Having just finished watching Season 1 of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, I find myself anxious to see what’s next in this gripping series. Ryan Murphy has merged his dark sensibilities, in-depth character development, well-paced storytelling techniques, and sharp wit to showcase multiple sides of contemporary American news stories.
Although we knew how the O.J. story would end, and most of what happened along the way, the show delved into the dirty corners of what society was thinking and swung wide-open the door of perspectives for deeper discussion.
Some heard the announcement of Hurricane Katrina as the subject for Season 2 and wondered, what is there to say about that? That is the precise reason that this is a show that we need immediately. Having moved from New Orleans shortly before the storm which tore apart one of the most historic and storied cities in the country, I heard dozens of personal accounts of the horrors of the aftermath of the storm. The lack of communication with residents, the inaccessibility to potable water and basic needs, the inhumanity of being shuttled into huge storage areas while politicians fought over who was at fault all could’ve been avoided and solved.
“We’re not interested in doing a trial-of-the-week or murder-of-the-month; we’re interested in tackling crimes and events that have some sort of social importance,” Murphy told THR. “That’s why we’re interested in Katrina, and we’ve been researching it quite heavily for a year before we’re even writing it.
While other shows and films have approached the subject, the promise that Murphy will dig deeper, reach a larger audience, and restart the dialog so that we don’t repeat such mistakes is thrilling. This storm forever changed a city in our country while we watched.
One moment that I remember clearly was a television interview in which New Orleans native and musician Harry Connick Jr. broke into tears and yelled at the screen in frustration.
In an interview Friday on NBC’s “Today” show, a visibly shaken Connick recounts the devastation he witnessed throughout the city, including the besieged convention center.
“This is sad, man. It’s pathetic,” Connick said. “It feels as hopeless as it’s going to get. … Be kind to these people. Just be kind to these people.”
Connick said he witnessed babies suffering from dehydration and a man having a seizure at the convention center and wondered why it was taking so long for officials to get needed supplies to the city.
“How hard is it to take a helicopter or a truck … it’s easy to get to the convention center, we got there with no problem … how hard is it to take a truck with water or food for these people. I don’t understand,” Connick said in an interview with “Today” host Katie Couric.
“They told these people to go to the convention center for help and it’s been five days. It’s unbearable,” Connick said. He said that while he was at the convention center on Thursday he saw no water or food being distributed to the victims.
So who is going to be in the show and when will we get the opportunity to watch it? Currently the release date on IMDB is set for 2018. Confirmed stars of the show include: Dennis Quaid, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Paulson. Unlike Season 1 in which actors primarily portrayed real people, season 2 is rumored to include many fictional characters based on actual stories from the storm’s aftermath.
However, there will be one key difference between season two and season one: “Katrina will be very different in that you won’t know the outcome,” executive producer Brad Simpson said. “Who lives, who dies, it’s all going to be true stories.”
More casting news, hints of the production and source material will likely trickle out through Murphy’s Instagram and Twitter feeds and I for one, will be watching. Some real figures that I’d be interested in seeing portrayed in the show include historian Douglas Brinkley, (fun fact: he was my history professor when I attended the University of New Orleans), Sean Penn who went on numerous canoe missions to save stranded citizens, and Oprah, who found a way to broadcast what was really happening to millions who chose not to watch until she showed it to them.