One of the best shows of the year, “American Crime” from ABC, ended its run on Wednesday. Many people have said the finale was maddening, but it has been in the watercooler conversation since it premiered. Having followed this season from episode 1, I can tell you that the show was superb and earned a finale that was less about easily wrapping up the narrative than just moving to a point where the writers felt comfortable ending it. Everyone “got what they deserved” and much like the theme of the show, the finale wasn’t about easily resolutions, but rather the ramifications that can come from an incident. The show did a brilliant job at examining sexuality, class, and race, all in ten episodes, providing us with fantastic characterizations, great visuals (it’s only shot in closeups and wides!), and exceptional acting.
What I find even more fascinating than the show itself is the possibility of renewal amidst a sea change at ABC. Paul Lee “stepped down” and Channing DUngey took his place, albeit with a bit less control than her predecessor. While this happens often with networks, and not surprising given the ratings slump, eyebrows have been raised about the direction the network wants to go. Disney-ABC TV Group chairman Ben Sherwood has mentioned before that he’d like to “focus more on CBS-style procedural crime series like NCIS” which should make anyone concerned about quality TV shudder. Writer John Ridley has said that he expected ABC to announce early renewals, and that “American Crime” wouldn’t have fit with the ones that they chose. Does this mean this is the final season?
Personally, I think ABC would be losing a really valuable network asset by not renewing “American Crime.” We already know the broadcast networks are getting lapped by cable and streaming services when it comes to Emmy nominations, and outside of Viola Davis in “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Modern Family,” the network doesn’t have much in the way of prestige other than “American Crime,” which racked up 10 nominations last year.
Also, part of the reason the network succeeded in the first place was because of its commitment to diversity, long before the other broadcast networks jumped on the train. Getting rid of a show like this, one that has palpable conversations around it, would be a mistake, ratings aside.
What do you all think about American Crime and its renewal chances?
P.S. If John Ridley is reading this, the next season should be about a missing person in a small town.