Coming at a particularly charged time as anti-racist protests swirl around the globe, a new YA adaptation from Peacock trains its eye on issues of race, in a vision of an alternate reality. In Noughts + Crosses, a series taken from the first book in British author Malorie Blackman’s literary saga, the racial power structure has been flipped: Africa has invaded Europe, and Black people hold the region's institutional power amid ongoing segregation. The series' first trailer highlights the love story at the heart of this politically fraught concept.
"In this world, Africa — or 'Aprica' — invaded Europe centuries ago, enslaving its people. In present-day London, 'Albion,' slavery is an institution of the past, but Jim Crow-esque segregation laws maintain the power dynamic," reads the show's official description. Focused on the relationship between Sephy Hadley (Masali Baduza), a member of the Cross ruling class, and Callum McGregor (Jack Rowan), a Nought, Noughts + Crosses gives streaming fans another historical "what if?", this time set against a backdrop of race relations.
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Writers Lydia Adetunji, Nathaniel Price, and Rachel Le-Lahay have adapted Blackman’s story, giving over to directors Julian Holmes and Koby Adom to bring its alt-reality to life. With images of police brutality and a London that's taken a pan-African aesthetic, Noughts + Crosses looks to kick up a relevant discourse over its six-episode span.
Noughts + Crosses stars Jack Rowan, Masali Baduza, Jonathan Ajayi, Helen Baxendale, Paterson Joseph, Josh Dylan, Shaun Dingwall, Jonathan Ajayi, Kike Brimah, Rakie Ayola, Bonnie Mbuli, and Ian Hart.