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Category: Underground

Press: John Legend Renews Push To Save ‘Underground’ TV Series

FORBES – John Legend is publicly renewing his efforts to save Underground, the ground-breaking, recently-cancelled series that humanizes and tells the stories behind the Underground Railroad. A popular social media and ratings darling, Underground aired on WGN America until Sinclair Broadcast Group made a bid for Tribune Media three months ago. Meanwhile, as the potential merger of the two companies was reviewed by the FCC, the two-year-old drama was deep sized. The series told the not-told-enough stories of the people who tried mightily to help the enslaved escape to freedom in the north United States and in Canada. Legend is an executive producer.

 

Since the cancellation, fans have tried to persuade OWN, Netflix and other networks (or streaming services) to host the series, which clocks in at around $4.5-million an episode and was selected as an inaugural public program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. No network has bitten yet (that we know of) and Legend took to Twitter to distribute an open letter discussing his thoughts on the matter. He castigates Sinclair Media’s choices in programming, saying the “far right” network turned away from high quality scripted shows to “cheaper unscripted entertainment.”

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Press: TV Insider’s Favorite TV Moments of 2017 … So Far

 

TV INSIDER: My Favorite Midseason Characters

 

This was a tough choice. I cherish Grace and Frankie, the endearing title characters of the Netflix comedy adroitly played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, who with charm, humor and sincerity defy stereotypes of older women, their ambitions and friendships. In the end, however, it’s the population of Underground, the cruelly prematurely terminated drama series that ran on WGN America for two seasons that affected me deeply. The brilliantly acted show about the waning days of American slavery and the Underground Railroad that helped the enslaves escape to freedom, created real, relatable human beings whose well-being, passionate viewers (myself included) deeply cared about.

 

Most of the major characters had been—or were still enslaved—at the end of Season 2. A few were famous like the former slave turned abolitionist Harriet Tubman (masterfully portrayed by Aisha Hinds), most were not. Few were saintly, fewer monsters. Most were black, a few were white. Among the standouts: the determined and heroic escapee Rosalee (Journee Smollett-Bell) and her resourceful and tragic mother Ernestine (Amirah Van) and brave and sometimes foolhardy lover Noah (Aldis Hodge). I can’t fail to mention, the luminous Daniel (Bokeem Woodbine) blinded by his “owners,” for teaching slaves to read. Among the so-called “contraband’s” allies: the white abolitionist Elizabeth (Jessica De Gouw) moral growth impressed. But there was humanity to be found in the show’s villains as well: the collaborator Cato (Alano Miller)—whose rise, fall, and plotted rise again, never failed to fascinate—and the poor, downtrodden farmer August Pullman (Christopher Meloni) who turned slave catcher for both money and status.

 

I can only hope that another network will give these indelible characters life again. —Ileane Rudolph, Senior Writer

John Legend Breaks Silence Over ‘Underground’ Cancellation

ET – John Legend isn’t giving up on Underground.

 

The 38-year-old singer, who serves as an executive producer on the Civil War drama about the Underground Railroad, broke his silence Tuesday after WGN America canceled the series after two seasons.

 

In the second season, Legend appeared as abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

 

“Content wins,” Legend tweeted. “We’re not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We’re so proud of our show and the audience that supported!”

 

“Feel free to drop some hints to the networks/streaming services you want to pick up #Underground,” he continued. “Show them who will be watching!”

 

#RenewUnderground #Underground

A post shared by John Legend (@johnlegend) on

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UNDERGROUND: Aldis Hodge and Jurnee Smollett-Bell on Season 2 – Interview

ASSIGNMENT X – In Season 2 of WGN America’s UNDERGROUND, which concludes Wednesday, May 10, things have gotten even more dangerous for the main characters. Escaped slave Rosalee, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, is now working in the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman, played by Aisha Hinds, to help other slaves flee to freedom. Meanwhile, Noah, played by Aldis Hodge, who changed his own plans to help Rosalee, has spent time in prison and nearly been executed, all of which has a major effect on him.

 

Hodge and Smollett-Bell sit down to talk about their characters in UNDERGROUND’s second season, as well as what the show has to say to contemporary America.

 

ASSIGNMENT X: What would you say are the big differences in attitude for Noah and Rosalee in Season 2 from Season 1?

 

ALDIS HODGE: I would say for Noah, he has the same goal, different intention. It’s still freedom, but his idea of freedom is Rosalee, it’s no longer just being out of bondage, it’s Rosalee. So you’re going to see all these months of being cooped up in a prison cell [laughs] ferment through his actions and his choices. But he learns, he explores different situations. He’s put in situations emotionally that he never expected to be in. So we’re going to see his evolution over time with how he comes to understand life, because for him, life is very different in terms of trying to escape again, trying to understand what Rosalee means in terms of family and his overall goal of freedom.

 

JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL: I think at the end of Season 1, it really dawned upon Rosalee that freedom ain’t free, and that when she says to Noah, “We’re not free until we’re all free” – we lost everyone. We lost the Macon Seven comrades, I lost my mother and brother, found out my oldest brother was lynched, and then I end up losing Noah. So when we meet Rosalee at the beginning of Season 2, she’s trying to put the pieces back together. And she’s been on the run with Harriet, being trained on how to navigate this complex [underground railroad] network.

 

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Gallery: Underground Screencaps 2×09-2×10 & Blacklist Screencaps and Stills

 

 
 

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Gallery: Underground 2×07-2×08 Photos

   
 

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Gallery Update

 

 

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Huge Gallery Update

As you know the site has been on hiatus due to my eye surgeries. I’m back for now and hopefully for good! Thanks SO SO much to my friend Stephanie at IHeartJake for helping to keep up with the pics from Aldis’ MANY events in February and so far in March.Thanks to Far Far Away for the Underground Stills and Promo pics.

 

Sadly, I haven’t caught up with all his interviews and videos while he was promoting Hidden Figures and Underground but I hope to get them posted soon.

 

 
 

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