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Elisabeth Moss has established herself as one of the most gifted actresses of her generation, adept at playing women who must battle and endure in the face of harsh reality. She's proven this gift in everything from The Handmaid's Tale to Top of the Lake to Shirley, and now Moss aims to do it again with the Apple TV+ original series, Shining Girls.
Based on the novel The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, the series follows Kirby (Moss), a newspaper archivist who wanted to be a journalist, but whose professional life was halted in its tracks by a devastating assault six years ago that left her near death. Living in 1990s Chicago, Kirby is forced to contend not just with the aftermath of her attack, but with a constantly shifting reality that changes before her eyes, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ones. Then, when veteran reporter Dan Velazquez (Wagner Moura) stumbles upon a murder that's eerily similar to Kirby's attack, she sees a potential way out. If she can help Dan assemble the pieces and find the man behind both attacks, she might be able to repair her own reality. But as the trailer below proves, this is no ordinary killer.
Check out the trailer below:
That's right, this is a serial killer who seems to exist outside of time, following women and young girls sometimes for years, slipping in and out of various eras as he pleases. It's a fascinating concept, and while the trailer doesn't give away all the secrets of Beukes' novel, it gives you enough of the overt fantasy elements to up the interest among genre fans. Plus, the show has an absolutely stacked supporting cast, which includes Jamie Bell, Amy Brenneman, and Hamilton breakout Phillipa Soo. Behind the camera, the series was developed for TV by Strange Angel writer and producer Silka Luisa, while directing duties were handled by Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) and Daina Reid (The Handmaid's Tale).
I was fortunate enough to catch the pilot of Shining Girls, directed by MacLaren, during SXSW earlier this month, and it's a very promising start to what could become a new TV obsession. Even without the fantasy elements, it works very well as a murder mystery story. But throw in the idea of a killer who seems to exist everywhere, all the time, and it becomes a gripping dark fantasy show with a stellar cast and a great look.
Shining Girls premieres April 29 on Apple TV+.