Hi Everyone and Happy Sunday!
As another weekend of self-isolation comes to a close, I wanted to offer an additional recommendation for how to spend your time indoors. If you’re a reader of this blog, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you love literature and anything and everything literary-inspired. With that in mind, I’d like to recommend that you all watch the Apple TV original show Dickinson which is, to put it simply, fabulous!
I first became aware of Dickinson late last year because I follow celebrity Hailee Steinfeld. Steinfeld is an excellent actress – she was amazing in The Edge of Seventeen which is on Netflix and is a total must-watch – as well as an accomplished singer. Her songs “Starving” and “Capital Letters” are some of my favourite to dance to (and the music video for “Capital Letters” is exquisite!), and her recent releases “Wrong Direction”, “Afterlife” and “I Love You’s” (the latter which samples part of Annie Lennox’s amazing track “No More I Love You’s”) are extremely heart-rending and well sung. When I saw on Steinfeld’s Instagram that she was going to be starring as Emily Dickinson in Apple TV’s adaptation of the famous poet’s life, I immediately put it on my To-Watch list. Obviously, with a young baby, it took me quite a bit of time to get around to it, but I found out yesterday that the entire first season is free on the Apple TV app right now, for a limited time, so I quickly busted out my husband’s iPad and we got watching.
We actually finished the ENTIRE show in one night! At 10 half-hour episodes, that was 5 hours of bingeing…I’m not a TV show binger by any standards, but I just could not stop myself from watching one episode after another, and my husband was equally entertained. Since the episodes are so short, they’re snappy and fast-paced, but they also each pack a powerful punch. They’re easy to digest and visually gorgeous, and the music is exceptionally chosen!
What’s most remarkable about this series is that, although it takes place in the 19th century when Emily was a young woman, the music and language is all modern…the characters swear and use modern slang, and this dichotomy is intoxicating and riveting to watch! In one particular episode, the Dickinson children host a house party, and the contemporary dancing done by these characters in flamboyant 19th century costumes is absolutely hilarious to behold! I also love how feisty Steinfeld’s Dickinson is with her wit and dry sarcasm, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with her and the entire cast of characters.
There are so many laugh out loud moments in this adaptation, such as when Emily goes for a pre-dinner run with Louisa May Alcott, but there is also lots of commentary on today’s political climate and the role of women and minorities in today’s society. At times, the dialogue can seem obvious and heavy-handed, but that is because the characters are meant to be overtly poking fun at what is going on in our current world, and my husband and I found ourselves shaking our heads as we realized how very similar our current circumstances are in many ways to how they were in the 19th century.
Needless to say, I would rank Dickinson among my top favourite TV shows, and it certainly holds its own beside Penny Dreadful and Victoria as a unique and thrilling costume drama. When I was about halfway through the series, I couldn’t help but get onto my bookstore’s website and order a copy of Dickinson’s poetry so that I can take my time reading through all her most famous poems and truly understand the writer that inspired this incredible show!
If you’re bored today and have 5 spare hours, you might as well check out Dickinson…if your literary tastes are anything like mine, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Girl with a Green Heart