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Get Unapologetically Excited for Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING (Review)

Get Unapologetically Excited for Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING (Review)

Editor’s Note: this review is spoiler-free! Feel free to enjoy before watching Z: The Beginning of Everything.

Hear ye, hear ye: Zelda Fitzgerald has her own TV show (on Amazon, premiering on January 27, 2017) and holy god yes was it worth the wait. (Mostly.)

For the unfamiliar, Zelda Sayre was a southern belle in the early 1900s who met a young soldier by the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the two became something of the socialite Bonnie and Clyde. They both drank. They both wrote. They both fought. And then she died while committed to a mental asylum that burned to the ground.

He gets remembered more fondly.

Which isn’t just a joke, it’s kind of a brutal disappointment. Go into your local bookstore and grab (their lone) copy of The Complete Works of Zelda Fitzgerald off the shelf and tell me how many layers of dust are on it. This isn’t fair, because she’s just as good a writer as her husband was, but he had a well-published bromance with Ernest Hemingway, so which relationship is more obvious for boozed up college writers to emulate?

Zelda never got her fair shake, especially considering she was always the one drinking and fighting the hardest with Hemingway, so trying to revive the period time piece TV drama with her story makes perfect sense.

In 2015, we got our first look at the Amazon show Z: The Beginning Of Everything featuring Christina Ricci in the role she was born to play. She’s outspoken and feminist as all hell in a backward time and place. And now on the brink of premiere, the pilot positions her as the firebrand ringleader of Montgomery, Alabama’s social scene in 1918 and ends with her meeting a young F. Scott, a soldier prepared to die in a war he has no business participating in. There’s a mix of reactions here, because if this show is about bringing Zelda out of her husband’s shadow, why does he get equal billing from the start?

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And sure, maybe that title is a little bit terrible. There’s also a bit of overplaying the hand here, where you could replace any line Christina Ricci says in the pilot with someone shouting “I’m just a free spirit!” and everything would still make sense. This is super easy for the show to move beyond, but makes for a frustrating pilot.

But this great cast (also featuring American Crime Story‘s David Hoflin as F. Scott and character actor in basically everything, David Strathairn, as Zelda’s judgmental judge father) based around the foundation of the 2013 Therese Fowler book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald gives us a lot of hope that the full series run will be the exactly right kind of kick-ass feminist protagonist journey that 2017 so desperately needs right now.

But you needn’t take my word for it. Have a gander at that there Z: The Beginning of Everything pilot over on Amazon Prime right now by clicking here. And after you’ve watched it, come back and engage us in an endless conversation about how kick-ass Zelda is—We’ll wait.

4.5 out of 5 under-appreciated burritos:

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So what do you think? Does this show Z: The Beginning of Everything sound like a fitting Zelda tribute or does the scope of the show fail to capture your interest? Do you want to see something like this exist as more of a mini-series or as a long running show? Have you read any of her work and do you wish they were adapting the art instead of the artist? Let us know know in the comments below.

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Images: Amazon Studios

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