Screengrab via AOL Originals/YouTube

Can AOL’s ‘Inspired’ live up to its title?

As is the danger of any series that relies upon a succession of subjects, the results here are mixed.


Tom Harrington


Published Jan 28, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 4:16 pm CDT

The premise of AOL Originals‘ new webseries, Inspired—celebrities talking about life-changing moments of inspiration—is a promising one. But as is the danger of any series that relies upon a succession of subjects, the results here are mixed. 

Featured Video Hide

The choice to begin the series with the skier Bode Miller is a curious one. Miller—who reveals himself to be boorish, un-self-consciously recalling being the “poster boy” of the Turin Olympics and chatting about medals he “should” have won—is the least interesting of the bunch. What should have been an interesting story of a near-death experience is turned by Miller’s monotonous delivery into a chore. Even some excellent photography of the incident fails to ramp up the energy.

Advertisement Hide

Luckily, later episodes are more successful: Doc Rivers relating his wife’s various text messages during the 2008 NBA finals is a treat, and Chris Carter outlining the pitching process for The X-Files is a welcome reminder of that show’s greatness. And in Lisa Ling’s episode—the pick of this bunch of five—it’s nice to hear a story that doesn’t center on the episode’s featured “star.” Her telling of the processes involved in getting her sister, abducted by North Korean forces and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, back home puts the rest of the series’ recollections in the shade. 

But throughout each episode, there is a nagging feeling that we’ve heard all this before. And that’s because in most cases, we have—most of the incidents regaled by Inspired‘s celebrities are well-documented and… well, old. An exception is Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz’s take on the beginnings of thirtysomething (an odd choice to be featured), but the novelty of the story will be tempered by the target demographic’s likely apathy toward that show. It’s a fundamental problem, and hopefully something that is rectified when the second batch of five episodes drops on March 4. 

Advertisement Hide

Screengrab via AOL Originals/YouTube

Share this article
*First Published: Jan 28, 2015, 5:31 pm CST