The Plot Against America trailer

“There’s a lot of hate out there, and he knows how to tap into it.”

That’s a line from this new trailer for HBO’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, but it just as easily be about the current occupant of the White House. The six-episode limited series is set in an alternate history of the United States during the 1940 presidential election, but the parallels to our real world political environment today are stark and unsettling. Check out the trailer below.

The Plot Against America Trailer

I only knew the broad strokes of Charles Lindbergh’s life – he piloted the first solo flight from New York to Paris, and suffered the unimaginable tragedy of having young son stolen from his crib and murdered in what was known as “the crime of the century.” But there’s much more to him than just those history book highlights, and this new series from The Wire‘s David Simon and Ed Burns imagines what may have happened if Lindbergh, who was seen as a populist hero to many Americans, had defeated Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 election. In the show, Lindbergh’s xenophobic leanings bring out the worst among our citizens and Jewish families are on the receiving end of that behavior. So, you know, nothing at all like what’s happening in our real world or anything.

Watching this show isn’t exactly my idea of a nice comfortable night in, but it has an undeniably excellent collection of talent involved. Zoe Kazan, Winona Ryder, and John Turturro are the marquee actors, and Simon and Burns’ filmographies speak for themselves at this point, so I’ll tune in if I’m in a bleak mood. I’m not sure if this is going to accomplish anything other than preaching to the crowd, but I guess the crowd occasionally needs a bit of preaching to, as well.

“[Roth] wrote a book that was politically sensate whether or not the issue was anti-Semitism or persecution of Jews in 1940,” Simon explained earlier this year. “If you’re taking it literally, there’s not much point in us doing that, although anti-Semitism is resurgent. The savagery that’s being shown – great effort is being made to define people as less American, which is disastrous for what the American republic has to be. The book goes for this very specific historical moment and specific threat against Jews to being very allegorical to our time.”

Here’s the show’s official synopsis:

From creators David Simon and Ed Burns comes The Plot Against America, an alternate American history story of the country’s turn to fascism told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey.

The Plot Against America premieres on March 16, 2020 at 9pm on HBO.

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