FX’s “People v. O.J. Simpson” has the benefit of 20 years of perspective about the trial that riveted and divided America.
“The O.J. Simpson Story,” which you can watch in its entirety above, had no perspective at all. It debuted in January 1995, just seven months after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, two months after the jury was sworn in and 10 long months before the not-guilty verdict arrived.
Is it any good? Well. It’s directed by Alan Smithee, which isn’t a good sign. (“Alan Smithee” is the pseudonym used when directors don’t want credit for their work.)
But it does capture many of the same dramatic moments that also appear in “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” because they happened in real life. The white Akita makes a prominent appearance in both films. So does the white Bronco.
It also contains elements not featured in “The People v. OJ Simpson.” We see much more of Nicole in the 1995 film than in the FX series. The original film recounts their relationship from the beginning, even imagining a conversation between them at a club where Nicole was a waitress.
The actor who plays O.J., Bobby Hosea, isn’t half bad. Neither is the actress who plays Nicole, Jessica Tuck. The script, by Stephen Harrigan, manages to pack a lot into 90 minutes. The FX series is stretched over 10 episodes.
But many of our strongest memories from the O.J. case aren’t included in “The O.J. Simpson Story” because they hadn’t happened yet. We meet Kato and Ron Goldman — but not Johnnie Cochran, Chris Darden or Marcia Clark.
Then again: We don’t have to re-live that awkward moment when O.J. tries on the gloves.