If you’ve been on any type of social media lately, you’ve definitely seen hundreds of thousands of teenagers hyping the two biggest Netflix shows of quarantine: “All American” and “Outer Banks.” Known for their unrealistically attractive cast of actors and actresses who are in their mid-20s but play high schoolers, the characters in “All American” and “Outer Banks” have stolen the hearts of viewers and fans, but the actual plotlines and quality of acting fall short of this hype around the two shows.
“All American” was the first of the two shows to capture the love of teenagers around the world and blow up on social media. Based on a true story, the show follows Spencer James (Daniel Erza), a high school football star from a poor neighborhood in L.A. called South Crenshaw, as he transfers to Beverly Hills High to play football and is introduced to its lavish lifestyle.
The basic plot of “All American” could have been successful as it mirrors similar teen dramas such as “Friday Night Lights,” “Beverly Hills, 90210” and the first season of “One Tree Hill,” but adds promising components such as awareness of racial discrimination and class differences. However, the show ultimately does not measure up because of its repetitive scenarios and dry acting.
Each episode provides a new occasion for Spencer to intervene in his friends’ and family’s lives and “magically” fix all of their problems single-handedly. For instance, in a myriad of episodes Spencer recounts his same monologue about wanting to fix everyone’s problems by saying, “What about my mom, what about my little brother, what about Crenshaw?”
Additionally, it seems as though several of the actors and actresses weren’t actually hired based on their ability to act. For instance, Bre-Z who plays Coop, Spencer’s best friend from South Crenshaw, is supposed to be a gang member, but the only notable element of her performance is her coined mopey face and overly auto-tuned songs.
As the teenage excitement around “All American” died down, Netflix released a new original series called “Outer Banks,” which is another teen-drama-meets-mystery series set in the Outer Banks. A hybrid of “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Dawson’s Creek,” the show follows the lower-class “Pogues” and their leader John B. (Chase Stokes) as they try to solve a town mystery that’s seemingly connected to the disappearance of John’s father.
The cast pulls off their characters’ identities quite well, but it takes five out of a 10-episode series to introduce the characters, setting and plot. Due to this lengthy introduction, the show does not truly become interesting until the last four episodes. But just when the plot actually becomes intriguing, the acting falls short of expectations. The cast begins to overact the final conflict so much that what is supposed to be the highlight of the series turns into a corny ending.
Despite the fact that the majority of the two series’ predecessors are arguably better, both series do fulfill their titles as teen dramas. Overall, although “All American” brings more awareness to real-world problems and has more heart to it, “Outer Banks” offers a more interesting plotline and keeps a viewer hooked, despite its occasional cheesy acting. For that reason, if I were to choose a series to watch over quarantine, it would be “Outer Banks.”
“Outer Banks” Rating: 4 Stars
“All American” Rating: 3 Stars
Story by Erin Parolisi, Web Editor
Photos provided by IMDb