New Edition Biopic Sizzles
February 24, 2017
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Over four million viewers tuned into a six-hour and three-night event on BET on January 24, 25 and 26, 2017. The BET biopic sizzled with the rise of the 80s iconic R&B boy band New Edition, earning BET record-smashing ratings with the series being the highest-rated for BET in 5 years.
The series follows the young Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ralph Tresvant from their rough start as a few talented kids performing at local talent shows living in the housing projects of Roxbury, Massachusetts to their being signed to a major label record deal and gaining world-wide fame.
The miniseries doesn’t sugarcoat the group’s story. It dives into the rocky details of their period in the music industry that was plagued with fist fights, drug use, temper tantrums, breakups, reunions and scandals that really happened to the group during its 30 years.
The actors playing New Edition members as kids are so adorable you almost don’t want their characters to grow up. The quintet includes Caleb McLaughlin from the popular Netflix series Stranger Things as Bell, Myles Truitt as DeVoe, Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Tresvant, Tyler Marcel Williams as Brown, and Dante Hoagland as Bivins. Their grown-up counterparts are equally fine: Bryshere Y. Gray from Empire as Bivins, Elijah Kelley as Bell, Keith Powers as DeVoe, Algee Smith as Tresvant, and McClain as Brown. Luke James does an incredible turn as Gill as well.
As good as the cast is, the music is even better. Many of the group’s biggest hits, such as “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Candy Girl,” and, “Can You Stand the Rain” are remade in perfectly choreographed and costumed performances overseen by the biggest people in the music biz such as Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis.
Besides New Edition releasing great music, what made this movie more appealing is its authenticity: interviews, concerts, photo shoots, dance routines, and video shoots are remade to the smallest details. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, the actors playing New Edition members as adults revealed that nothing in the film was fabricated. In the interview the actors even said that they didn’t know some of the shocking information about some of the members from New Edition until they read a script.
The New Edition Story easily stands up to other classic biopics such as, The Temptations and The Jacksons: An American Dream. Like New Edition’s music, the film will outlive this generation and the next.