We've known about the upcoming HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero for almost a year, and now we finally have our first look at the network's new drama. The series is written by The Wire creator David Simon and William F. Zorzi, and directed by Crash's Paul Haggis. Oscar Isaac is starring as Nick Wasicsko, the young mayor of Yonkers, NY elected amidst a major shift in the city's public housing policy. (It's based on the 1999 nonfiction book of the same name by former New York Times reporter Lisa Belkin.) The cast is filled out by Catherine Keener, Jim Belushi, Winona Ryder, and Alfred Molina, and the trailer is simmering with the sort of racial and political tension Simon and Haggis have built their careers on dissecting.
HBO is catching Isaac at the perfect time. He's coming off acclaimed, intense work in both A Most Violent Year and Ex Machina, and he's poised to become a major player in two of the world's biggest franchises: Star Wars (this December), and X-Men (next year). In the Show Me a Hero trailer, he's quivering under the weight of intense civic pressure and a terrible haircut. I couldn't keep my eyes off him, and I'm giddy at the chance to see him take a crack at Simon's fiery diatribes against racism and inequality.
The show's major themes are still relevant today
Show Me a Hero has good timing for reasons beyond the momentum of its actors. The series is arriving in the wake of a Supreme Court decision condemning the racist implementation of housing policies that have created lasting segregation. This means the series is filling a different role now than it would have two months ago — instead of serving as a historical document, it's more like a prologue to this year's real change. Show Me a Hero's six-episode run premieres on August 16th.