YAHOO – WGN America’s new historical thriller Underground promises a very different look at our country’s uncomfortable history with slavery — and this first-look video shows exactly how different.
Set in the pre-Civil War South, Underground centers on a group of slaves who plot a dangerous escape from their Georgia plantation. The cast is stellar — Friday Night Lights alum Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Straight Outta Compton’s Aldis Hodge as two of the slaves, and Christopher Meloni as a gun-toting man of mystery — and it’s spiked with modern-day touches: The series opens with a runaway slave being chased through the woods to the sounds of Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.”
In the video above — which will also premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival — the Underground cast and executive producers (including mega-star musician John Legend) explain the show’s unique take on a familiar piece of history. As star Alano Miller (Cato) puts it, “a lot of times, shows that depict slavery show it from a victim point of view. This show doesn’t do that.”
“It’s a thriller,” Legend adds. “At any moment, these folks that are struggling to escape this oppressive system could lose their lives.”
Underground premieres Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on WGN America.