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First Look: WGN America’s Slavery Era Drama ‘Underground’

15 seconds: That is all it took to grip the attention of the entire audience at Sundance Film Festival, leaving everyone anxious for its premiere.

WGN America’s new series ‘Underground’ is a slavery-era drama that depicts the harsh reality of what it was really like to be a slave. It shows the real life experiences slaves lived and their journey to break away for freedom. Actor Alano Miller who stars in the series said nothing was off limits while filming.

“It’s an honest point of view,” Alano said. “They were willing to push the envelope in that they were not going to let us back away from the things you all don’t want to see. You need to see things now that you haven’t.”

‘Underground’ was written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski. Green is well known for her writing in the wildly popular series ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and Pokaski has writing credits in ‘CSI’ and ‘Heroes’ under his belt. Pokaski also was executive producer of the show alongside Grammy award-winning singer John Legend.

“Well I think it’s inspiring because there’s no odds that were greater than what these characters were facing,” Legend said. “There’s clearly a lot of pain and a lot of struggle going on right now. I talk about it all the time when I talk about the incarceration system, but just knowing the courage these slaves had against all odds to try to break free. I mean you have to watch this show and be inspired by that courage.”

Known for her roles in television hits like ‘True Blood’ and ‘Parenthood,’ Jurnee Smollett-Bell, is looking forward to portraying a character that explores the unspoken truth of her heritage.

“It’s personal for us,” Smollett-Bell said. “You know, I read about our stories and I have this desire to see us be portrayed differently and to see us be revolutionary. You know because we always read in history books in high school and stuff about the victimization of our people and for me this was an opportunity to explore the boldness that I come from.”

‘Underground’ is unique in the sense the emotional and physical struggles slaves went through, can truly be brought to life in long-form fashion. The beauty lies in the fact that it’s not confined to a two-hour time limit. It’s a reality packed punch of the truth!

“If this were a show about Iwo Jima or the beaches or Normandy, everyone would be talking about American heroes,” executive producer Akiva Goldman said. “For us to create what these real people went through, today, I’d have to make up a prison planet. Like, What these men and women went through to survive is impossible and they are American heroes and somehow that gets lost because their oppressors were American too. So to restore their place in history as American heroes is a chance that is sacred and important to all of us.”

“It’s a thriller,” Legend said, according to Yahoo! TV. “At any moment, these folks that are struggling to escape this oppressive system could lose their lives.”

The new series is sure to be educational and keep you on the edge of your seat. It begins March 9 on WGN America.

CABLE-ONE Channel 201 or 1201

DISH Channel 239

DIRECTV Channel 307

CHARTER CABLE, JACKSON Channel 7 or 507

CUSTER CABLE Channel 12

SILVER STAR, DRIGGS Channel 5

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