All American Season 1 Episode 1 Review: New Recruit

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Okay, so who's already hooked?

All American Season 1 Episode 1 laid the groundwork for what can be a very compelling series. 

While it wasn't perfect, and already shows a few cliches developing, it did exactly what a pilot is supposed to do: it introduced the characters and left us wanting more. 

Recruited - All American Season 1 Episode 1

Let's just get this out of the way now. Any show about high school football is going to be unfairly compared to Friday Night Lights. That series was iconic, and no one will ever measure up to Coach Taylor, but that doesn't mean All American can't carve its own path. 

Coach Baker and Spencer have already developed a bond, though it was built on a shaky foundation. Billy wasn't completely honest about his true intentions for bringing Spencer to Beverly High, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to help him achieve his dreams. 

They both need something from the other, and as long as they're open and honest, they can help each other. 

But Coach is keeping more than just his job security from him. 

Breakfast - All American Season 1 Episode 1

The hook that is supposed to pique our interest and keep us watching is that Coach Baker and Spencer's mom are keeping a secret. What could it be? An affair feels too obvious, right? 

I think she must have had something to do with Billy recruiting Spencer, and while an affair is a possibility, I'm hoping it's a bit more complicated than that. 

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Maybe it has something to do with Spencer's MIA dad. For now, all we can do is speculate. 

Spencer needs people he can trust because he's already hanging on by a thread. 

He fully admits that he plays angry, and we have already seen how easily he can be provoked. He's extremely smart and an incredibly talented athlete, but if he can't keep his anger in check, he'll blow his chance at achieving his dreams. 

Spencer: You said you would help me get to my dream. And then now that I get here you change my position? How is that helping?
Billy: You can see the field, Spencer, in a way few players can. Look, I made a promise, remember? I said I'd help you get to the NFL. But in order to do that, I need you to see the field from every angle. Because when you do, you'll be unstoppable.

Lucky for him, he has a support system in his mom and best friend Coop, but any sense of betrayal could push him over the edge. Whatever his mom and Billy are hiding could be detrimental. 

It's already worrying that Coop may not be able to hold her own without Spencer around to have her back. She's now in unfamiliar territory as well trying to survive in a dangerous part of town without her best friend by her side. 

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What kind of trouble is she going to get herself into for protection? If something happens to her, Spencer is going to blame himself for not being there. He needs to do what's best for him, but that doesn't mean he's going to forget the people who have always been there for him. 

One fight and he's out at Beverly Hills. Will he be able to abide by that? If Coop is hurt, it's hard to believe he won't be driven to retaliate. 

Making Friends - All American Season 1 Episode 1

One of those cliches I mentioned earlier is that it already looks like we have a potential love triangle brewing. Spencer is infatuated with the popular girl, Layla, even though she has a boyfriend. But the first friend he made at Beverly High is the Coach's daughter Olivia, who happens to be the school's outcast. 

So far, these two ladies appear to be the only people he can trust. His new teammates sure aren't very welcoming. 

Related: All American: Showrunner Exits Ahead of Series Debut

Another cliche is that Spencer is competing with Asher, the other wide receiver on the team. Even though more than one receiver can succeed on a football team (anyone who watches the Rams can see that), Spencer and Asher are already finding themselves in direct competition with each other. 

Spencer flipped out at being switched to defense but soon realized that seeing the field from that perspective only made him a better offensive player. What do you know, Coach Baker actually knows what he's doing!

As QB, Jordan isn't in direct competition with Spencer on the field, but he is for his father's attention. He's jealous and acting out, but so far it's only backfired. Instead of getting Spencer kicked out of his high school, he's moving into his house! 

That should open the door for some uncomfortable family dinners. 

Moving In - All American Season 1 Episode 1

Eventually, Spencer and his new teammates will have to overcome the animosity they are feeling towards each other and learn to play together if any of them want to be successful. Football is a team sport that requires complete trust; if they can't achieve that, they'll all lose. 

Anyone who watches football knows that chemistry between the quarterback and his receivers is imperative, and it's based entirely on trust.

They won this one thanks to Spencer's ability to read the field, but if they're going to keep winning (and save Coach's job), they have to learn to trust each other and do whatever is best for the team. 

Spencer agreeing to play out of position was a huge first step. Will everyone else step up, too? 

Your turn! What did you think of All American? Will you keep watching? What about it has you most intrigued? 

Pilot Review

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Stacy Glanzman is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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All American Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Billy: Take it from me, my experience. Every player out there is just one injury away from needing a backup plan.
Spencer: I appreciate the offer Coach, but I don't need a backup. This is where I belong.

Spencer: What the hell are you doing?
Jordan: I'm picking you up.
Spencer: In your red car, in your red hat? You're like a Bloods poster board man, you're gonna get your head blown off! [laughs] I'm just playing. I'm just playing.