TV Review: FX’s The People Vs. O.J. Simpson successfully acquits Ryan Murphy

If asked to imagine a group of talented directors, writers, and actors best equipped to retell the story of O.J. Simpson and his trial of the century—a dream team, if you will—most people wouldn’t immediately draft Ryan Murphy as the steward. Murphy has earned a stubborn reputation as television’s most accomplished enfant terrible, despite projects like The Normal Heart, which show what can happen when his skills with finessing the camera and enrolling actors in his vision are put to good use. In Murphy’s most successful projects, including Glee and American Horror Story, what he does best is invariably obscured by what he does worst. Even actors as talented as Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates find themselves weighed down by Murphy’s writing, which is typically fixated on pop-culture flotsam and fetish play, stuffed with overworked, arch-to-a-fault dialogue, and plotted as soundly as a …

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