WGN America has revealed the premiere date of its third original drama, Underground, detailing the heroic efforts of the Underground Railroad to transport escaped slaves to safety.
Set to being its ten episode first season on March 9, 2016, the show follows a blacksmith named Noah, who “covertly organizes a small group of his fellow slaves and pieces together a daring plan of escape across hundreds of miles to freedom. The odds of success are razor-thin for those who make it off the plantation, while the risks, dangers and obstacles multiply each step of the way,” according to a press release from the network.
Created by Misha Green (Helix, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena) and Joe Polaski (Daredevil, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), the series stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (True Blood, Friday Night Lights), Aldis Hodge (A Good Day to Die Hard, Straight Outta Compton), Primetime Emmy Award nominee Christopher Meloni (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp), Alano Mille (Jane the Virgin, Person of Interest), Jessica de Gouw (Arrow, Dracula), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Knight and Day), Adina Porter (The 100, The Newsroom), Mykelti Williamson (The Final Destination, 24), Amirah Vann (And So it Goes, Once More With Feeling), Johnny Ray Gill (Rectify, Harry’s Law), Chris Chalk (Gotham, The Newsroom), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse, Wayward Pines), Theodus Crane (The Starving Games, The Walking Dead), Renwick D. Scott II (Treme, American Crime) and Jussie Smollett (Empire, Revenge).
WGN America has made a concerted effort to strike up their own original scripted programming, beginning with the Salem Witch Trials drama Salem and continuing with the critically acclaimed Manhattan, a dramatization of the creation of the nuclear bomb.
Meanwhile, Netflix has also set a premiere date for the fourth season of their insanely popular political thriller House of Cards. The streaming giant announced the news in a particularly cheeky fashion, with a fake campaign ad for main character Francis Underwood in the second hour of the Republican debate on CNN.
All of the new episodes will drop on March 4, 2016, a little later than the usual February release dates the series has adopted for previous seasons. Developed by Academy Award nominee Beau Willimon (The Ides of March, Jack Johnson), executive produced by two-time Academy Award nominee David Fincher (Seven, The Social Network) and based on the trilogy of novels (and British miniseries adaptations) of the same name, House of Cards was the first piece of original content produced by Netflix (not including foreign shows for which Netflix held the American rights). It’s crazy to think that less than four years ago, Netflix didn’t have a single original show to their name, whereas they now dominate a huge section of the television market.
House of Cards stars two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, Seven), Golden Globe Award winner Robin Wright (The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump), Primetime Emmy Award nominee Michael Kelly (Now You See Me, Chronicle), Mahershala Ali (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, The 4400), Molly Parker (Deadwood, The Road), Nathan Darrow (Gotham, Billions), Jimmi Simpson (White House Down, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Primetime Emmy Award winner Reg E. Cathey (The Wire, Fantastic Four), Derek Cecil (Men in Black, Recount), Jayne Atkinson (Syriana, 24), Elizabeth Marvel (Burn After Reading, Person of Interest), Jeremy Holm (Mr Robot, The Judge), Mozhan Marno (The Blacklist, Madam Secretary), Benito Martinez (The Shield, Million Dollar Baby), Larry Pine (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom), Kate Lyn Sheil (You’re Next, The Sacrament) and Reed Birney (The Blacklist, American Odyssey), while the fourth season will see the introduction of Neve Campbell (Party of Five, Scream) and Colm Feore (The Amazing Spider Man 2, The Borgias).