Television: These Kids Are Alright

R.J. Cutler's American High offers an overdue teen reality check

Last year filmmaker R.J. Cutler and two camera crews followed 14 kids at Highland Park High School in suburban Chicago, intending, he says, to make "a nonfiction My So-Called Life." A season ago, Fox would no doubt have marketed the resulting series as a teen drama. Now the catchphrase du jour is "reality TV." Trends come and trends go, but it is never a good year to sell a documentary.

Poetic justice, perhaps, that the home of reality fare like Alien Autopsy should end up in this semantic bind. Yet you can forgive American High (Wednesdays, 9 p.m. E.T.) the creative...

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