"I’m very happy with how it’s turned out.”
Fans of the riveting escape-from-slavery drama Underground are all wondering the same things: Will Rosalee, Noah and Boo finally experience the freedom they so richly deserve and is Cato alive?
While we’ll all find out these answers when the season-one finale airs tonight on WGN, Misha Green, the co-creator behind the hit series, is proud that viewers are as deeply invested in the outcome as she is.
“We are thrilled by the reaction on Twitter but not surprised by it,” Green said during a recent phone interview.
Underground pulls in a total of 3 million viewers over multiple airings each week and tweets by the hundreds of thousands.
“People want to see this group of enslaved Black people have personal agency, see them fight back and see them be complicated characters.”
Fans of the show have also seen their fair share of heartbreaking deaths with Sam’s lynching a couple of episodes ago being the hardest to bear. But Green, whose credits include Heroes and Sons of Anarchy, said such murders were a jarring and all-too-real part of the Underground Railroad.
“We debate every death and never want to do anything callously,” Green said. “Most runaways were recaptured or killed and you have to understand this to appreciate how brave these people were.
“The idea of spending seven weeks falling in love with Sam (Johnny Ray Gill) only to have this atrocity happen, which is what happened in American history, just adds another layer to the story and we couldn’t shy away from it. His death takes you to the heart of how things really were.”
For those who have fallen behind on Underground, or haven’t watched yet, it’s not too late.
WGN is airing a nine-episode marathon leading up to the finale beginning at 1 p.m. ET today. The network also announced that the series is returning next year and will follow several characters viewers know and love. “We’re just going to open up their world a little bit,” Green said.
The current cast includes Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Rosalee, Aldis Hodge as Noah, Christopher Meloni as August and Amirah Vann as Ernestine. In addition to executive producers Green and Underground co-creator Joe Pokaski, the series is also executive produced by Oscar and Grammy winning songwriter John Legend.
Along with all the love teh show has earned thus far there are always critics. The show’s soundtrack, which some have criticized for being too modern and anachronistic at times, will also return in season two. “I love the music. We said from the beginning that we wanted to be bold and push the bar with the visuals, the storytelling and the music,” Green said. “I won’t say that it always succeeds but overall, I’m very happy with how it’s turned out.”
For overachievers who will miss Underground between seasons, Green recommends reading a few books she used as source material for the show. The list includes Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement by Fergus M. Bordewich and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass.
The season-one finale of Underground airs tonight May 11 at 10 p.m. ET on WGN.
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