11.22.63

A Hulu Original Series you've got to watch

11.22.63

Sydney Byerly, Co-Editor-In-Chief

 

American Thriller/Sci-Fi Hulu Original Series

81% Rotten Tomatoes 8.2/10 IMDb 8.5/10 TV.com

If you love to see characters develop, love, mystery, historical fiction, death, and/or amazing cinematography then this is the show for you- you might want to know the significance of this date though. With the show being based off of a book by Stephen King, renowned author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, and fantasy novels, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the series is a thriller and sci-fi. 

 

Starring: 

      James Franco … Jake Epping/Amberson

      Sarah Gadon … Sadie Dunhill

      Daniel Webber … Lee Harvey Oswald

      Chris Cooper … Al Templeton 

      George McKay … Bill Turcotte

      Lucy Fry … Marina Oswald

      Josh Duhamel … Frank Dunning

      T.R Knight … Johnny Clay (Sadie’s Husband)

      Kevin O’Connor … Yellow Card Guy

 

Episodes : 

      1- The Rabbit Hole, 1 hour and 20 minutes

      2- The Kill Floor, 53 minutes

      3- Other Voices, Other Rooms, 47 minutes

      4- The Eyes of Texas, 52 minutes

      5- The Truth, 43 minutes

      6- Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald, 48 minutes

      7- Soldier Boy, 50 minutes

      8- The Day in Question, 59 minutes

 

 

OVERVIEW

It is based on the book 11/22/63 by Stephen King so it’s no surprise this show isn’t for the faint of heart. A few episodes are especially gruesome, however, I think without some of the deaths the story would not be able to progress as well as get the message of the series across in the same regard. Themes of change, death and what they do to us are very apparent throughout the entirety of the series. 

HISTORICAL FICTION

The series and title are all about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. So, if you’re not familiar, Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former Marine, was charged with the crime but conspiracy theories have circulated that it wasn’t just him behind the heinous act. The show tries to stay accurate with the time by portraying period clothing, vehicles of the era and actual historical events. For example, once Jake travels back to 1960 he has to purchase clothes and a car to blend in with everyone else so no one gets suspicious. 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

You see Jake Epping (James Franco) develop as character from thinking more about the decisions he makes to showing compassion for people from the time period. You also see Jake make some really selfish and dumb choices; they allow your perspective on what he’s doing and how he chooses to do it differ from episode to episode. Jake’s character/personality is charismatic, clever, lovable and downright stupid sometimes which is why I feel like I have mixed emotions and sometimes hate to love him but love to hate him. Jake’s character has to ignore morality for a large portion of the time he’s in the 60s and I think that has shifted his moral compass off-center and his frontal lobe off-kilter. Jake tries his hardest to write a lot of wrongs but because the past doesn’t want to be changed sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. Jake’s character isn’t the only one you see grow from their mistakes but I can’t say much more without telling you the relationship between some of the characters. That’s better left a surprise.

LOVE INTERESTS

As the series progresses Jake falls more in more in love with everything in the time period from fashion and southern hospitality to innocence and compassion shown for others. His friend, Al, warned him that the longer he spends there the more he is going to forget that he’s not actually from that time and want to plant roots. Guess what happens, Jake’s character is given a love interest. 

Bill Turcotte also falls deeply in love with Marina Oswald (Lee Harvey Oswald’s Russian wife and mother to his child). This poses problems to Jake’s overall mission and he has to come up with a solution fast and on his feet. 

SCORNED LOVERS

Love isn’t always perfect. People aren’t either. This show displays this in a really realistic way that’s representative of the era and the way relationships work now as well. There’s scenes of domestic abuse, divorce, sexual abuse, and assault between scorned lovers. Sometimes it’s a little hard to watch because you’ve grown to love a certain character and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them, but it’s also essential to the development of the story for everything not to be rainbows and butterflies the entirety of the series. That’s all I’m going to say about that so I don’t spill the beans or let the cat out of the bag.

MYSTERY

I’m not going to spoil too much because I want you to watch it and love it as much as I do. A large part of the mystery of the show is the suspense of what’s going to happen next on top of not knowing who was really behind the assassination of JFK. Was Lee Harvey Oswald the mastermind behind it all? Did someone recruit him to do it? Was it the mafia? Was it the CIA? Who knows- but the show gives an interesting take on all of it. 

CINEMATOGRAPHY & DISCOGRAPHY

Five different directors directed a different episode. Only two directors filmed more than one episode. Kevin Macdonald directed the first episode. Frederick E.O Toye works include: Person of Interest and The Good Wife, directed episodes two and four. James Strong, best known for Doctor Who and Hustle, directed episodes three and eight. James Franco himself directed the fifth episode; John David Coles did the sixth and John Kent directed the seventh. I think it is incredibly impressive how well the show blended together whilst being directed by so many different directors. 

The camera angles are spot on. It’s like whenever you read a book that’s in omniscient point of view (where the author/characters know more than the reader), you can only see what the cameraman/director wants you to see. Sometimes, particular characters will be more in focus than others or will be in the forefront of a particular shot to give emphasis that that’s who is being talked about or is narrating said scene. The story also flashes backwards and forwards a couple different times and the transitions are always seamless. 

The lighting and shadows give off the mood and tone of each individual scene. Each setting show incredible cognizance to details and each time you see that setting again you can notice something new or different. To give an illustration, in episode 2 The Kill Floor the majority of the episode is dark and spooky in order to create suspense and expectancy. You know something bad is going to happen, you just don’t know when, how or what. 

The song choice is spectacular because they tried to stay as accurate as possible to the era but if they couldn’t they would change the tempo of the song to a more authentic sound. For example, in episode 6 Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald the song Hey Baby by Bruce Channel is played at a slower almost eerie way depict the impatience and thriller part of that particular scene.

CONCLUSION

Lastly, this show is the absolute perfect show. It has quickly become one of my favorites EVER, and I can’t believe I’ve already watched the whole series. The only thing not to like is how short the series is. Each episode is long though and a lot happens over 8 short episodes.