It’s extremely insulting to hear people say, “Do we really need another slave story?” Considering this is never said about the Holocaust, why would you dare say it about slavery, especially since it took place on American soil? Underground is proof that when made well, “slave stories” are just as important as any other period piece. The WGN original has been critically acclaimed and has taken cable television by storm. The show’s unique form of storytelling makes it different from many other slave narratives. Despite it being a period piece, the music and cinematography used to aid the story give it an extremely modern feel. Even if you don’t like to watch period pieces because they can dull at times, Underground never has a dull moment.
The first episode opens in 1857 Macon, Georgia. Seven slaves make the bold decision that they’re going to run 600 miles north to get their freedom. As they go about developing their plan, things get a lot more complicated than they ever expected. The show also spotlights a white couple who are secretly white abolitionists and risk their lives to try and move people through the Underground Railroad. Law and Order: SVU veteran, Christopher Meloni, stars in the show as a frightening slave catcher who will do anything to fill his quota.
All of the actors in this show are absolutely amazing, but Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge are excellent leads for a show that greatly depicts the incredible spirit of slaves who want the human right to be free, at all costs. There are some scenes in he show that I will never ever forget. They’re raw and completely honest about how slaves were treated. If you think slaves were simply people unfortunate enough to be made to work for free, think again! Slaves were beaten, tortured, starved, raped, and humiliated on a daily basis. They were made to work from sun up to sun down in horrific weather with little or no breaks at all. Being a slave was like waking up to hell every single day. There were scenes in this show that made me completely break down in tears. Considering the political election we have coming up, it is so important to know our history as a country so that we don’t make the same horrible mistakes again.
This show is not a family show by any means; there is sex and extreme violence. Underground does not pull any punches in terms of the content. This show is just as graphic as anything you would see on HBO. The writing will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout each 45-minute episode, just like anything on HBO as well. Underground is an epic of its own kind.
Hulu recently announced that it has added Underground to its streaming catalog not too long after the show was renewed for a season 2, set to premiere in 2017. Even though you have plenty of time to catch up, you can start streaming all 10, 45-minute episodes on Hulu right away.
– Janiera Eldridge
Follow me on Twitter @janieraeldridge