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Thread: Underground on WGN

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Default Underground on WGN

    Who watched this?! It is fantastic. Bonus: Chris Meloni is in it.

    5 Reasons ‘Underground’ Is Unlike Anything on TV Right Now

    The WGN America drama tackles the Underground Railroad with modern touches



    ENLARGE
    Underground, Season 1, Episode 105 Photo Credit: /Sony Pictures Television Photo: Sony Pictures Television ByPaul Vigna



    Underground,” a new series on WGN America, debuts tonight at 10 p.m. ET. It’s about a group of slaves on an antebellum Georgia plantation who plan an escape along the Underground Railroad, the Macon family that owns the plantation, and the people along the Railroad helping ferry runaways to freedom in the North.
    The show is WGN’s latest attempt to prove it can broadcast quality original programming and transform itself from a regional channel into a legitimate cable destination. It had trouble doing this with the well-regarded but little watched “Manhattan,” but we’ve got a feeling “Underground” is going to find an audience. Here are five reasons to tune in.

    1. The modern touches

    “Underground” is set in 1857, but its sensibilities are set in 2016. There’s a modern feel and flow to this show. As soon as you see Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Rosalee run through the Macon house, tracked by a camera on a drone, it’s clear this is going to be a new experience.
    It’s as much an electric adventure drama as it is a period drama. It almost has the feel of — and this is going to sound totally wrong given the subject matter — a caper, but it works. These slaves aren’t being portrayed in the light that their owners see them — as whipped, subservient chattel (not that the whip is spared in this show; it is not) — but as we see them, which is, as star Aldis Hodge said in an interview, simply as Americans, as citizens unfairly bound. This viewpoint completely flips the script on the slave narrative.

    2. There is a star in the making

    This is an ensemble show, and the whole cast is superb. Hodge has star written all over him; he almost literally jumps off the screen as Noah. But for our money, Amirah Vann steals the show as Ernestine, Rosalee’s mother and head of the house slaves.
    “Mama, you ever think about another life?” Rosalee asks her mother, looking forlornly out the window. She’s already thinking of running.
    “I think about all kinds of lives,” Ernestine says, recounting all the horrors she’s imagined for herself and her children, the nightmares of living a slave’s life, and from which she’s tried to protect them over the years. Vann is spellbinding in this role.


    3. Excellent pacing
    Series creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski have crafted a tight, well-paced, energetic show. Time and again, the lines that separate these characters are broken down, and the result is an ever-richer portrayal of people doing their best to live within the confines of a brutal society. There is one scene, in the third episode, between Rosalee and Bill Meekes (PJ Marshall), the field overseer, that may be the best in the whole show: Marshall takes Meekes to emotional extremes in a very short time, and he nails it. There are countless more like it sprinkled throughout.

    4. Historical accuracy

    Everybody knows something about this topic, but few know much about it. “Underground” takes its topic very seriously. Much of the source material comes from an 1872 book, “The Underground Railroad,” by William Still; the famous abolitionist is the one historical figure on the show (played by Chris Chalk). The show was filmed at LSU’s Burden Museum, in historic plantation homes. It feels authentic, and paired with vibrant characters and good writing, these elements all build upon each other.

    5. Social import

    “Underground” is dropping at a time when fights over race and class are raging, from the Charleston, S.C., church shootings and the debate over the Confederate flag that followed, to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke inserting himself into the discussion of the presidential race. There have been police shootings that sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his campaign rages against the economic status quo, inveighing against a system that turns citizens into debt slaves. “Underground” is first and foremost entertainment, and it’s good entertainment, but it also hits on issues that are still coursing through the body politic. The show is set in 1857, but like we said, its sensibilities are rooted in 2016.

    UPDATE:
    An earlier version of this post misspelled Joe Pokaski’s name.

    5 Reasons ‚€˜Underground‚€™ Is Unlike Anything on TV Right Now - Speakeasy - WSJ
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Default

    I just realized what I posted the other day didn't attach the trailer:

    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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