Dear White People meets Varsity Blues in the world of All American, a new teen football drama that hits the CW this month. The show is one more under the belt of TV titan Greg Berlanti, but it’s a first for his soccer-star husband, Robbie Rogers, who steps in as co-producer on a project that tackles race, class, and queerness, on and off the field. Inspired by real-life footballer Spencer Paysinger’s story, All American sees Spencer (Daniel Ezra) recruited from his Compton stomping grounds by a hotshot coach (Taye Diggs), who wants Spencer to bring his talents to a high school in bougie Beverly Hills.
For the star player, this presents both opportunity and assimilation, and even with the consoling ears of his mom (Karimah Westbrook) and gay best friend (Bre-Z), Spencer still has to face the Rodeo Drive temptations of bikini-clad classmates, while dismissing gang cracks from one too many white jocks. You’ve seen this all before, in another place, on another campus, but Berlanti and Rogers are onto something by flipping the Mean Girls formula and making it racially topical.