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story.lead_photo.caption All American, a new drama from The CW, stars Daniel Ezra (left) as Spencer James and Taye Diggs as Coach Billy Baker.

Our beloved colleague, TV columnist Michael Storey, passed away Oct. 7. This column was written before his death.

The rest of this week and Sunday will be when The CW finally rolls out its new fall season, which includes several old favorites and three new series.

Yes, Sunday. The CW is expanding its schedule by adding Sunday nights to its prime-time lineup this fall. But first, let's take a look at what's going down today and Wednesday, concentrating on the first new arrival.

All American premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday and is unusual for The CW in that it doesn't involve the supernatural or superheroes. The series is inspired by the life of NFL player Spencer Paysinger. He is currently a free agent and without a team, but was a member of the New York Giants' Super Bowl XLVI winning team.

In All American, British actor Daniel Ezra (The Missing) plays Spencer James, a star high school football player and honor student from South Los Angeles. It's a rough school and Compton is a rough neighborhood with drive-by shootings after football games.

Spencer is recruited by swanky Beverly Hills High School's football coach, Billy Baker (Taye Diggs), who desperately needs to have a winning season. But Spencer remains conflicted on whether to make the move to the prestigious school. Spencer's mother, Grace (Karimah Westbrook), and his best friend, Coop (rapper Bre-Z ), convince him it's an opportunity he can't afford to pass up.

Because he lives outside the Beverly Hills High district, Spencer and his family are forced to move in with Billy and his family. That sets the groundwork for drama as these two families and their different backgrounds are thrown together.

Also part of the drama is Billy's son, Jordan (Michael Evans Behling), the team's starting quarterback, who is unhappy with sharing his father's attention and the spotlight with Spencer. However, instantly befriending Spencer is Billy's daughter, Olivia (Samantha Logan), who is dealing with her own demons.

Spencer also quickly develops a crush on his classmate, Leila (Greta Onieogou), but she has a jealous boyfriend, Asher (Cody Christian), who sets out to run Spencer off the team and out of Beverly Hills.

Some are comparing All American to Friday Night Lights. About that, Ezra told Entertainment Tonight Canada, "It's an amazing compliment, because I think Friday Night Lights is an amazing series. The one thing about sports is that it brings people together. In this [series], we get to watch this kid walk the line between two very different worlds."

I was impressed by the well-written pilot and have added the series to my DVR list.

RETURNING CW SHOWS

The Flash, 7 p.m. today. It's already Season 5 for speedy superhero Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). This season, Barry and wife, Iris (Candice Patton), have to get to know Nora, their adult daughter from the future (Jessica Parker Kennedy).

Also, the Elongated Man, disgraced former cop Ralph (Hartley Sawyer), has become a series regular.

Black Lightning, 8 p.m. today. Season 2 promises to be "a bit darker," and will have more adventures for Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), the protector of the city of Freeland with the ability to sense and harness electricity.

Also returning is Nafessa Williams as Jefferson's older daughter, Anissa, known as Thunder. She has the ability to drastically increase her density, giving her invulnerability and super strength for as long as she can hold her breath. Jefferson's younger daughter, Jennifer (China Anne McClain), has the ability to generate pure electrical energy.

Christine Adams plays Jefferson's ex-wife, Lynn Stewart, a neuroscientist and an expert in metahuman medicine.

A major conflict this season will be between our heroes and the infamous gangster Tobias Whale (Marvin Jones III).

Riverdale, 7 p.m. Wednesday. Season 3 will continue to prove this isn't your grandpa's Archie comics anymore. All this soap opera angst stars K.J. Apa as Archie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead, Lili Reinheart as Betty and Camila Mendes as Veronica.

When last we saw the gang, Archie had been arrested after being framed by Victoria's father, Hiram (Mark Consuelos), for the murder of Cassidy, the guy who tried to rob Veronica's lake house.

The producers hint that Season 3 will draw on the tradition of pulp and noir, but not in a murder mystery or serial killer sort of way. Example: Penelope Ann Miller will join the cast as District Attorney Mrs. Wright. Her goal this season is to paint Archie as a "dangerous, violent sociopath."

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Style on 10/09/2018

Print Headline: Impressive All American a Wednesday treat

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