The series is about the movement born from the 1969 Stonewall riots. It chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
When We Rise admirably illustrates the virtue and necessity of activism, but it doesn't have enough muscle. There's a piousness, a politeness at root in the series that withers in the harsh glare of our political moment.
When We Rise is a high minded and generally recommended history of the gay rights movement, a sincere effort by Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of Milk to provide history and hope in an eight-hour project.
A sprawling story creates an awkward combination of history lessons and personal stories, and broadcast standards prove far too restrictive. The result is a conglomeration of narratives that never reach their full potential.