A Trailer I Can’t Stop Obsessing Over
Many thanks to Erin for keeping me on the payroll and keeping up with the Trailer Tuesday segments all the same. Now that conference season is over, for the time being, I’m home and settled back down with my derpy dog and a new car note. But the car note is another story.
For the past month or so, I have been obsessing over a new trailer for an upcoming television series based on a popular book from the 90s. I did want to make sure I also covered the upcoming film, Dunkirk, in a timely fashion; but it’s coming out in July, which gives me a little time. Now, about this trailer…
In 1994, historian/author Caleb Carr published The Alienist, a detective tale set in the New York City’s Gilded Age. Carr’s training as a historian enabled him to seamlessly insert anecdotes about US politics and psychological theories of the time, police procedures (or lack thereof), and major historical players from Teddy Roosevelt (who features as a prominent protagonist) to J. P. Morgan. These inserts are not cumbersome, as the narrator is one John Moore, crime reporter for The New York Times, and thus chronicles his time spent with his childhood friends, Sara Howard, Roosevelt, and Dr. Lazlo Kriezler, to solve a series of grisly murders of child prostitutes coughed up from Old New York’s seamy underbelly. Dr. Kriezler is the titular alienist, so named as the trailer points out, because patients suffering severe mental illness were considered to be alienated from their natures. Alienists were, therefore, the forerunners to criminal and abnormal psychiatrists. In this story, Kriezler and his friends also serve as the forerunners to criminal profilers.
Having read the book (which I highly, highly recommend), I was intrigued to see that Carr has worked very closely with the show’s creator and writers to ensure that the series faithfully follows the book and recreates the look of 1890’s New York City, where the elites engaged in seedy affairs and cast off the unfortunate children of the city’s burgeoning immigrant population. The casting is very strong and the nerd in me was quite satisfied to see certain scenes and bits of dialogue that are straight from the book and set to music that lends a Holmesian feel to the trailer. If you are squeamish about subjects of child murder and child trafficking, you may want to steer clear; but these are very difficult topics for me to read about as well, and I never found it exploitative in the novel. The Moore character clearly expresses the loss and horror of a system that chews up and spits out the weak, not only forgetting them but preferring to pretend they never existed. Plus, the novel never abandoned the sense of urgency felt by all protagonists to solve the murders and save what children they could.
There is no release date as of yet, but TNT is the network that has picked up this project and so should be updating its schedule pretty soon. One final word on the casting…I know Luke Evans doesn’t play for my team, but I do believe that in the real-life universe of Beauty and the Beast, I would have struck a deal with Belle for her have the Beast if she would give me a crack at Gaston. Just sayin’.