The first episode of the slavery-era drama Underground opens with a heart-pounding scene set to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.” As West raps “I’m doin’ 500, I’m outta control now/ But there’s nowhere to go, now/ And there’s no way to slow down,” an escaped slave sprints through a forest, dodging a well-armed white man and his vicious dog. Does he make it? You’ll have to check out Bravo.ca’s sneak peek at the new series on March 30.
Executive Produced by John Legend, Underground follows Noah (Straight Outta Compton’s Aldis Hodge) as he “organizes a small team of fellow slaves on the Macon plantation and puts together a plan to escape and head 600 dangerous miles North on the Underground Railroad. They’re aided along the way by an abolitionist couple in Ohio, new to running a station on the Underground and unprepared for the havoc it will wreak on their personal lives. All the while, the group is being pursued by a ruthless mercenary catcher hell-bent on bringing them back, dead or alive.”
Underground’s ensemble cast has Friday Night Lights’ Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Buffy’s Mark Blucas, and Law & Order: SVU’s Christopher Meloni. Reed Diamond, from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. plays evil incarnate: plantation owner and Senate hopeful Tom Macon.
It was Grammy-winner Legend who made the decision to drive the storyline and bridge the gap between 1857 and 2016 by using music from current artists like Kanye, The Weeknd, and Ki: Theory. The mission, says Legend, is to “to make people feel the urgency of the situation and to take the show and the music off of the museum wall.” Mission accomplished, we’d say.
Watch the premiere now on Bravo.ca or tune in to Bravo on April 6 at 10pm if you’re more of a traditional TV-watcher type. Check out the trailer, complete with Kanye-inspired drum beats, below.