Watch the First Trailer of Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin in ‘Genius: Aretha’

     February 7, 2020

National Geographic and Fox 21 Television studios have just released the first look teaser trailer for the upcoming anthology series Genius: Aretha, starring Academy Award nominee Cynthia Erivo as the iconic singer Aretha Franklin. The 8-part series will premiere over four consecutive nights beginning this Memorial Day, May 25.

The trailer is brief (it is a teaser), but we do get to see Erivo in character as the Queen of Soul, and her performance looks predictably great. As was the case with the subjects of the previous seasons of Genius, Aretha looks like it will cover the entirety of the music legend’s life, with a strong supporting cast including Courtney B. Vance and David Cross. According to the official press release, Aretha is the first-ever authorized scripted drama based on Franklin’s life, and will be broadcast globally across 172 countries and in 43 languages.

Genius is an anthology drama series developed by Noah Pink and Kenneth Biller that focuses on important visionary figures in human history. The first season followed the life and work of Albert Einstein, as portrayed by a suitably disheveled Geoffrey Rush, while Season 2 starred Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso. Aretha Franklin seems like a natural choice for Season 3, and Erivo’s involvement is reason enough to tune in. In addition to her Oscar nod for her role as Harriet Tubman in Harriet, she’s currently dominating premium cable as the oddball detective Holly Gibney in the HBO limited series The Outsider, and was similarly great in the underseen ensemble crime thriller Bad Times at the El Royale.

Check out the trailer below. For more on Erivo, read our review of The Outsider.