Emily Dickinson's wild nights

Published November 17, 2019


I knew I was going to love Dickinson because, from the trailer, it was a modern take on the early life of this infamous poet. I’ll be honest and admit to knowing little about Emily other than her name, but as soon as I knew Hailee Steinfeld was in it, I was on board.

And it was SO GOOD. Ten half-hour episodes of Hailee and her friends reinventing what a good period piece is. Here are five things to love about this new and exciting show, that thankfully has been renewed for a second series already:

  1. The music. The first thing that grabs you about this new show is the music. Steinfeld unveiled the companion song Afterlife before the episodes were released, and that’s just the start of the modern music surrounding each episode. There’s hip-hop, rap, anything that somehow takes you out of the era but also really, really works.
  2. The modern touches. Alongside the incongruous music are the moments that don’t fit the time period either. The party scene that starts out with proper dancing but devolves into some bump and grind. The moments when the characters will say “shut up” or some other modern slang. It shouldn’t work but it absolutely does.
  3. Hailee. She’s just brilliant. Captivating as the isolated and insular poet, who wants to be respected and liked but also finds it quite difficult to relate to anyone other than Sue, Bee and Death. The moment when she walks into the barn wall because life is too much is brilliant.
  4. Relevant themes. The thing about historical shows is that they prove to you just how much changes, and how little changes too. Women fighting for equality, people fighting for good politics, and everyone just wanting to be able to love who you love.
  5. The poetry. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, as I’m not so good at reading between the lines of things. But I love how it was used in the show, to frame each episode and give a nice through-line from start to finish.

I always wonder about shows that are renewed for more series’ before they have even been released but hey, I’m already counting down to series two.

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