As time passes, Hollywood seems to have gotten lazy. With a new superhero movie dropping almost monthly, viewers have been getting recycled characters, story lines and shots. Despite this seemingly endless monotony, there is one show which recently aired that has my interest piqued.
“11.22.63” is a new Hulu miniseries written by Bridget Carpenter and brought to the screen by fiction power duo Stephen King and J.J. Abrams. It harkens back to “The X-Files” and “The Twilight Zone” era of television. While the feel might be similar, the premise and development is a breath of fresh air.
Starring James Franco as our protagonist, high school teacher Jake Epping, viewers get to watch as an ordinary guy finds himself in a rather unusual situation.
Epping must go back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Things get interesting when the scene cuts to Epping at his local diner, owned by Al Templeton, played by the veteran actor Chris Cooper. Cooper is a Vietnam veteran that goes into the back to grab some supplies and comes back two minutes later looking rough.
After some questioning, Templeton explains that in the back of the restaurant there is a sort of wormhole that transports to 1960. Once Epping goes to see for himself, he finds himself sent on a mission by Templeton. Kill Lee Harvey Oswald.
Now this may seem cheesy to some of you, but the cheesiness is swept away by the way this show is written and shot.
The scenes in the present are normal enough. But when Epping gets transported into the past, the glitz and glamour of the ‘60s comes out in full swing – pink poodle girls and pompadours galore.
But it isn’t the visuals that I found the most interesting. It was the varied storylines that seems to spring up throughout the first episode. King and Abrams do a great job of leaving subtle subplots that will no doubt come up later in the series. These subplots are what make the episode and the concept of the show altogether so appealing.
There are so many avenues to take as the season progresses and those progressions are far more interesting than the whole time travel thing, which isn’t exactly original.
The show’s originality stems from the characters and the interaction between different characters not only in the present but also in the past.
As Epping accepts the mission and begins his work in the past, we see all the sci-fi-esque motifs that pop up throughout, spicing up the solid but not exactly dynamic character that is Epping.
What this show holds more than anything is potential. As of right now I can’t tell you if the show is going to be a great one or not.
What I can say is that this first episode is intriguing and holds a bundle of mysteries that will no doubt come to light as the season progresses. It is surely worth the watch.
“11.22.63” is available for streaming on Hulu. Episodes are released every Monday. Hulu Plus may be required for viewing.
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 24, 2016 print edition of The Echo.
image via theguardian.com, video via youtube.com