Se­ries un­der fire

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY FRAZIER MOORE

No scripts have been writ­ten, not even an out­line.

But HBO’s an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day that the cre­ator-showrun­ners of “Game of Thrones’’ will fol­low up that mas­sive hit with an HBO se­ries in which slav­ery re­mains le­gal in the mod­ern-day South drew fire on so­cial me­dia from those who fear that telling that story will glo­rify racism.

The se­ries, “Con­fed­er­ate,’’ will take place in an al­ter­nate time­line where the south­ern states have suc­cess­fully se­ceded from the Union and formed a na­tion in which le­gal­ized slav­ery has evolved into a mod­ern in­sti­tu­tion. The story fol­lows “a broad swath of char­ac­ters on both sides of the Ma­son-Dixon Demil­i­ta­rized Zone,’’ HBO said.

“Con­fed­er­ate’’ will be cre­ated and writ­ten by “Game of Thrones’’ mas­ter­minds David Be­nioff and D.B. Weiss, who will also serve as showrun­ners on the se­ries. Both are white.

HBO’s an­nounce­ment also said they would join forces with Mal­colm Spell­man (“Em­pire,’’ the forth­com­ing “Foxy Brown’’) and Nichelle Tram­ble Spell­man (“Jus­ti­fied,’’ ‘’The Good Wife”), hus­band-and-wife TV veter­ans who both are black and who will be fel­low ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers and writ­ers on the new se­ries.

Weiss called slav­ery “our orig­i­nal sin as a na­tion. And his­tory doesn’t dis­ap­pear . ... It’s an ugly and a painful his­tory, but we all think this is a rea­son to talk about it, not a rea­son to run from it. And this feels like a po­ten­tially valu­able way to talk about it.’’

Be­nioff added, “I’d say any­one who thinks that Mal­colm and Nichelle are props have never met Mal­colm and Nichelle.’’

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