Reviews In For Hulu Miniseries Based On Stephen King’s ‘11.22.63’

As anticipation grows for the President’s Day launch of the Hulu miniseries based on Stephen King’s novel, 11.22.63, reviews are coming in and are positive.

The well-loved time travel saga by bestselling author Stephen King is set to hit the little screen on February 15, 2016. The President’s Day launch is appropriate, as the series covers events leading up to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy back in 1963.

Adapted for television by Bridget Carpenter, the miniseries has been much anticipated by Stephen King fans and, naturally, those interested in the assassination of J.F.K. In eight parts, the miniseries covers the tale of a time traveler sent back in time to attempt to prevent the assassination and reveals how things twist and turn, going wrong for the main character.

A reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz, published a review of the miniseries on Thursday, and on the whole, said review was pretty much positive.

The review said that the concept of the 11.22.63 miniseries is “intriguing,” especially due to its premise of a history teacher being given the power to travel back in time, and while the series is “fraught with both little and not-so-little comprehension problems,” it is full of Stephen King touches among the serpentine plot twists of the series.

One aspect of note which the reviewer said had undeniable appeal was the “impressive period detail of the early ’60s.”

Up to and including star James Franco, who remains clean-shaven and constantly wears a hat in the series, every detail appears to have been covered to make Franco’s character’s trips to the past look authentic.

Reportedly even the atmosphere of 1960’s Dallas, while only seen briefly during 11.22.63, looks authentic and “engaging.” The series reportedly includes clips from television reports throughout, lending even more to the authenticity.

In a review reported by Collider, we are told that the series is “time (travel) well spent” and that James Franco‘s character truly shines.

“He’s charming but not smug, earnest but not dull, and his performance feels believably hopeful and also beleaguered, as Jake hones in on Oswald and those he believes are part of the conspiracy. He’s capable and driven, but he also struggles and makes plenty of mistakes.”

In the story, James Franco’s character, Jake Epping, is chosen by Chris Cooper’s character, Al Templeton, to take over from where he left off. Templeton has been traveling back in time for some years in an attempt to rewrite history, but without success, from a time travel portal in his diner.

Reportedly early in the 11.22.63 series, the character Jake tries to get out of the whole time travel idea by telling Templeton, “Just because you wasted your life on this doesn’t mean I have to.”

Of course there wouldn’t be a miniseries if the character didn’t end up doing just that – traveling back with sinister and fascinating results in an attempt to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating John F. Kennedy. While in the past, the character Jake gets to meet Oswald – played by Daniel Webber – the gunman who according to the Warren Commission acted alone in killing J.F.K.

One complication in Jake’s life will appeal to those with a romantic heart, as he falls in love with Sarah Gadon’s character, librarian Sadie Dunhill, making it difficult to plan on returning to his own time.

According to a report in Blackburn News, executive producer of 11.22.63 and a self-admitted Stephen King fan himself, J.J. Abrams (he of Lost fame and the newer Star Trek movies) praised both King and screenwriter Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights).

Abrams said in an interview that the series of episodes in 11.22.63 will “grab you by the heart and grab you by the throat and just drag you through this thing.”

As reported in The Inquisitr in January, James Franco, 37, spoke to critics at the Television Critics Association’s press tour about his part in 11.22.63, explaining he wasn’t yet alive when the assassination of John F. Kennedy happened, but he knew it was a big event.

“It’s sort of become, in a weird way, legend for my generation where it feels like Marilyn Monroe or James Dean. But in fact it was this horrific event. I thought this story and approach was so great because it’s a fresh way in.”

Franco did add that they are “not exactly telling a history lesson” and that you get to learn everything about the Kennedy assassination all over again from a “completely fresh perspective we haven’t really seen before.”

According to Franco this is a way to guide a new generation into what actually happened back in 1963.

Other stars in the Hulu miniseries include Josh Duhamel as Frank Dunning, T.R. Knight playing Johnny Clayton and George MacKay as Bill Turcotte. Cherry Jones plays the role of Marguerite Oswald and Lucy Fry as Marina Oswald.

Now everyone must wait impatiently for the miniseries version of Stephen King’s 11.22.63 to launch on Hulu on President’s Day, February 15.

In the meantime, enjoy a preview into the new miniseries below.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]