FX Debuts Sci-Fi Series 'Kindred' on Hulu

FX's 'Kindred'
FX's 'Kindred' (Image credit: FX)

FX brings author Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi novel Kindred to the small screen in an eight-part series premiering on Hulu December 13.

The series, executive produced by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, revolves around a young, black writer who settles down in Los Angeles and eventually time travels between the present and a pre-Civil War period where she encounters slavery while meeting her ancestors.

Hulu will debut all eight episodes of the series, which stars Mallori Johnson, Micah Stock, Gayle Rankin and Ryan Kwanten.

Jacobs-Jenkins, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist who has worked on such television shows as HBO’s Watchmen and Prime Video’s Outer Range, said adopting Butler’s groundbreaking 1979 novel was something he had worked toward for years.

“This was one of the first and only books where I closed it and thought to myself this is about me, my family and my history,” he said. “It’s about coming of age as an American and having to reckon with the legacies of the history that makes up this country’s narrative.”

Kindred debuts during an unprecedented time for content produced by people of color to be seen and experienced on television, according to Jacobs-Jenkins.

“There’s more work for creators of color than at any point in history,” he said. “There are just so many options as viewers, and I feel very lucky to be operating in this moment. I don’t have to feel the pressure about being the only Black content creator interested in this and other material. It’s an embarrassment of riches.”

At the same time, he hopes that Kindred can contribute to the authentic and accurate discussion and media portrayal of slavery in America.

“Nothing has done more damage to the way we think and talk about slavery in this country than TV and film,” he said. “I’m trying really hard to see if we can repair that – how do we refresh our thoughts about the people who lived during this period, the choices that were made and what it takes to survive? Ultimately those lessons are the lessons for how we survive now.” ■ 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.