HBO is seriously stepping up its game. The network may be winding down their biggest series in the next couple of years — Game of Thrones will finish out with two shorter seasons — but with shows like Westworld and Divorce about to kick off, we can hardly think of dropping their package anytime soon. Add in limited series Big Little Lies starring Oohlo (sometimes pantsless) favorite Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, and a host of incredible actors; and Raven, a certain-to-be-addictive entry from another group of favorites: Breaking Bad and X-Files-ers Michelle MacLaren and Vince Gilligan, and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station, The Help, Zootopia, Insurgent) — be still our wildly thumping hearts.
Based on Tim Reiterman’s Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones and His People, the trio is working on a miniseries about the Peoples Temple movement and cult leader, who in November of 1978 coerced more than 900 people to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. Not for nothing, but I presume they’ve already chosen their lead actor:
(Can’t claim this excellent gif! Nicely done, Chewbacker)
According to Deadline, Raven won’t merely focus on Jones; rather, it will focus on the people he was able to manipulate into mass-murder/suicide, resulting in the greatest number of lives lost due to a deliberate act up until the events of 9/11. Convincing his followers to murder a congressman, his delegation, and some of the reporters and camerapersons live-filming the incident, and to first poison their children, then themselves, is in itself incredible. As with Scientology, it’s nearly impossible to imagine large groups of people being compelled to take part in seemingly obvious machinations; to see things from their point of view would indeed be compelling.
I suppose we — I — must wonder why I’m attracted to these horrific stories; do we ever learn anything good from them, or is it simply slowing down to view an accident on a grander scale? On a semi-related note, one would think watching a certain politician’s rise would more than fulfill that terrible need, but we seem to be gluttons for punishment. At least with MacLaren, Spencer, and Gilligan at the helm, we know the story will be well told.