Launching tomorrow on Amazon, Z: The Beginning Of Everything has lofty ambitions but hobbling results that leave the It Couple of the Jazz Age a tale that never really gets started. As I say in my video review above, while Christina Ricci does admirably and fearlessly inhabit the role of the creative and sometimes crazed Zelda Fitzgerald, this well-lubricated story of the beautiful and the damned just skips along the surface.
Based on Therese Ann Fowler’s 2013 book Z: A Novel Of Zelda Fitzgerald, the 10-episode first season of the series created by Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin doesn’t really find anything near its way until nearly halfway through, when the once Zelda Sayre of Montgomery, AL heads to New York in 1920 to marry bestselling author F. Scott Fitzgerald and embrace fame, fortune, illicit booze, betrayals and tumultuous attempts at reconciliation and redemption.
The problem is, like a conversation with someone who has had too much to drink and thinks too much of their own conventional opinions, you are hard-pressed to want to wander that deeply into what is ultimately a pretty standard telling of an innately interesting tale. With American Crime alum David Hoflin as F. Scott (replacing Gavin Stenhouse from the pilot), and David Strathairn as Zelda’s stern Judge of a father, there is material galore to be mined in the real-life story of a women who was an inspiration, a sensation and more often than not an unaccredited creative collaborator with her brilliant but often soused and insecure husband.
You can watch my video review above of Z: The Beginning Of Everything for more of what I think of the first of two Fitzgerald-based series coming to the House of Bezos’ streaming service. Suffice to say, this is not the show that pulls precious narrative out of this real-life gold mine.
Will you be watching Z when it launches? Tell us why or why not.