Florida A&M University students gave a standing ovation after viewing the first episode of the new 10-show series “Underground.”
Students were invited to a private screening in Lee Hall auditorium Wednesday to preview the WGN series, which depicts the in depth stories of slaves and their journey to freedom traveling the Underground Railroad.
Bijou Taylor, third-year theatre student from Orlando, shared her anticipation and thoughts before the screening.
“I’m excited, with all the promotion I’ve seen I think it’ll be more like ‘Roots’ but in a TV-form … I feel like this show will remind people of the struggles of slavery and show the obstacles black people had to go through to get to freedom,” Taylor said.
As the lights dimmed and the auditorium went black the whispers faded away and everyone sat still in their seat. Kanye Wests’ “Black Skinhead” instrumental blared through the speakers as the opening scene began.
Students sat back wide-eyed and gave out an occasional gasp as they watched “Noah” played by Aldis Hodge running through the midnight woods with slave catchers fast on his trail.
Everyone in the auditorium was engaged in the show from beginning to end. Exchanging occasional “oh-no’s” claps, snaps and cheers.
Seth McCormick, fourth-year business administration student from Chicago, Ill. and member of the Alpha Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, shared his review of the pilot episode.
“I enjoyed the content of it. (It) was aggressive yet sensitive to the subject matter and its audience … definitely a really big eye opener to say the least. The show has great potential … I also like the way it showcases a cast of new young African-American actors,” McCormick as he continued to pass out shirts to attendees.
After the final scene ended students were surprised with a guest appearance from “Zeke” played by Theodus Crane.
A native of Atlanta, Ga., Crane has worked alongside Academy award winners like Robert De Niro; he even played in the immensely popular TV show “The Walking Dead.”
Although Crane is from the one of the largest entertainment meccas, he didn’t reach his big break until he moved to Louisiana.
“I moved to New Orleans in 2010 and that’s when things kicked off … as much film and TV that’s produced in Atlanta it wasn’t much of a catalyst for me,” Crane said.
When Crane was asked if the show met his expectations, he said with a large project like this he didn’t come in with expectations. The project is too large to come in with a set outline of expectations.
The new WGN series “Underground” is scheduled to premier on March 9 following ABC’s “Empire.”