ⓘ All American (TV series)
All American is an American sports drama television series, created by April Blair that premiered on The CW on October 10, 2018. The series is inspired by the life of professional American football player Spencer Paysinger with Daniel Ezra in the lead role.
In April 2019, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on October 7, 2019. In January 2020, the CW renewed the series for a third season.
"When a rising high school American football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds - Crenshaw and Beverly Hills - begin to collide. Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger."
2.1. Cast and characters Main
- Jalyn Hall as Dillon James, Spencers younger brother. Like Spencer, he is also an A-grade student, and is much more mature for his young age. Likes sci-fi comics. He wants to play American football like his brother Spencer, but at the moment, he is too young, so he sticks to playing basketball. He was later found to be Coreys son.
- Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper, Spencers lesbian friend from Crenshaw High. While she tried to warn Shawn off the gang, she started to take the gang life more seriously after Shawn was killed off, restarting the chain of revenge killings between rival gangs that started with Shawns brother, Brendon the year before. Also, as she is still a minor, she cannot take over the lease on Shawns rental house, even if she was to be emancipated from her mother. When she moved back in after she helped with the arrest of Tyronne, she reverted to being a songwriter and DJ.
- Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker, Billys daughter who develops an interest in Spencer, but later becomes Ashers love interest. She recently just got out of rehab after a tumultuous last year and once had a one-night stand with Asher, which ended her friendship with Layla. After, reconciling again they become closer. Olivia started to help Asher put his life back together and also remains close friends with him. Her and her brother Jordan are very close and she is also very close with her parents. She is also close friends with Spencer as they often confide in each other as friends.
- Monet Mazur as Laura Fine-Baker, Billys wife who is a lawyer and also Olivia and Jordans mother. In season 2, she tried to keep the family together and she spent most of season 2 laying down the law and punishing Jordan. Jordan got into trouble with fighting and crashing his sisters car and almost got a girl pregnant. Mostly, she decided to file for divorce. The Art of Peer Pressure she is elected District Attorney of Los Angeles County.
- Cody Christian as Asher Adams, wide receiver of the Beverly High American football team and Laylas boyfriend. His father lost all of their familys money, which resulted in Ashers mother leaving. Asher and his father rent a guest house from another family that is always out of the country. Asher pretends the mansion his to keep up the appearance his family has money, until he must confess that his father is laid off and has become broke. Asher found out why his parents split up, his father told her mother to stay away from him and his mother was an ex-hooker and that is how his parents met. His mother was an alumnus of Malibu Charter School, coached by Billys former NFL rival. He was suspended for 2 games due to intoxication at Homecoming Dance after Layla broke up with him, and then was kicked off the team after he tipped off Malibu with Beverlys entire offensive playbook. In 2017, he was with Layla and was an alcoholic. After winning State title, he became more dedicated because his scout stock actually fell due to lack of targets. He, along with Spencer, became offensive captain in season 2 while Jordan was left out. The Art of Peer Pressure that Asher is juicing aka taking steroids and Baker found out will have to do something about it.
- Taye Diggs as Billy Baker, the coach for Beverly Hills High American football team who recruits Spencer. Like Spencer, he was an alumnus of both Crenshaw High and Beverly Hills High, and played in the NFL as a former second-round pick, before his career was cut short by knee injuries. His father also abandoned him as a child. In season 2, it was also revealed that both he and Corey played against each other in Pop Warner, and he actually left South Crenshaw because he could not deal with the loss of his mother, who was the history teach of South Crenshaw High. In season 2, he tried to fight repair the marriage with Laura, but she decided to file for divorce.
- Karimah Westbrook as Grace James, Spencers mother who secretly knew Billy a long time ago and had a one-night stand with him. However, it turns out that Billy, Grace and Corey all were graduate class of 1994 in South Crenshaw.
- Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating, a student at Beverly High who also shows an interest in Spencer. Her father is a very successful record producer, but her mother was killed in a car accident in Switzerland. She was dating Asher, but is now dating Spencer and used to be friends with Olivia before they had a falling out but they have reconciled. Her father was one of the boosters that donated to refurbish the locker rooms of Rose Bowl, home of UCLA Bruins.
- Daniel Ezra as Spencer James, based on Spencer Paysinger, a star wide receiver at Crenshaw High School who transfers to Beverly Hills High to play American football, but is switched to playing Safety, and also covers as a kickoff returner and running back. He long believed that his father was a linebacker coach for Eastern Nevada. After trying to drive Tyrones gang out of Crenshaw, he was the only player given a standing ovation by the South Crenshaw crowd, despite playing for Beverly Hills High, their much more affluent cross-town rival. However, he knocked Chris out cold on a legal coverage tackle from a QB Spy after Chris scrambled once too many times. Chris temporarily lost feelings on his legs, a suspected lumbar injury. Spencer quit football the day after ring ceremony and days after he got his top 60 college prospect ranking because he was grieving from Coreys death. After he got shot by one of Tyrone’s connections, he ultimately decided to perform surgery to remove the bullet so he could return to playing football.
- Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker, Billys son, Olivias twin brother, and quarterback for Beverly High. Jordan was initially jealous of Spencer but the two quickly formed a friendship. Jordan on season 2 was turning very rebellious and he was out of control. He got into fights and crash his sisters car and lost her trust in her mother when she punished him for it. He almost got a girl pregnant.
2.2. Cast and characters Recurring
- Hunter Clowdus as JJ Parker, an outside linebacker for the Beverly High Eagles. A party boy that likes to organize parties.
- Asjha Cooper as Kia Williams, South Crenshaw High student, ex-girlfriend of Spencer and an avid social activist. Her uncle is a reformed Bloods gang member.
- Chad L. Coleman as Corey James, a former American football player and coach who is Spencers biological father. He also played against Billy since Pop Warner, also an aspiring running back. However, his football dreams was dashed after high school because he was stricken with life-threatening illness, he later on died of that illness.
- Geffri Maya as Simone season 2, a classmate involved with Jordan.
- Mitchell Edwards as Cam, Crenshaws new receiver after Spencer left. He has great size, speed and athleticism, but often outplayed by Spencer as the cornerback due to his poor hands and easy tells.
- Erica Peeples as Monique Moore Season 3, Tyrone’s older sister.
- Kareem J. Grimes as Preach, a gang member who initially follows Tyrone because he thought Tyrone saved Brendons lives by serving two prison terms together. However, when Coop made him realize the Scotts were both killed by Tyrone, he tried to set a plan to kill him, but he failed, and was shot and critically injured, and is recovering in Intensive Care Unit post-operation. In Season 2, he got a job as a security guard after he recovered and helped Coop gain an audience for her first show, but was arrested after Tyrone set him up and was sent back to prison for assaulting Buggs and his parole violation.
- Brent Jennings as Willy Baker, Billys father. Former Beverly Hills Football coach, and raised Billy to become an NFL player, he believed Billy abandoned him after going pro and left Crenshaw. He disapproves of his sons lifestyle and refuses to accept his daughter-in-law because she is white. Despite this, he receives monthly payments from his son. He also conned money from his grandson by suggesting he couldnt afford medical care for his diabetes.
- Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tyrone Moore, a gang leader in Crenshaw. He was the mastermind that killed both Brendon and Shawn Scott. He also put Preach into hospital by shooting. He was apprehended by Police on State Championship night after Coop set up a police ambush. However, he was released from jail after Preach decided not to testify. He was later killed in his front porch by Ruth Scott in revenge for killing her sons.
- Scot Ruggles as Coach Wilson season 2, coach for UCLA football team who wants Spencer and Darnell to play for them in college.
- Casper Van Dien as Harold Adams, Ashers father.
- DaVinchi as Darnell season 2, a quarterback at South Crenshaw who lived with Corey for 7 years in Nevada, Coreys son from a previous relationship. While having a frosty relationship with Spencer, they reconciled in Coreys final days. He was invited to live with Grace soon after Corey died.
- Lahmard J. Tate as Flip, Kias uncle and a reformed Blood gang member.
- Michelle Hayden as Ripley, a cheerleader for Malibu Charter School, and love interest of Jordan, but she abuses him as she is a marijuana user, to get him into trouble.
- Kayla Smith as Rochelle season 2, a recent graduate of Beverly Hills High School and aspiring sports journalist.
- Mikelen Walker as Malik, Tyrone and Coops gang underling, mostly used for espionage missions. He pretended to be loyal to Coop but was really still working with Tyrone, but Coop had already set up a police ambush to put Tyrone behind bars.
- Jay Reeves as Shawn Scott, a drug dealer and gang member who sometimes does good deeds, but was shot dead by rival gangs as part of revenge killing in front of his house after he paid Tyrone off to get out of the gang.
- Dina Meyer as Gwen Adams season 2, Ashers mother.
- Corey Reynolds as Cliff Mosley season 2, the head of the Beverly High School Boosters until he was voted out as he tried to relinquish Billy Baker from his coaching role without his presence.
- Chelsea Tavares as Patience, Coops love interest. An aspiring lyricist, but because she has a supportive family when she came out as a lesbian, she often struggles to understand Coops hesitance to let her meet Coops mother and her more supportive church friends.
