***A spoiler free review***
Underground: A History of Race in America
According to Wikipedia, the Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early-to-mid 19th century, and used by African-American slaves to escape into free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. When we remember the stories of the Underground Railroad in America, this covert system of helping black slaves escape the South to the North is a familiar and far removed part of our country’s history of slavery and race relations. In 2017, it’s more important than ever to tell and retell the stories of our past so that we do not make the national mistakes based in fear and racism. Unfortunately, WGN, the network home of the series, cancelled Underground after only 2 season and it has yet to find a home on another network, although Oprah’s OWN, Hulu and BET have expressed interest. If Of course this means, S2 ends on a cliffhanger that may never be resolved.
“Despite Underground being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction and we have reached the difficult decision not to renew it for a third season. We are tremendously proud of this landmark series that captured the zeitgeist and made an impact on television in a way never before seen on the medium. We thank the incomparable creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and the great John Legend, along with the talented creative team and cast who brought the unsung American heroes of the Underground Railroad to life. We are grateful to the loyal fans of Underground and our partners at Sony Pictures Television. It is our hope that this remarkable show finds another home and continues its stories of courage, determination and freedom.”
-Tribune Media President and CEO Peter Kern
With intimate portraits into the lives of slaves, slave owners and abolitionists, Underground gives audiences a unique view of the Antebellum South and tells stories that are ignored by history books. In all honesty, it is one of the most intense television shows I have ever watched, because writers and producers do not shy away from showing viewers exactly how terrifying life for blacks in America has been since brought over as slaves. With a number of scenes focusing on lynching, rape, murder, and violent imagery, this is not a show for the weak hearted. Still, it is an important reminder that life in America for black people has always been fraught with pain and suffering, and that, as a culture, black folks continue to fight for freedoms as our ancestors have before us.
Should I binge it?
It’s pretty intense. I took a few weeks to watch it. Each season has 10 episodes, which is fairly short, but the source material is rough and I found myself openly weeping during a number of episodes. I’d say spread it out.
Is this show super political?
It’s Antebellum South. They use the n-word. There are white supremacists and KKK members represented. There’s also a pretty badass Harriet Tubman in season 2. In all honesty, how could the topic of race be anything but political in America in 2017?
Can I watch this with my kids?
I waffle on this. On one hand, this is our country’s history, and the show doesn’t sugar coat it. These things really happened and it’s so important our children know the true history of race in America. On the other hand, these are heavy topics, there is a lot of violence and not a lot of happy endings. I’d suggest watching a few episodes alone before diving into it with anyone under the age of 15.