Feb 04, 2016 05:43 AM EST By Mary Duran

'The People v. O.J. Simpson' Premiere: Bold, Fascinating & Shockingly Relevant

FX’s new mini-series has factual bite laced with something stranger. .

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  • It has been more than 20 years since OJ Simpson went on trial for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman but it seems America still cannot get enough of the trial of the century.

    'American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson' premieres with huge ratings on FX Tuesday night, drawing in 5.111 million total live plus same day viewers according to Nielsen.

    That was enough for a '1.96' rating among adults 18-49 - making it the most watched cable program on television Tuesday night.
  • The series also earned a 1.96 rating among adults 18-49 - making it the most watched cable program on television Tuesday night. The show stars Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer and Sterling K. Brown.
  • According to The Dily Beast, Tuesday night’s premiere was the first of 10 episodes in the series, a loose dramatization of Jeffrey Toobin’s novel 'The Run of His Life' that is executive-produced and directed by Ryan Murphy—a name that, thanks to the tonal whiplash and quality see-sawing of shows like 'Glee' and 'American Horror Story,' is as thrilling as it is unnerving.
  • The 'People vs. O.J. Simpson' revisits the case we know so well with the larger themes that surrounded it, themes that are just as resonant today as they were then.

    Race. Celebrity. Fame. Sexism. Police corruption. The power of media and the even greater power of cultural discontent. Working from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt), these broad issues are juggled with nimble dexterity, turning the Simpson trial into the kind of circus you want to applaud rather than, as it was then, something you couldn’t run away from fast enough.
  • As this is a Ryan Murphy production, you needn’t fear any subtlety. The show would be a critic of racism and how it permeates not only the justice system but all of society—and continues to do so today. And you know what? It’s effective. You pay attention.
  • The premiere episode opened not with footage of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but with footage of race riots after the LAPD’s beating of Rodney King three years prior.

    The city still had not settled from the disgrace of it all. The images were very similar to the ones we’ve witnessed out of Ferguson, Baltimore, and too many other cities over the past year. You realize that, decades later, we’re still waging the same war.
  • From there the action transports to Brentwood. Simpson, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., is skipping town to Chicago. Police encounter the crime scene. The glove is there, and so are the bloody shoe prints.

    We see the white Bronco. We see the blood inside it. We meet Kato Kaelin, played with operatic goofiness by Billy Magnussen, as he is questioned by the police. “I’m not an official person, I just kind of live back here.”

    We meet Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark as she’s frantically readying her children for school, fielding a call about the Simpson murder at the same time. “Brentwood? Nobody gets killed in Brentwood,” she says, the first of the series’ many overt laugh lines.
  • Numbers for the show will likely grow exponentially, once DVR viewings are figured in over the next week.

    'The People v. OJ Simpson' was also the highest rated series premiere ever for FX according to Deadline, far surpassing the previous winner, 'American Horror Story: Murder House,' which debuted in October 2011 to 3.18million viewers.


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