- Spence Moore II as Chris, a quarterback at Crenshaw High and Olivias love interest. Despite initially resenting Spencer for moving to Beverly, he helped Beverly Eagles defeat Malibu using Crenshaws old playbook.
2.3. Cast and characters Guest
- Stephen Kokole as Young Billy
- Chip Kelly as himself, UCLA head coach and former NFL head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles
- Niatia" Lil Mama” Kirkland as Chynna, Laylas fathers new lover, but also a rapper managed by JP that is set to make her debut. Although she was born in Crenshaw, she was not raised there.
- Judith Scott as Janelle Cooper, Coops overly religious, divorced, homophobic mother who throws Coop out of her house after she comes out as a lesbian. However, she realizes their differences are relatively trivial, and let Coop back in, after Preach was critically injured after being shot by Tyrone. She never fully embraced the idea of meeting Coop and Patience together, until they wrote a song that speaks to Coops struggles in season 2.
- Jefferson Reid as Brandon Scott, deceased older brother to Shawn. He was also part of the same gang that Shawn was in. He was killed last year, which triggered a cycle of revenge killings between the two rival gangs.
- James R. Black as Reggie, Coops father. A former truck driver after not wanting to work for Tyrone. Because he is estranged from his wife, he hasnt been able to help Coop as much as he wished. He knew Coops was gay long before he and his wife divorced.
- Christina Webber as Billys Mom
- Shaun Fury as High School Corey
- Amari ONeil as Young Corey
- Danielle Campbell as Hadley
- Elvis Nolasco as JP Keating, Laylas father, a music mogul that grew up in Harlem, New York. Donated to build Rose Bowls Locker Room. As an alumnus of UCLA, he is effectively a lifetime member of the ground. He returned to her life for good when he realizes the Layla attempted suicide at the exact same place as her mother.
- Daryl C. Brown as Pastor Weekes, a respected South Crenshaw pastor and a South Crenshshaw High academic alumnus.
- Akono Dixon as Andre, Tyrone and Coops gang underlings, mostly used for money transfer missions.
- Akanimo Eyo as High School Billy
- Jordan Belfi as Principal Ed Landon
- Spencer Paysinger as Assistant Coach of Beverley Hills.
- Bill Lee Brown as Alvin Washington, barber and respected figure in Crenshaw.
3.1. Production Development
In September 2017, it was announced that The CW veteran Greg Berlanti had two pilots in development for the network, one of them inspired by the life of NFL football player Spencer Paysinger. It was also revealed that April Blair would write and executive produce the untitled project, with Berlanti and Sarah Schechter executive producing. A pilot for the potential series, then called Spencer, was ordered in January 2018. The pilot was ordered to series on May 11, 2018. On October 2, 2018, it was reported that Blair had stepped down as showrunner due to "personal reasons" and was subsequently replaced with co-executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll, who was also made an executive producer. On October 8, 2018, The CW ordered five additional scripts for the series. On November 8, 2018, it was announced that The CW had ordered an additional three episodes of the series, bringing the first season total up to 16 episodes. On April 24, 2019, it was reported that The CW renewed the series for a second season. The second season premiered on October 7, 2019. On October 8, 2019, The CW ordered three more episodes for the shows second season. On January 7, 2020, the series was renewed for a third season.
3.2. Production Casting
On February 22, 2018, Taye Diggs was cast as Billy Baker, followed a week later with Samantha Logan cast as Olivia Baker, his daughter. The rest of the cast was filled out through mid-March with Bre-Z and Greta Onieogou cast on March 15 as characters, Tiana Cooper and Layla Keating, respectively, with Monet Mazur, Michael Evans Behling, and Cody Christian cast the next day, to play Laura Fine-Baker, Olivias mother; Jordan Baker, Olivias brother; and Asher, respectively. Karimah Westbrook was cast as Grace James on March 19 and British actor Daniel Ezra was cast in the lead role of Spencer James on March 21. On May 31, Jalyn Hall was promoted to a series regular as Dillion, Spencers little brother.
3.3. Production Filming
Filming for the series takes place in Los Angeles, California. The pilot was filmed during the first quarter of 2018. Filming for season one began the following July. Filming took place in Thomas Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles known as South Crenshaw High School in the series.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 91%, based on 23 reviews, and an average rating of 6.92/10. The websites critical consensus reads, All American s ambitious attempts to tackle class struggles and classroom drama largely play thanks to its winning cast - an auspicious start to a promising new series". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 63 out of 100 based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
All American is aired as a web-only series on TVNZ OnDemand. It released the same episode as the US at 8pm Thursdays NZDT, 5 hours after it is aired in the US, during season one. Season two will be released on the same day as the US at 7pm Tuesdays NZDT, 4 hours after it is aired in the USA.