Yesha Callahan

Here’s Your First Look at ‘Underground,’ a Daring New Series About the Underground Railroad


When it comes to on-screen portrayals of slavery, typically what’s not shown is the bravery and fierceness of our enslaved ancestors. While Nate Parker’s film about Nat Turner promises to offer another perspective to the historical genre, WGN’s new series, Underground, aims to highlight some of the harrowing moments from the Underground Railroad.

Starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Christopher Meloni, Mykelti Williamson, Amirah Vann, Reed Diamond, Alano Miller, Adina Porter, Johnny Ray Gill, and Theodus Crane, Underground follows a group of enslaved men and women who attempt the greatest escape in history. While the plot could get them all killed, the men and women are willing to pay the ultimate price for their freedom.

Underground is produced by John Legend and will begin its 10-episode run on WGN America on March 9, 2016.

Take a look at the first two trailers from the series.

  1. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    Wait…WHAT? Is it just me or did they try to remove the seriousness out of slavery and make it some melodramatic fuckery? Fuck! A white man has to be behind this foolishness. I won’t be watching.

    I am soooo very disgusted. And I hope the light skin CHICK is not the lead actress. I’m just saying.

  2. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    The abolitionist movement was one of the most important parts of the black liberation struggle. The Underground Railroad involved thousands of brave human beings who desired to end the evil slavery system in the Americas. Their stories should be honored and remembered. Hundreds of slave revolts came about in the 19th century too. Abolitionists included not just strong people like Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Henry Highland Garnet, Garrison, John Brown etc. It also included unsung heroes like Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, the Grimké sisters–Angelina and Sarah, J. W. C. Pennington, William Still (whose daughter Caroline V. Still Anderson was a great black physician), and other human beings opposed oppression. So, their stories of bravery and sacrifice inspire us today. We live in a world where economic inequality and police terror are abundant, but we carry onward because truth will prevail.

    Our ancestors defeated the Confederacy and we will defeat the New Jim Crow in the future. It may not be easy, but we will prevail in the end. The antebellum period is an emotional time period for us as black people. Subconsciously and consciously, we feel emotional about that time period, because it was so brutal and so harsh. We will wait and see what this miniseries will entail. One important thing is that we should research this time period and understand that we should be inspired by our black ancestors to continue on the work that they have laid for us. We are inspired by our black ancestors and we will never forget their courage and their passion for justice.

  3. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    All I can say is this if the movie ” 12 years a slave ” had been done by Black American men, the world would not have known who Lupita Nyongo is .The role of Patsy would been played by Paula Patton Or Mariah Carey

    • December 15, 2015 - Reply


      Yep. I always side-eye slave dramas that can’t bother to feature black women with kinky/afro-textured hair. Or dark-skinned women in general. Because of course all slave women had straight or loose curls back on the plantation.

      • December 15, 2015 - Reply


        Actually , I dont mind them being included because they are apart of the community its just that the representation is so predictable and imbalanced, there are three BW in this feature as per IDMB .The young lead and on other are both biracial, the older over 40/50 ‘motherly role ” is of course reserved for the lone brown skin woman in the cast. Hollywood would have us believe that the majority of BW under 40 /50 are biracial even then.

  4. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    looks interesting. i like Jurnee Smollett-Bell

  5. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    Remember when Nick Cannon said he was tired of seeing movies about slavery? I agreed then and I agree now.

    • December 15, 2015 - Reply


      Jews never say they are tired of seeing films or hearing stories about the holocaust… why bc they dont want anyone to ever forget the atrocities that took place. We should be the same way, these young kids have no idea the seriousness and the heart break of slavery, they are teaching it in schools so unless a parent is reading them slave narratives and telling them stories how else will they know. Without it being brought up to the fore front and being a reminder of our history for all to see it will be forgotten or made to be some happy “farming community blacks lived in” …. and isnt that what “some” people want us to do. (my opinion)

      • December 15, 2015 - Reply

        @Kwazi Style

        I understand how you feel. That’s your right to feel that way. Being taught about it and seeing reenactments are too much for me personally. I saw Roots in 5th grade and most kids weren’t even paying attention anyway during the class when we watched it. It’s up to parents to teach their kids, not movies. Besides, is it really viable to make one of these films every few years? Aren’t they all rehashes of the same idea? I mean it’s a good way to employ black actors but when kids see the faces like theirs only in movies about slavery or civil rights or being maids, how should that make them feel? And I can’t speak on how Jewish people feel because I don’t know any so I don’t know how the majority feel.

        • December 15, 2015 - Reply


          I understand your position… thank you for elaborating.

    • December 15, 2015 - Reply


      I think I’m more so tired of films about slavery being the only type of film recognized or praise by mainstream (white) critics/awards shows. When most films featuring a black cast that gets recognition, it’s about civil rights, slavery etc, a movie where the characters could not be any other race other than black. And also there haven’t been many good films about slavery. I welcome great films/tv shows about slavery, civil rights, the black struggle but I want to see a diversity of stories that’s all. I will never be tired of GOOD movies about slavery because I feel too many young people have been too far removed from the disgusting past of this country.

      • December 16, 2015 - Reply


        That’s how I’m feeling. It seems like white people accepting those types of movies and giving them accolades is sort of celebrating that pain.

        • December 16, 2015 - Reply


          That’s precisely why they do it. And precisely why they are publicly ‘lynching’ black people these days (just the cops doing it now)..they THRIVE and feed off of our psychic pain.

  6. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    it looks interesting but something is rubbing me the wrong way maybe the “action film” type vibe?? idk.. Also I have a question, is this suppose to be a mini-series or a new drama series? I ask because Im curious how they are going to keep this going after the slaves escape? so i can see this whole first season being about this group, introducing us to them, showing their escape but then what? are there going to be new slaves every season? following these through reconstruction? Im confused. And something about seeing slavery portrayed as this mission impossible type..i just… oh hell ..idk i just dont know how i feel about this so ill watch..but again something is rubbing me wrong that i cant put my finger on

  7. December 16, 2015 - Reply

    What is it with all these damn slave narratives? And they are going to re-do Roots too. Why now? What are they trying to do–get us ready for re-enslavement?

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