Z: The Beginning of Everything (Amazon)
Premiered November 5, 2015
It’s hard to believe how many new shows Amazon is putting out these days, and I’m not sure where I was when all of these were premiering and I missed them. This pilot premiered way back in November 2015 and now it’s back for a ten-episode first season. It’s fair to say that I’m not sure a period drama about Zelda Fitzgerald would ever have been interesting to me, but I wanted to give this show a shot as I try to do with all new series. Much as a lot of this show doesn’t appeal, I will admit that it’s pretty well-made. There’s a certain energy that this show has which grounds it in its 1920s setting, and there’s no one better-suited for the lead role than Christina Ricci, an actress who often chooses strange parts. She infuses Zelda with a zest for life and a desire to get a lot out of the world rather than conform to what people expect of her. David Strathairn doesn’t get to be too creative with his stern father role, and I prefer seeing him in something like “Good Night, and Good Luck” where he gets to put his signature monotone nature to good use. It appears that the role of F. Scott Fitzgerald has been recast for the full show, but I’m not sure how much of a part he’s going to play given the show’s title, which is pretty strong. This show is fine but I don’t plan on revisiting it.
How will it work as a series? The famed author made an important appearance at the end of the episode, signifying that their relationship is about to begin. I’m sure it will be a tumultuous road full of drama, and the production values should help this show appeal to anyone who is a fan of that time period and the legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
How long will it last? It looks like reviews have been mostly positive for the show, but I don’t know how long it can go on just because of where the story goes and how much time they had together. I suspect that this one will receive a second season renewal because most streaming shows tend to, but it might get capped at one.
Pilot grade: B-