Barry Jenkins Developing 'The Underground Railroad' Amazon Series

You might be asking yourself, "Isn't there already a TV series about the Underground Railroad"? The answer is yes, and while WGN's Underground has been very successful over its two seasons, when the director of Best Picture-winner Moonlight wants to do something that's slightly similar, you stand back and let him do it.

Barry Jenkins is developing planning to write and direct The Underground Railroad, an Amazon series adapted from  Colson Whitehead's best-selling book. Whitehead's novel reimagines the 18th-century Underground as a literal system of secret railways beneath the southern soil. The book centered on Cora, a runaway slave from Georgia in search of the Underground in a desperate bid for freedom. Chances are Jenkins' series will expand on things a little bit.

Jenkins had this to say to TVLine...

“[Whitehead’s novel] is a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking, and in Amazon, we’ve found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision.”

As they've done with many of the high-profile directors who have joined the team, Amazon is skipping the whole "pilot season" process and giving Jenkins' show a full commitment. I see this as a good move for them but also for Jenkins. Moonlight is a tough act to follow, and getting a little bit of distance is probably a smart idea.