Unless you are a crazy TV buff who is perfectly in tune to every single series out there, you quite possibly could have missed the premiere of the fantastic new drama Underground. This is a show that follows the story of slaves on a plantation in Georgia in the 1850’s that are preparing to escape and hit the Underground Railroad. To say that this is all the show is about though is horribly misleading and you might find it quite interesting to see every single place this show goes.
Truth be told, I missed the premiere. I didn’t even know that this show was a thing. I had actually sat down to catch up on The Walking Dead because I was about 5 episodes behind on that –
Horrible, I know … but a price you pay nonetheless for being so busy literally ALL the time! Anyhoo …
– and as I was fast forwarding through the commercials I saw “Executive Producer John Legend” and I had to stop and go back. See, that always interests me. People that I enjoy in their respective field that then step out into a new venture – well we absolutely have to check that out. I’m always rooting for the side projects of these celebrities, but let’s be honest. A good, old-fashioned disaster is also entertaining and I will admit that seeing this show was a ‘WGN America Original Series’ I expected something disastrous.
I mean, honestly … who the HELL is WGN America?
First, I went to Wikipedia.
Let’s see what’s going on, right? Who’s a part of this tragedy?
I was pleasantly surprised to see Christopher Meloni’s name (Law and Order: SVU) and the other name that caught my eye was Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Yep. SMOLLETT. Sister of Jussie. Jussie Smollett of that little show Empire.
Okay, you got me Underground.
I didn’t even know that he had siblings – nevermind siblings that also act! But no. I don’t want to start gushing over how I need to know more about the Smollett family because that’s not the point of this at all. No.
Right. So, just based on the title we know that we’re dealing with the Underground Railroad. Thrilling, yes. But this show is so much more than that. Just five minutes into the first episode you realize that this isn’t going to be some documentary that your mom forces on you. Your heart is racing because we’ve got someone running and hiding and the background music is influenced by hip hop.
Thank you, John Legend.
And don’t take that the wrong way either, because it’s not distracting at all. It was appropriate and it fit.
Now don’t get me wrong – while this isn’t Roots (which is actually being remade with a new vision on The History Channel this Memorial Day) this isn’t for the faint of heart. Without spoiling specific events, I can say that there are definitely moments where it is hard to watch and equally hard to look away. You find yourself on the edge of your seat several different moments every episode. Those are the moments that any TV enthusiast will enjoy.
Personally, I’m really liking the characters. This show isn’t just ‘white people vs. black people and let the chaos ensue’ as one might assume – no, no. If you’ve watched anything like this in the past, you know that back then every black person wasn’t created equal. Your social class (so to call it) was often determined by the amount of education you had or didn’t have, what tasks you performed, and where you worked. House slaves were always considered higher up on the chain than the ones in the field, etc. – and I’ve always found it interesting to see how those interactions can go and to see how some of that animosity plays out. Something I noticed in Underground however is the vast differences among the white characters. On different occasions we see these characters challenging each other and it has made for some very interesting interactions.
Especially among the women … sassy, sassy, SASSY!
There is a whole lot more that could be said about a show like this, but I’m intentionally choosing not to because I would rather this be a ‘ICYMI’ kind of thing so that you have an opportunity to catch up. Underground is currently only 5 episodes in and it’s under a 10 episode order so there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t catch up … and I would insist that you do so. We have already seen guest appearances from James Lafferty (One Tree Hill), Joseph Sikora (Power), and Jussie Smollett. The first few episodes are available On Demand and new episodes air on Wednesdays at 10pm on WGN America. There appears to be a one-week lag with episode hitting On Demand, so check the listings to make sure you aren’t skipping an episode. April 13th will see the first showing of the sixth episode – so please take note! This is a show that you don’t want to miss.