Showtime has released the first trailer and poster for its new limited series The Good Lord Bird, which will premiere on Sunday, August 9 at 10 p.m. The seven-episode series is executive produced by Ethan Hawke, who stars as controversial abolitionist John Brown.
The Good Lord Bird is told from the point of view of Onion (newcomer Joshua Caleb Johnson), a fictional enslaved boy who becomes a member of Brown’s motley family of abolitionist soldiers during Bleeding Kansas — a time when the state was a battleground between pro- and anti-slavery forces — and eventually finds himself participating in the famous 1859 raid on the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but was the event that started the Civil War.
Per Showtime, The Good Lord Bird weaves a humorous, dramatic and historical tapestry of Antebellum America, spotlighting the complicated and ever-changing racial, religious and gender roles that make up the American identity. The series hails from Blumhouse Television and is based on the award-winning novel of the same name by bestselling author James McBride.
The series also stars Hubert Point-Du Jour (Madam Secretary), Nick Eversman (Wild), Mo Brings Plenty (Yellowstone), Jack Alcott, Ellar Coltrane, who starred alongside Hawke in Boyhood, and Beau Knapp, who is one of my favorite character actors. I showed my girlfriend Super 8 a few weeks ago and pointed him out as the gas station attendant, and then we watched Destroyer this past weekend and I pointed him out once again as the guy dating Nicole Kidman‘s daughter. He’s just got a great face, and I can’t wait to see what he does in another limited series following his strong turn in Netflix’s Seven Seconds.
Meanwhile, there are a bunch of cool guest stars lined up for The Good Lord Bird, including Hamilton star Daveed Diggs as abolitionist Frederick Douglass, plus David Morse, Steve Zahn, Maya Hawke, Wyatt Russell, and Orlando Jones. The series is a family affair for Ethan Hawke, whose wife Ryan Hawke is executive producing with him alongside Jason Blum, Mark Richard, Padraic McKinley, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Albert Hughes, Brian Taylor, Marshall Persinger, David Schiff and McBride.
Showtime could use a series like The Good Lord Bird, having just bid a fond farewell to Homeland after unceremoniously dropping Ray Donovan like a bad habit. Hawke’s series, however shouty it may be, looks pretty good, and I was a big fan of Blumhouse TV’s last limited series on Showtime, the Russell Crowe-starrer The Loudest Voice. Showtime has a strong slate of upcoming shows, including Halo, Ripley and The President Is Missing. Up next is the documentary series Outcry, and you can watch the trailer for that fascinating true crime show right here. Watch the trailer for The Good Lord Bird below and leave your thoughts in the comments section, as I’ll be curious what the reaction is to this one.