When Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were first announced to be starring in a television show with early news of True Detective, it felt like everyone was deeming this a turning point for television — that, after having been considered the lesser (or at least separate) art to film for so long, it was finally being legitimized by people with name-influence. Of course, the two forms just so happen to be different storytelling structures with different strengths, and what’s nice is more and more, the boundaries between them seem more flexible, with more and more mini/limited/anthology series like Show Me a Hero demonstrating the potentials of the hybridity of the forms. Perhaps an even greater suggestion of the fact that people have totally acknowledged that both have equal potential and equal strengths comes with the news that it looks like film acting superlative Meryl Streep will soon be devoting her time to starring in (and co-producing) a series.
Her co-producer happens to be someone you may have heard of as well: JJ Abrams — who Deadline (who broke the news) claims will also direct some episodes, and who’ll be producing through his banner, Bad Robot, which has also made HBO’s upcoming series, Westworld. The two are in negotiations with Warner Brothers Television to bring Nathan Hill’s novel The Nix, which was actually just released a little over a week ago (on August 30), to the small screen as a limited series. (It bears noting that Streep has already been in — and of course been fantastic in — a TV miniseries: Angels in America. But a “limited series” rather indicates that it could exist for multiple, somewhat short seasons, unlike a miniseries.)
Streep will presumably, as Vulture predicts, be playing Faye Anderson-Anderson, an ex-hippie protestor who experiences a moment in the spotlight of contemporary virality when she throws rocks at a Republican presidential candidate. The book follows her largely through the experiences of her son, Samuel, who was abandoned by her when he was 11, who’s now a professor at a Midwestern university, and who’s been given a book deal to pen an unflattering portrait of his mother. (The narrative of estrangement and children’s anger at their free-spirited mothers’ abandonment seems at least superficially reflective of the role Streep recently played in Ricki and the Flash.)
Though these two characters are central to the novel, the New York Times points out that Hill’s this 600+ page debut is far more kaleidoscopic than this description might make it seem, and their review dubbed it the “love child of Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace,” noting that its “backdrop includes Occupy Wall Street, insipid pop singers and a reactionary, revolver-carrying Wyoming governor ready to run for president” — not to mention multiple temporal settings.