“[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,” Jenkins told TVLine in a statement. “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 TVLine points out, Whitehead’s Underground Railroad reimagines the 18th century network of safe houses as an actual underground train system.
Instead of picking up the show as a pilot first to test it with audiences, as Amazon usually does, the streaming service seems to have skipped that step this time around in favor of a series order. That could be due to both the success of Whitehead’s novel, which won a National Book Award, and Jenkins’ success with Moonlight, which won a Best Picture Oscar last month.
There’s no word yet on when the series will premiere.