Thursday, April 14, 2016


The other day, I finished watching the Hulu original mini-series 11.22.63, produced by J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, based on the novel by King. I hadn't read the book, so I can in no way comment about the book vs. film debate that so many of us love to have in such circumstances, but I can say that I did enjoy the show. Then again, it should be noted that I pretty much enjoy James Franco in whatever he does.

Over the past decade, J.J. Abrams has positioned himself as a master of creating intrigue and tension while flirting with pseudo-intellectual concepts. This project was right up his alley, one where a closet in a dinner is a secret porthole into the past, specifically 1960, and no matter how long one stays, when they return, it is always 15 minutes later. It's one of those ideas that is incredibly fun to think about and wonder what you would do if you had access to it. 

The story that King chose to explore was preventing the assassination of JFK in Dallas, which means the person would have to spend three years in the past. There are many head scratchers for me as to why this would be the course of action. First is the assumption that saving JFK would prevent Vietnam. Possibly, but not a very concrete line goes from one to the other. Secondly, why an event that is so shrouded in doubt? For the mini-series, that point at least made for something that needed doing in those three years. It was such a flimsy notion, that I suppose it works for the main character, because anyone willing to do it would have to be someone with nothing to stop them from leaving their life behind, which is where Franco's character is at the start of it. 

The pacing of the show was excellent, and balanced enough twists to keep you interested from beginning to end. The exploration of Oswald's character was well-done, as was the out-of-time love story. It all leads up to a fantastic last episode, full of unexpected turns that really capitalize on the imaginative scope of the main story idea. For someone who doesn't get to watch a lot of television these days, it was 8 hours well spent.

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