Monday, April 4, 2016

TV Show Review: 11.22.63


Hulu has ventured into original content for a while but the thriller 11.22.63 based on a novel of the same title by Stephen King and starring James Franco is one that will garner much attention especially now that all the episodes are out. The time travel features an English teacher from Maine, similar territory for the master author, who discovers a time portal into the past at his local diner. This portal allows the owner and chef to purchase beef in the past and sell it for cheap. Buying cheap beef is not all that the owner Al hopes to accomplish. Al wants to change history forever. The character is played with depth and charm by acting veteran Chris Cooper. 

The entire plot revolves around James Franco's character Jake Epping or Jack Amberson trying to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on the date of the title.  Franco doesn't do anything amazing with the acting but he's passable. There are subtle differences with the book so far but I haven't managed to read it all the way through, it's a long book to only produce eight episodes so I'm expecting a lot more from it. 

The eight episodes did have a fast pace about them that will keep impatient viewers and binge-watchers happy and continuing to watch. The plot takes some surprising twists involving minor parts of history particular to characters in the plot. The major question asked by King and the show's creators, which include Star Wars 7 director JJ Abrams, is what will happen if even a small incident in time is changed. King's signature horror moments showed as time tries to fight back against the plan to change it. 

The sets were cool and definitely pulled off the sense of time travel. Franco gets around a bit too easy but there is still plenty of tension. Sarah Gadon plays the romantic interest Sadie Dunhill and pulls together the best part of the story in my opinion. I would like to have seen more of the turmoil that engulfed the country at this time. The Lee Harvey Oswald story was very informative but I never trust these shows about history. At least, it encourages me to check out more of this great historical moment. 

I think Hulu has shown promise with this original mini-series that wrapped up nicely with an emotional ending. This success encourages me to check out other shows like Deadbeat and continue with The Path. I am giving 11.22.63 eight stars out of ten!

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