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TV Review: Z: The Beginning of Everything

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Z: The Beginning of Everything immerses us into the beautiful and crazy 20s style of life that inspired The Great Gatsby, by retelling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgeralds' life.

 

During the First World War, Zelda (Christina Ricci), a bold young woman, catches the eye of F. Scott Fitzgerald (David Hoflin), an inspiring author, who is yet to finish his first book.

As Fitzgerald is set to leave for the battlefield of Europe, it's an elegant surprise that he has to meet the woman who will inspire all his books for the better, as well as for the worse.

Everyone knows F. Scott Fitzgerald, but few stories of his life focus primarily on his wife.

Indeed, while she is often depicted as a bipolar trouble-maker, the show rather portrays Zelda as an intrepid woman who married a man she didn’t know as well as she should have.

The new Mrs. Fitzgerald looks likely to compromise in many areas for the wellbeing of her proud husband, who is in constant need of the public's attention.

Whilst Fitzgerald put some of his wife’s letters in his first novel, he refused to publish her writing - even though they were very much in debt and forced to live a life they didn't want to. Here, the woman who everyone thinks was a poison to Fitzgerald finally gets our sympathy.

Christina Ricci is impeccable in the role of Zelda Fitzgerald, making an elaborate character of this iconic figure of the 20s. Unfortunately David Hoflin fails to portray the complexity of F. Scott Fitzgerald's character, performing instead as an unbearable wretch without any shades in his acting.

The rest of the cast is quite good, but unfortunately most of the characters are not recurrent and only appear from time to time in some parts of the episodes.

The show is easy to follow, containing only ten 25-minute-long episodes. It has no time for boring moments, however and speaking of the Fitzgeralds' lifestyle, it can’t have any.

But once the romantic side of the story takes over as the main driver, the show only seems to repeat what any romantic sit-com has done before, only reproducing in an unusual era for a TV show.

Nevertheless, the illustration of their relationship is flawless and the TV show avoids falling in the trap of blaming only one of them for their misfortune.

The themes covered are various: from marital life, alcoholism, to the fear of failure. Unfortunately none are deeply examined and are offered from time to time only a shallow representation of a story that seems direct and purposely uncomplicated. However, this may be explained by the short format of episodes that don’t allow the scenarist to deepen some of the most interesting topics.

Fortunately, it seems more than certain that Z: The Beginning of Everything will return for a second season as only a tiny part of their life together has been portrayed, as Fitzgerald has not yet finished his second novel The Divine and the Damned. Given the series’ final, the life of the couple is about to change - but will it really be what’s best for them?

The ten-episode show is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

 

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