YAHOO – WGN America’s new historical thriller Underground promises a very different look at our country’s uncomfortable history with slavery — and this first-look video shows exactly how different.
Set in the pre-Civil War South, Underground centers on a group of slaves who plot a dangerous escape from their Georgia plantation. The cast is stellar — Friday Night Lights alum Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Straight Outta Compton’s Aldis Hodge as two of the slaves, and Christopher Meloni as a gun-toting man of mystery — and it’s spiked with modern-day touches: The series opens with a runaway slave being chased through the woods to the sounds of Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.”
In the video above — which will also premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival — the Underground cast and executive producers (including mega-star musician John Legend) explain the show’s unique take on a familiar piece of history. As star Alano Miller (Cato) puts it, “a lot of times, shows that depict slavery show it from a victim point of view. This show doesn’t do that.”
“It’s a thriller,” Legend adds. “At any moment, these folks that are struggling to escape this oppressive system could lose their lives.”
Underground premieres Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on WGN America.
TV LINE -WGN America’s highly anticipated journey through the Underground Railroad finally has a departure date.
Underground, the drama series starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell (True Blood), Aldis Hodge (TURN) and Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU), will premiere on March 9, TVLine has learned.
We also have your first look at two trailers for the series, which provide introductions to the runaway slaves, the plantation owners who aim to keep them captive and the good-natured allies who provide shelter along the way.
Additional Underground cast members include Jussie Smollett (Empire), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adina Porter (The 100), Jessica de Gouw (Arrow), Alano Miller (Jane the Virgin), Theodus Crane (The Walking Dead), Chris Chalk (Gotham), Reed Diamond (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Mykelti Williamson (Justified), Amirah Vann (Girls), Renwick Scott (Treme) and Johnny Ray Gill (Rectify).
WGN America, home of Manhattan and Salem, is debuting a new series in the new year focusing on the story of the Underground Railroad. The series comes from Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy), Joe Pokaski (Daredevil), and is also executive produced by John Legend (who will handle the score, soundtrack and all music elements of the series); it will revolve around a group of slaves on a plantation who band together to fight for their freedom. As WGN puts it,
“Underground” tells the story of revolutionaries who use their ingenuity, power and perseverance to attempt the greatest escape in history despite the dire consequences that awaited them on the other side.
Or as the trailer puts it, armed with a Bible and a gun: “When we run, ain’t no white man going to be able to stop us.” Check out the first teaser trailer below (which, like Manhattan, is stylishly shot and full of restive energy).
The series will debut on WGN America in early 2016. You can check out all of the character descriptions and posters here, as well as the new character posters below.
Video under the cut
Continue reading >