A student critic’s review: Netflix All-American

Rahjia Evans Crockett, Staff Writer

There aren’t many teen series on Netflix that are interesting, but one of the series I enjoyed was All American.

All American is a series about a black teen named Spencer James who attends Crenshaw High School in a predominantly black community that suffers through poverty and gang violence. Spencer then gets an opportunity to switch schools because of his skills in football and ends up going to a predominantly white school in Beverly Hills. Throughout the series, the main reoccurring problem for Spencer is trying to fit into his neighborhood in Crenshaw and his school in Beverly Hills. Spencer struggles to make a balance as he adjusts to his new life and is forced to give up some of the things that he loves, while also suffering from trying to grow without his father. Spencer builds bonds with some kids from his school and works to keep the bonds with his friends in Crenshaw. The program creator, April Blair, makes the series come alive through the characters, plot and story line.

One great thing about the series is the characters. All the characters have different personalities which balances the story line. Spencer, the main character, is very caring. Although he has problems of his own to work through, he always takes care of his family and loved ones. He puts others before himself, which is why he got the prettiest girl at Beverly Hills High. Spencer was cocky at first about how he played football, and only wanted to play a certain position, but after coach baker gave him a pep talk, he realized that if he wanted to be the best, he had to be the best at every position there was. Leila, Spencer’s girlfriend, seems like your average rich popular girl, only she’s not. Leila has depth, which is why she attracted Spencer, but she is also facing some family issues as well. With her mother deceased and her father barely home to care for her, she learned to take care of herself but is very willing to spread her love and lend a helping hand wherever she can. Jordan, coach baker’s son, is living his life trying to use football to impress his dad. All of Jordan’s decisions are based off what he wants his dad to think of him. While having this mindset about his father, Jordan would fall short to impress his dad and hold grudges against those who did. Jordan’s determination drives him to seeking help elsewhere as he develops as a football quarterback. Grace, Spencer’s mother, is your average Black mom. She wants the best for both of her kids, but it isn’t her wants that makes her such an asset to the story, it’s the way she cares. She not only cares for her sons, but also the kids around her that she sees potential in. She pushes them just as hard as she pushes her sons, so she can see them succeed.

Another great thing about the series is the plot and story line. The author created the story line so that it not only stirs new drama, but makes each character seem like they had something to overcome. Spencer overcame his fear or trying to fit in at both Crenshaw and Beverley and realized that home is wherever you are surrounded by love. Leila spoke out against her dad and realized that if he was going to continue to be absent then she didn’t need him. Jordan realized that his attempts to impress his dad were because he felt like his dad didn’t care about him or his future, and after having a discussion with his father, they came to common grounds. Grace overcame her fear of telling Spencer the truth about many things that has happened in his life and decided that if she wanted to keep her son, she had to treat him like an adult and be honest. Throughout many of the personal problems that each character has in this series, they always find a silver lining.

All American is a great series for anyone who enjoys drama, sports and a little bit of love story. The series is entertaining and has its ups and downs and will drive viewers crazy as they try to figure out the answers to many of the questions that are asked throughout the series.