Time travel is one of the great devices of modern TV and film, but rarely do the consequences fully come into focus as would-be superheroes, Gallifreyians and others are employed to tweak the span of history. Debuting on February 15 on Hulu with a new episode every Monday, 11.22.63 is all about truth and consequences. The James Franco-starrer about a back-to-the-future attempt to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy is also full of more twists than you’d expect and, as my video review above says, a ton of fedora-wearing fun.
Based on Stephen King’s 2011 bestseller and having debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, the eight-episode series executive produced by King, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Bridget Carpenter follows Franco’s disgruntled modern-day teacher Jake Epping literally through a closet in an old diner back to 1960. The WTF rules of the game are such that if the culture shock doesn’t get him, the romance, roaches and the past pushing back will — long before Epping gets to Lee Harvey Oswald, if that is indeed who he is looking for.
Reminiscent in many ways of that great X-Files episode “Musings Of A Smoking Man” from 20-years ago, 11.22.63 isn’t high art or even high drama, and it doesn’t want to be. This is a good old-fashioned (by which I mean 1990s) quirky thriller for which Franco is perfectly cast. Add to that strong turns by diner owner and fellow timer traveler Chris Cooper and the never-less-than-amazing Cherry Jones as Oswald’s mother, and you have a great companion to Fox’s X-Files revival and beyond.
So check out my video review of 11. 22.63 before it premieres on Presidents Day. Tell us what you think: Would you have taken up the challenge to stop the killing of a President?