Hulu’s ‘Kindred’ finds modern-day Black woman on an 1800s plantation

FX’s “Kindred,” which begins streaming Tuesday on Hulu, plunges viewers into a mystery that exists to be experienced, not solved. A young Black woman named Dana, later revealed as an aspiring TV writer in modern-day Los Angeles, lies dazed and apparently injured on the floor of her new house. Barely able to move, she grabs a bag and gathers clothes, a kitchen knife and a bottle of aspirin. She eases into a tub of water, which turns red from her wounds. Then the police start banging on her door, demanding to know whether anything is wrong.

What exactly is happening? There’s no long wait for an answer. Like the 1979 novel by Octavia E. Butler that inspired it, the new series quickly reveals that Dana somehow is time-traveling back to an early-1800s Maryland plantation, the place where her ancestors lived with the horrific reality of slavery. While the eight episodes (which arrive all at once) make some changes to the book’s narrative, the show’s creator, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, says his dream scenario would be for people to watch them in tandem with reading Butler’s print version.


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