Every once in a while one comes across truly great content that is presented in many forms, a perfect example of this in action (literally) is When They See Us, an upcoming miniseries on Netflix. We were lucky enough to get the chance to watch the four part series earlier than most. Underpinned by a gripping real life story, When They See Us is a gripping watch created by the brilliant Ava DuVernay (13th, A Wrinkle in Time, Selma, Queen Sugar, Scandal and much more) perfectly brought to life by a spectacular cast.
DuVernay co-wrote and directed all four parts of the series. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions executive produced the limited series alongside DuVernay through her banner, Forward Movement. In addition to DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord, and Michael Starrbury also served as writers on the limited series.
Cast – Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Marquis Rodriguez, Asante Blackk, Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Len Cariou, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Joshua Jackson, Christopher Jackson, Adepero Oduye, Omar Dorsey, Blair Underwood, Famke Janssen, Reece Noi, William Sadler, Aurora Perrineau & Rumi C. Jean-Louis
Program Creator – Ava DuVernay
Genre – Drama
Based on a true story that gripped the country, When They See Us will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.
When They See Us has the type of feel and tone that other brilliant true life dramas (that came before it) have. One that immediately comes to mind is The People v. O.J Simpson miniseries…anyone who has seen it will know just how much of a gripping and spectacular watch that is, the same can be said for our focus today. It touches on a whole range of subjects including rape, race, the criminal justice system, police brutality and much more…definitely not for the faint of heart.
Naturally intense at every turn, this series doesn’t let up with each scene shot with a specific purpose. This makes it very hard to keep your eyes off of it and there’s no doubt that you will probably feel the need to watch the episodes back to back. Based on a true story (as previously mentioned), you can’t help but be outraged and find it hard to believe what transpired. It makes you question how we live as humans and what we do to each other, in this case from the actual rape which was quite brutal to the treatment and wrongful conviction of the five gentlemen.
A rollercoaster ride of emotions, When They See Us is a gripping watch that will find you having all kinds of feels, from outrage to sadness and much more. It’s another piece of brilliant piece of storytelling led by one of the great storytellers of our time in Ava Duvernay. When They See Us starts streaming on Netflix from 31st May, there’s no question that you need to watch this. One of the best miniseries we have watched that easily gets a 9 out of 10 rating from us.
All our thanks to the folk at Netflix SA for the pre screener, a very classy bunch you are.
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