Tag Archives: When We Rise

The critics weigh in on ABC’s “When We Rise”

Did you check out ABC’s new miniseries When We Rise? I’m going to have my official review on the site by the end of this week, but until then, let’s take a look at what the critics said.

First, a quick synopsis, courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes:

The LGBT civil-rights movement is chronicled from its turbulent infancy to the present through the experiences of a diverse family of LGBT men and women.

It sounds promising, and something that’s much needed. It’s also a project the actors and crew are very proud of. Just read some of what Rafael de la Fuente, of Empire fame, had to say about his part in the show. (Also check out my exclusive interview with him here!)

Since TV shows are now given the Rotten Tomatoes rating, I went over to the site to see how well the show fared, and turns out…it’s fresh!

The show was given an 81 percent rating, with the general consensus being this:

When We Rise works as a well-meaning outreach project with a decent cast, even if the script’s ambitious reach slightly exceeds its grasp.

Now, I know I haven’t actually watched the show yet, but the commercials alone seemed like there were going to be some elements that seemed more suited to either a more fleshed-out show or an actual movie (something to get the taste of Stonewall out of our mouths). But let’s see what some folks who have watched it had to say about it.

“As a television drama, it often plays like a high-minded, dutiful educational video. But at its best moments, it’s also a timely statement that identity is not just an abstraction but a matter of family, livelihood, life and death.” —James Poniewozik, New York Times

“When We Rise’s timid and narrow idea of what counts as progress doesn’t do justice to all the bravery, imagination, and hard work that went into making that progress a reality.”—Inkoo Kang, MTV

“When We Rise is the most impactful LGBT-centric series since HBO’s “Angels in America” more than a decade ago. Sure, it’s a small playing field, but a notable one given the challenges of today.”—Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

“The miniseries is meant to be a Roots for the LGBT community. Unfortunately, much of it is about as enjoyable as civics class on a Saturday afternoon.”—Mark A. Perigard, Boston Herald

(Interestingly enough, Inkoo Kang compared When We Rise to a show shooting wildly for the importance of Roots as well.)

“Important television, but also wildly, maddeningly uneven TV, too.” —Verne Gay, Newsday

The reviews are mostly positive, and yet they are still all over the board. What did you think about When We Rise? Give your opinions below!

Rafael de la Fuente Joins ABC’s 2017 Miniseries “When We Rise”

You might recall that sometime in 2015, I interviewed Empire’s own Rafael de la Fuente for JUST ADD COLOR. Now, a year later, I’m excited to say that de la Fuente is going to be on a brand new project coming to ABC, When We Rise.

When We Rise, coming to the network in 2017, will be directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will HuntingMilk) and Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) and written by Dustin Lance Black (Milk, Pedro, J. Edgar). For those who hated the film Stonewall (and with good reason), When We Rise could be your saving grace, since it’s focusing on the American gay rights movement after the Stonewall Riots. De la Fuente will play Ricardo, who is described as “a character who ends up in a long-term relationship with Cleve [Guy Pearce]”. Mary Louise Parker is also a part of the project; other cast members will be announced in the coming months.

“I’m excited to take on the role of Ricardo in this very important mini-series,” said de la Fuente in a statement. “I’m excited to work opposite Guy Pearce, and work with Dustin, Gus and Dee. This team will bring the story of the gay rights movement to life, showing the courage, compassion, diversity, fear and most important, love, of this movement and era. The stories within this series will undoubtedly resonate today in all communities, not just the LGBT community.”
What do you think about When We Rise? Give your opinions in the comments section below!