11.22.63 is a Hulu original series. It began in February and consists of 8 episodes. Starring James Franco, and directed by Stephen King and JJ Abrams, it tells the story of your average man presented with an outstanding opportunity to try and stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
I think anyone in their right mind enjoys watching Franco act. He comes across as a natural in his roles – even the crazy ones (Spring Breakers) – and this mini-series is no less true. And honestly, I’m really really really hoping for a Seth Rogen cameo.
What I really appreciate about this show is the emotionalism captured between the characters. Without giving anything away, there’s a scene where a man shows concern for a woman who has been beaten by her husband. The two are mostly strangers. Few words are exchanged. He gives her a cigarette, lights it for her, and she rests her head on his. What made it so compelling is that you could see the care he has for her with his heavy breaths.
I think what sets the stage for some of the emotional connections is the connection of 21st Century global values with 1960s American values. They’re starkly different. The 60s present themselves as an archaic and terrible time, but also as an era that presents some truths that would still be nice to see today. For example – the humanity Franco’s character shows to a black woman is unheard of in that time and moving when he sets himself apart from the era. Also when a man of that era, also Franco’s boss, insists Franco be a man of honor and dignity by making him suffer the fruits of his trouble causing is noble in a time where there are so many secrets.
To wrap it up, the show is just incredibly good. It’s the first thing that I’ve liked coming from Stephen King’s TV productions in a long time. I’d say it could be his best. And that could be because Abrams is involved.