"The Good Lord Bird" (2020 release; 8 episodes of about 55-60 min. each) brings the story of abolitionist John Brown. As Episode 1 opens, we are reminded that "All Of This Is True. Most Of It Happened." The opening scenes show Brown about to be hung for reasons we don't know yet. We then go back in time to "Bleeding Kansas 1858", and we get to know Brown, as he is confronted by Dutch Henry over Brown's "outrageous" statements about slavery: "We are at war with slavery!" Brown contends. Brown ends up "stealing" a slave, a boy who gets the nickname "Little Onion" from Brown's cohorts... At this point we are 10 min. into Episode 1, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: the mini-series is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by James McBride. I have not read the book, so I can't comment on how closely the series sticks to the book. This is a the labor of love rom Ethan Hawke, who not only stars as John Brown, but he also co-wrote the script and co-produced this. Hawke seemingly only gets better as he is getting older, and his shadow looms very large in this mini-series, to great effect. The parallels with what is going on in this country today are undeniable. "We don't ride for revenge, we ride for justice", Brown says at tome point. Change the word "ride" with "march", and this is exactly what the current Black Lives Matter movement is doing. The production sets in this mini-series are tops, and it is clear no money was spared. If there is one criticism, it's that we don't really know why Brown ended up being an abolitionist. Perhaps that will be explained in later episodes?
"The Good Lord Bird" premiered on Showtime this weekend is now streaming on SHO On Demand and other platforms. New episodes air Sunday evening at 9 pm Eastern. If you have an interest in the pre-Civil War days of this country, I'd readily suggest you check this out and draw your own conclusion.