Yes, I know you have an opinion but hear me out. The Clarks Sisters biopic on Lifetime is not a series and the TLC biopic was a bit lackluster. It didn’t have exactly what I needed and we were missing Lisa’s take since she’s no longer with us. We have all six members of New Edition alive and well….well alive. Here’s why this is hands down the best biopic series we’ve ever seen.
One, the process they used to gather the information for the film. According to producers, behind the scenes folk and the members themselves, they were each individually interviewed about their experiences. I would love to know who they started with. Someone had to be first and then you would branch off to further inquire with the other members. Wonder if it was Johnny or Ralph. Either way, to gather information from six core members of a legendary group and everyone involved in their success, like Brooke Payne, makes for the best foundation for the series.
Two, the casting was PERFECT! Now, this is going to sound horrible and I apologize in advance but here goes. The characters who needed to really be able to sing were able to do that. Elijah Kelly (who I LOVE), Luke James and Algee Smith could all sing and played characters that needed to be able to sing both during recording scenes and sporadically throughout the movie. Wood Harris as Brooke Payne! Bryshere Gray and Keith Powers as Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe. Woody McClain as the KING Bobby Brown! And Keith worked on those dance moves! Luke did too good of a job dancing. Johnny is not the best dancer in the group but I digress. The little boy who played a young Bobby Brown looked so much like him that Bobby himself asked if that kid was his. Whoever made the decision to cast Nay’s mom (The Wire reference) as Bobby Brown’s mom is a genius and should be deemed as such.
Three, Brooke Payne was in charge of choreography because who else would be able to do it as well as he would. He took them boys through it! All the prep and all the training that we never see when we go see them in concert they had to do. Think about it, they were only going to be these people for a few months. They had to get a lifetimes of choreography in just a few months and make it look not even just good but perfect. Brooke was not playing with them!
Four, it was shot in a way that made you feel like you were in the room. I felt like I was in those fights, in that arena with the screaming girls and in their homes. I was on tour or in the studio. It just had a home-y feeling to it which made since because for people like my mom, who are obsessed with this group, they have been with them since the beginning and knew most of this information anyway.
Last, but not least, just when my momma thought she knew everything she needed to know about her favorite group, they hit her with the Ricky Bell bombshell and the Johnny Gill bombshell. NO ONE knew that Ricky had a drug problem nor did he personality lead you to think that he would. Who knew all that he had was the group? Everyone else had found something else they could focus on but he hadn’t. The group was his livelihood. In addition, we all though Johnny was brought in to replace Bobby, but in reality, Mike approached him to replace Ralph. Also, we knew Mike was annoying but who knew that, although they fought and fussed with Bobby, Mike was the real enemy. He’s the only one that everyone has had a problem with. Shocker! But given his personality and overall cutthroat ambition, you could kind of see that.
BET gave us SIX WHOLE HOURS of entertainment from top to bottom. It didn’t feel rushed or unfinished like some biopics do (one of the issues I had with the end of the Clark Sisters biopic). Yes, I am biased which also means I am critical as hell. What is your favorite New Edition song? Favorite member? Favorite scene from the film? Honestly, I love when Ralph played his new single for the guys and they told him they won’t with it and he went down the line with every single one of them. He went soft on Ricky though. I didn’t know Ralph could be that ruthless with his friends who were basically his family.
I have one last comment. I need New Edition to go ahead and get it together. They haven’t been right since this series and I’m here to say GET OVER IT! We need the choreography, we need the songs and we need the concerts when they let us back outside. From someone who’s seem them twice in concert, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my life and I want there to be third.