Saturday, February 13, 2016
11.22.63: King and Abrams Create a Parallel Past
Hulu blazes onto the Amazon and Netflix trail with an original eight-part series, based on Stephen King's novel, "11/22/63"; produced with the author by "Star Trek"/"Star Wars" revisionist, J.J. Abrams.
The date, in the event one doesn't know, is that of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. The premise of King's tale is what would happen if one were to return in time to prevent such. The concept was previously played upon in Rod Serling's "Back There", a "Twilight Zone" favorite focusing on the potential prevention of President Lincoln's untimely death. It also smacks of Harlan Ellison's classic "Star Trek" offering, "City on the Edge of Forever."
James Franco plays Jake Epping, a current-day, high-school teacher who finds his way through a diner portal to 1960, with some encouraging guidance from Chris Cooper's Al Templeton, a cook with a dark past. Lucy Frye, Daniel Webber and Josh Duhamel also figure into the primary cast.
The consequences of Epping's journey may not be as certain and/or beneficial as one might anticipate, with tricks and turns along the treacherous way, as he stalks (and prepares to slay) Lee Harvey Oswald (Webber). Remember "Dark Room'"s "Stay Tuned, We'll be Right Back"? Well, this treatment treads upon such shaky ground.
"11.22.63" begins on February 15 (Presidents' Day) and has the potential to match Netflix's thought-provoking "Man in the High Castle" (see Nov '15). I'm keeping my fingers crossed, for this adventure has a good cast and premise, and if done right, it could initiate other imaginative programs via the ambitious Hulu.