Title: “Flint Town”
Directed by: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, Jessica Dimmock
No. of Seasons: 1
No. of Episodes: 8
Rating: 3 out of 5
“Flint Town,” an eight-part investigative documentary series, shares the perspective of Flint, Michigan’s 98 police officers, who stretched across one of America’s most dangerous areas. Viewers are flooded with segments from various news outlets about policy and the people of Flint. In the first season of “Flint Town,” viewers see a civil unrest that has washed over a once thriving motor city. Powers transition as new Mayor Karen Weaver welcomes a new police chief, meanwhile the water crisis looms, as does the severing ties of an ever divisive presidential election.
A somber tone is set by social media, music, drone footage and crisp dark lighting. This mixes with interviews from Flint police officers, policy makers and local reporters, as well as views of rundown city landscapes. This tone puts an emphasis on the intense and far-reaching issues that are at the core of a lost city. The producers don’t ask for sympathy from viewers, but they do grant the perspective of the Flint police ever so slightly more screen time, pushing the distrusting counter narrative of average civilians who live in the city of Flint to the wayside. This slant of favoritism doesn’t completely cripple the narrative though; instead a humanized lens is given to those in uniform, a view that showcases a desire to find a balance outside of the demands of the police profession. This more personal narrative counteracts the violence and unrest that floods through the screen for the duration of the series. The series offers its best content while supplying fragmented looks into what life is like for these officers at the homestead. Momentum builds with a shift in policy and their desire to change public opinion and to protect their jobs.
“Flint Town” utilizes fragmentation, personal narrative, drone footage, color and sound to create a more approachable series, while still following the basic fundamentals of this genre of television show. Because of this, more often than not,, viewers will forget that they are watching a documentary style show. Heavy with political agendas of an overstretched police department, “Flint Town” often leaves out the average citizen. If this show wishes to continue it will need to hear from all perspectives across the city. These producers are trying to contribute to this hot discussion topic, but are offering viewers a single prospective, when a much more complex view is deserved. Given that a second chapter is already in the works, creators will need to provide more diverse opinions if they wish to succeed the second time around.