vulture reports that Minors will take a similar ensemble approach to the goings-on of kids caught up in juvie’s pre-prison limbo, a topic near and dear to all three producers — Cretton based Short Term 12 on his experiences working at a residential foster care, Coogler worked in juvie, and Hodge taught underprivileged youth. Within this, issues of race and class will naturally and inevitably arise, symbolically continuing the work of The Wire‘s fourth season, which exposed the lamentable conditions of the Baltimore public school system and its deleterious effects.
No TV executive has laid claim to this gestating project as of yet, but between the strong pedigree behind the scenes and a premise fraught with potential for pathos and hot-button topicality, this would be a strong addition to any network’s lineup. And, especially in light of current discussions, a prestigious project from these creators that fosters talent among young actors of color (Short Term 12 helped launch the career of Keith Stanfield, who was sublime as a dead ringer for Snoop Dogg in Straight Outta Compton last year) is a noble endeavor.