HBO announced on Wednesday that the Game of Thrones producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — two white men, I should add — will write and produce a show about a “fantasy” world where the Confederacy won the Civil War. It will be brilliantly titled, Confederate.
Per HBO’s description:
“Confederate chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The Series taks place in an alternate timeline where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone — freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolotionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate, and the families of people in their thrall.”
It’s pretty difficult to conceive of why this show was greenlit. Did HBO run this idea by any focus groups involving black people…or anyone but white men? I’m going to go out on a limb and presume no. Especially since as soon as the news hit Twitter, people were predictably unenthused. Here’s a sampling of the reactions to HBO’s announcement:
In HBO’s defense, two of the show’s executive producers are black. Nichelle Tramble Spellman of Justified and Maclom Spellman of Empire have joined the project. At the very least, it’s definitely a good thing that the show will not be solely helmed by two white men.
Though I have one question for Benioff and Weiss: Have you been to the South recently? I would guess no since the majority of Game of Thrones is filmed on picturesque landscapes across Europe, but perhaps maybe you should.
It’s quite apparent that the Confederacy’s cheerleaders remain alive and well, if not thriving, below the Mason Dixon. I can only think of a small group of people who might really get a kick out of Confederate. As my colleague, Yesha Callahan, at The Root wrote, “it sounds like every member of Storm Front’s wet dream.”
We’re still battling to have Confederate statues removed and HBO thinks it’s a great idea to produce a show where the Confederacy wins? Something is not right with this scenario. The Confederacy may have lost, but it never really left.
Of course, there’s an ever so slight chance that the show deals with slavery delicately — perhaps there is a plot twist, who knows? But Confederate sure sounds like something acclaimed movie director, Steve Bannon, might be interested in co-producing. If not a co-producer, Bannon would likely be an avid viewer.