As I started watching this I realised how little I knew about the "trial of the century." I was a small child when it happened and most of the small amount I've learned since has came from TV shows and films. What fascinated me most is the parallels that are easily drawn to today, with racial tensions in America constantly at boiling point. So little has changed in over twenty years.
It was a well told story. The source material is so ripe and the drama of the case naturally leads to drama on screen. This drama is eased out effortlessly with powerful performances from Cuba Gooding Jr., Courtney B. Vance, Sterling K. Brown and Sarah Paulson. I had to resist looking up photos and accounts from the actual case and I can't believe how accurate everything is. Only a really tight and dedicated cast and crew could bring something like this to life. The authenticity doesn't diminish the message the show tries to bring out, it enhances it. The truth of the case seems clear but the show doesn't underline that, it offers it and lets you make your own mind up, which I guess was the problem with the actual trial itself in a way. The frustration you feel at the end of the lack of closure must pale in comparison to how the real participants felt.
While the story and performances are strong, the style is lacking. It never felt like the format had a voice. Think about great American shows like House Of Cards, The West Wing , Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. Each one had it's own distinct way of telling the story through use of camera movement, character traits, music, sound and themes. If "American Crime Story" is going to be a reoccurring series focusing on a different crime story with each outing then it would have been wise to create a unique way of telling the story that we would recognise from series to series. Maybe it does and we just won't recognise these traits until we see the next series. I'm looking forward to finding out.