Dickinson (Apple TV+)
Dickinson is hard to describe because it’s so fresh. A mixture of literary period drama, teen drama, and romantic comedy, ostensibly it follows the life of famed American poet Emily Dickinson. But creator Alena Smith lovingly and playfully embraces anachronism, sending back in time a contemporary sense, sensibility, and soundtrack. Thus, Dickinson resides in and speaks to both 19th-century New England and modern day. Loosely structuring each episode around one of Dickinson’s poems, the writers explore the challenges and the joys of teen life across centuries. Hailee Steinfeld offers a standout performance as Dickinson, while supported by a strong cast, all of whom show a great knack for finding the levity, gravity, and individuality of their characters. And most of all, the show excels through being so very fun, crackling with energy and wild originality. Considerably more historically accurate than its mischievous approach might suggest, it nevertheless allows history to be fun, and allows its central historical character to explore her identity rather than serve as a dull if austere monument. A strong debut performance from Apple+, Dickinson earns a Peabody for delight.
Creator: Alena Smith. Showrunner: Alena Smith. Executive Producers: Alena Smith, Michael Sugar, Ashley Zalta, Paul Lee, Alex Goldstone, Darlene Hunt, Hailee Steinfeld. Producer: Diana Schmidt. Directors: David Gordon Green, Silas Howard, Patrick Norris, Stacie Passon, Lynn Shelton. Writers: Rachel Axler, Hayes Davenport, Ken Greller, Darlene Hunt, Robbie MacDonald, Alena Smith, Ali Waller. Editors: Bill Henry, Colin Patton, Jane Rizzo, Vincent F. Welch. Talent: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Anna Baryshnikov, Ella Hunt. Casting: Jennifer Euston, CSA, James Calleri, CSA, Paul Davis, CSA, Erica Jensen, CSA. Cinematography: Tim Orr. Production Design: Loren Weeks. Costume Design: John Dunn. Sound Music: Drum & Lace, Ian Hultquist. Music Supervision: DeVoe Yates, Gabe Hilfer.