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What Make The Critics Of Bad Robot’s Hulu Adaptation Of Stephen King’s Time Travel Tale??

I am – Hercules!!

Writer-producer Bridget Carpenter (“Dead Like Me,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) scripted the 8-episode “11-22-63” Hulu miniseries, based on Stephen King’s popular 2011 novel about a fellow who discovers a portal to September 9, 1958, then works to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. (No one ever goes back in time to save James Garfield or William McKinley.)

James Franco (“127 Hours,” “The Interview”) plays Jake Epping, the time-travelling teach. The cast also includes Brooklyn Sudano as Christy Epping, Chris Cooper as Al Templeton, Josh Duhamel as Frank Dunning, Leon Rippy as Harry Dunning, Nick Searcy as Deke Simmons, Sarah Gadon as Sadie Dunhill, Mike Camp as Lyndon Johnson, Lucy Fry as Marina Oswald, Michael Izquierdo as Bobby Oswald, Amy Marie Wallace as Vada Oswald, Cherry Jones as Marquerite Oswald, and Daniel Webber as Lee Harvey Oswald.

It has not yet been determined whether or not the series will eventually continue beyond its first eight episodes.

A very loose adaptation of King's “Under The Dome” was summer’s top scripted show a few years ago, but its viewership declined sharply after its first season.

J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production concern, which is behind “11/22/63,” also produced (or is producing) “Alias,” “Lost,” “What About Brian?” “Six Degrees,” “Fringe,” “Undercovers,” “Person of Interest,” “Alcatraz,” “Revolution,” “Almost Human,” “Believe,” “Cloverfield,” “Morning Glory,” “Super 8,” four “Mission: Impossible” movies, three “Star Trek” movies, and a “Star Wars” sequel.

There appears to be much controversy surrounding Franco’s performance. Some credit it with saving the mini while others maintain that it hobbles the project.

Time says:

… Eight episodes, here, is too many; the series goes down several blind alleys before it gets to Dealey Plaza. But its best moments thrum with tension, as when the past rebels against our hero, trying to repel him. …

Hitfix says:

… A Hulu viewer who doesn't know the book at all won't miss the Jodie interludes, and may well find 11.22.63 a pretty good What If? Story. …

The New York Times says:

... a capable adaptation of Mr. King’s 2011 best seller, appealing enough to snag a general audience and yet different enough from the book to give hard-core King fans plenty to grouse about. … Many pieces of the book have been omitted here, including some of its more rewarding threads, and as the pace slows in the middle of the series, fans of the novel might wish different choices had been made. But things quicken again by Part 6 as the rendezvous with history nears and the question of what happens if you alter the past is put to the test. And the finale is beautifully done and beautifully carried by Mr. Franco, thought-provoking and heartbreaking at once. …

The Washington Post says:

... King’s work doesn’t always happily travel through the portal connecting the page to the TV screen, but Hulu scores with an impressively stout-hearted, eight-part adaptation of “11/22/63” that begins streaming weekly episodes on Monday. It’s a fun and easily absorbing thriller wrapped inside a cautionary tale about indulging in nostalgia — and best of all, it has a definite and emotionally satisfying conclusion. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... an engaging eight-hour miniseries … It’s somewhat uneven and doesn’t always make perfect sense, but, in a way, the absence of predictability becomes one of the show’s most useful assets. … The story does meander from time to time, especially in the early episodes, but “11.22.63” eventually finds its way. …

The Boston Globe says:

... a satisfying and smartly developed work that marks yet another step forward for streamer Hulu …

TV Guide says:

... It's a gripping tale, and a rare opportunity to watch a history program whose ending is up in the air. …

USA Today says:

... despite having placed his well-reviewed book into the extremely able hands of producer J.J. Abrams, [Stephen King] has once again landed on "dull," thanks to a screenplay by Bridget Carpenter that never begins to justify the miniseries' eight-hour length and a performance from star James Franco that practically defines erratic. …

Variety says:

... an uneven affair, at times feeling as if it’s meandering through history en route to its frantic closing kick – a “Twilight Zone” episode, stretched and kneaded to wring more out of it, while making up the rules as it goes along. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... pretty much all of the success in 11.22.63 comes from Franco being able to take the concept from bizarre to believable, with a major assist from Cooper, who combines with Franco in the early episodes (and flashbacks) to give this series its much-needed dramatic believability. … Even in its slower moments, 11.22.63 demands attention because King has crafted a story you want to watch unfold, with the question of whether the trip back is worth the cost always at the forefront, providing the stakes. And even though it has clicked with previous efforts, Hulu proves here that it can wrangle the likes of King, Abrams and Franco to produce content and is therefore to be taken seriously as yet another important player in the scripted TV game.

Monday. Hulu.

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