While we’ve written before about the curiosity that is Amazon’s TV slate - part auteur experimentation, part Peak TV blandness - it’s undeniable that their ambitions remain lofty. Coming soon, they’ll release a new and highly expensive show from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, a historical crime drama directed by Wong Kar-wai, and an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner Underground Railroad from Barry Jenkins of Moonlight fame. Prestige is the name of the game but with obvious hopes for a Game of Thrones breakout hit, something Jeff Bezos is banking heavily on.
Now added to the line-up is an adaptation of the Man Booker Prize winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings by Jamaican author Marlon James. The epic novel, spanning over 700 pages, explores the aftermath of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley, digging into the intersections of race, class, politics and the Caribbean’s fraught relationship with the US Government. It’s a major piece of work, dense and fascinating and utterly deserving of the hype.
Bringing it to TV is Melina Matsoukas, a director on HBO’s Insecure as well as several major music videos, like Formation by Beyoncé. Jill Soloway, Eric Roth and Malcolm Spellman are on board as executive producers, but it can’t be over-stated how major a deal it is to see a talent like Matsoukas helming a project of this stature. Her rise to the top has been a long time coming.