Yet if “The Bobby Brown Story” doesn’t quite qualify as a “warts and all” portrayal — ignoring, for example, reports that Brown grew resentful of his wife’s success — it’s still plenty warty — dealing with Brown’s drug use and a stint in jail, during which he became clean and sober, at least for a time, before the eventual split with Houston.
“Before I met you, they loved me,” Houston snaps at him during one of their frequent fights, as the tabloid headlines pile up.
The two-part production fares best when it’s reveling in the music, offering a reminder that Brown had a life and career that went beyond the tragedies involving Houston and their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Perhaps inevitably, the second night becomes a rather morbid affair down the stretch, chronicling those losses as well as the deaths of Brown’s parents.
Despite the demands of a story filled with so much melodrama, McClain — reunited with the key members of the “New Edition” creative team — proves a solid anchor, convincingly playing Brown across a wide span of years.
As for the spin that Brown’s cooperation brings to this version of events that doesn’t comport with previous depictions of the couple, one supposes as a producer on his own autobiography, that’s his prerogative.
“The Bobby Brown Story” premieres Sept. 4 and 5 at 9 p.m. on BET.