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Netflix sheds new light on historical fiction with “Alias Grace”

Searching for another binge-worthy show to watch on Netflix, the last thing I expected to be hooked on would be a historical fiction mini-series. “Alias Grace” is a six episode series on Netflix based on the 1996 novel by Margaret Atwood. Directed by Mary Harron, it was adapted for a television show and was added to Netflix in 2017.

The series revolves around a felon named Grace Marks who is serving time in prison for being convicted of the murder of her friend Mary Whitney and her boss Mr. Thomas Kinnear. A psychiatrist, Dr. Simon Jordan, plays a big role in the show and is featured alongside marks in all six episodes. Jordan gets hired by supporters of Marks, who hope that he will see her as mentally unstable so she can be released from jail because of this diagnosis.

The show offers an entertaining and twisty spin on the historical murders and time period of 1843 in which the setting of the show takes place. The Netflix series stars Sarah Gadon (Marks), Edward Holcroft (Jordan), Rebecca Liddiard (Whitney) and Kerr Logan (James McDermott). Each of the developed main characters in the series have their own beliefs and opinions as to whether or not they think that Marks is guilty. Each one tells their own personal view of what happened to Marks and what she did.The series is a thrilling and suspenseful one, with plot twists and turns filling each 45-minute episode and making the storyline a complex one. The show is rated TV-MA for its mature content and adult language.

Sarah Gordon creates a complex and interesting character out of Marks, who spends her time in prison working as a servant for the Governor and answering Jordan’s questions. She tells him what she remembers of the day that the murders took place, and claims that she blacked out for most of the events. Because of the way her character is portrayed, the audience can’t tell whether Marks is being truthful in her retelling of the story to the psychiatrist, or if she is just a liar trying to cover up her tracks.

The exciting and intricate complexities of each characters are what make the series so enthralling and seat-gripping. The lies, secrets and suspense help viewers create bonds with certain characters throughout the show, and to root for the ones who they hope will be saved in the end. Although the series only includes six episodes, each one is action-packed and filled with enough information and plot details to fill up 12 to 20 episodes in a regular series.

The original release of the mini-series was on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and aired from Sept. 25 to Oct. 30. The show received many positive reviews and was then scheduled to be released on Netflix in 2017. The original author of the novel, Margaret Atwood, is famous for many other novels. Her other most famous book “The Handmaid’s Tale,” was also turned into a mini-series, along with “Alias Grace” that is available to watch on the network Hulu.

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