Dear… Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Audra Milos, Sarika Bansal, Havana Chapman-Edwards
Dear… is a docuseries produced by R.J. Cutler, which combines the biographical documentary series with an interesting twist. While the subject of the episode is interviewed about their biography — Spike Lee is the first episode’s subject — we also see them read letters from people who have been highly influenced by their work. We also see the letter writers reading what they wrote. It looks more interesting than it sounds. Read on for more.
Opening Shot: We see the scene from Do The Right Thing where Spike Lee’s character Mookie and others run through the racial slurs they use for each other.
The Gist: The subjects of the ten episodes of Dear… are Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oprah Winfrey, Big Bird, Aly Raisman, Yara Shahidi, Gloria Steinem, Stevie Wonder, Jane Goodall and Misty Copeland. They’ll likely all proceed the way the Spike Lee episode did: A biography that stretches from the subject’s childhood through their school years, and hitting the moments when they broke out through when they achieved their greatest successes.
Lee’s episode seems especially apropos given the demonstrations over the murders of George Floyd and other African-Americans at the hands of the police; Lee himself cut together footage of Floyd’s and Eric Garner’s deaths with Radio Raheem’s very similar death in Do The Right Thing.
But here’s where things are different than the average biographical documentary: Lee reads 4 letters from people he’s influenced with his films. Clifton “Booney” McFlower, an organizer for Chicago community organization BUILD, Inc., uses all of Lee’s films to connect to the communities he works with; Kentucky State University president M. Christopher Brown II has seen School Daze over 200 times; Candice Wiggins used He Got Game to not only help motivate her to becoming a WNBA superstar, but Denzel Washington’s character showed her that her father, former MLB star Alan Wiggins, should be known for more than the drug problems that ultimately killed him. Finally, screenwriter Kamran Pasha found himself more comfortable with his Muslim faith after he saw Malcolm X.
Our Take: Cutler and his directors — Randy Wilkins directs the Spike Lee episode — cram a whole lot in the 23-38 minute episodes of Dear… You’d think that the brief format wouldn’t be able to do more than just touch on the subject’s highlights. But, at least in the Lee episode, the selected titles of the films they did touch on, mainly so they could set up the letters of the people who were influenced by certain films.
So, no, the Lee episode didn’t go over his entire filmography. But when they got to Do The Right Thing, for instance, Lee and the filmmakers did examine the controversy surrounding the film when it came out. He talks about why he asked Norman Jewison to step aside so he could direct Malcolm X, which is one of the myriad films that should have won him an Oscar. And the film that actually got him an Oscar, BlacKKKLansman, was also profiled.
Considering the level of people who are profiled in this series, it seems like it would be impossible to cover any of their careers in such a short period of time, so limiting the topics to those that the letter writers cite seems like a good way to give the overview and show just how much they’ve influenced others. We’ll be curious to see the Big Bird episode, along with the episodes where younger stars like Raisman and Shahidi are profiled. They influence plenty of people, too, despite their tender ages, and it’ll be fun to see just how influential they’ve been in their brief careers.
There is some awkwardness to the format (see below in Most Pilot-y Line), but we’ll take the awkwardness to not only hear from the influencers but some of the people they’ve influenced.
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