What the ‘Dickinson’? Trailer for AppleTV+ comedy turns poet into a party girl

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Renowned American poet Emily Dickinson will be the subject of AppleTV+’s new series “Dickinson,” which, get this, is a comedy starring Hailee Steinfeld of “Pitch Perfect 2” and Jane Krakowsi of “30 Rock.”

And if Monday’s one-minute teaser trailer is any indication, the show wants to be a rager, with wild nights set in the 1800s and a period cast boasting a slew of antic-ready youngsters. Stanzas from Dickinson’s poem “Wild Nights” also float across the tease.

But just like a party, wanting it to be a rager and actually delivering are two very different separate things.


Per Apple, the series “audaciously explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of rebellious young poet Emily Dickinson (Steinfeld).” Cool, and perhaps expected of a series about a literary icon. But it’s also supposed to be a coming-of-age story that frames the poet as “an unexpected hero for our millennial era.” Let’s see if that sticks in the era of peak TV.

“I have one purpose,” Dickinson says as the techno beat of “I Like Tuh” blares throughout the teaser. “And that is to become a great writer.”

That sets the table for a writer’s on-brand proclivities sure to be explored in the series, as explained by Krakowski, who plays her mother: “She’s wild. She’ll be the ruin of this family. And she doesn’t know how to behave like a proper young lady.”

The teaser tosses out the eccentric spinster persona that has dogged the poet’s personal history and literary legacy, and ushers in the feminist rebellion and contemporary teenage physicality — faux gags, hand gestures and high kicks — that completely contradict a pre-Civil War era production. It’s “Gone With the Wind” meets “A Knight’s Tale.”

The series — created, written and executive produced by Alena Smith (“The Affair,” “The Newsroom”) — appears cut from the same cloth as this year’s “Wild Nights With Emily,” a biopic that used historical research and records to dissect the myth that the poet was a sexless and unloved recluse.

“Dickinson” debuts this fall. It is being executive produced by Steinfeld and also stars Toby Huss, Anna Baryshnikov, Ella Hunt and Adrian Blake Enscoe.