First Apple TV+ Dickinson trailer serves up costume drama with social issues

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Dickinson screenshot
Throw up those devil horns!
Photo: Apple

Gender politics is on full display in Apple’s first trailer for Dickinson. The original Apple TV+ series offers a reimagining of the life of American poet Emily Dickinson.

With its hip 21st century take on a historical drama, Dickinson reminds me of Sofia Coppola’s 2006 movie Marie Antoinette. Coming shortly after Apple’s #MeToo-era trailer for The Morning Show, it suggests that Apple TV+ will embrace social issues in a big way.

Don’t get me wrong: Dickinson doesn’t look like it’ll serve up some giant treatise on intersectional feminism, circa 2019. It looks like a fun female-empowerment story that manages to include some nods to the modern political landscape. But coming so soon after The Morning Show, the choice of this as Apple’s second trailer to show off is interesting.

First Dickinson trailer

Created by Alena Smith, Dickinson stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Bumblebee) as the 19th-century American poet.

The first Dickinson teaser trailer shows the young writer — sometimes known as the “virgin recluse” — rebelling against societal norms as words from her poem Wild Nights scrawl across the screen.

Apple TV+ makes a statement

Apple’s early efforts in original TV shows, such as the terrible Planet of the Apps, got nobody buzzing. Sure, some people (including at least one of the folks in it) moaned about how poor the overall effort was. But nobody talked about it as any kind of interesting cultural artifact.

As it ramps up its streaming video service, Apple is clearly trying to make a statement with its shows. Even the order of its trailer releases says as much.

That’s probably a wise move. When Apple TV+ launches with a proposed $9.99 price tag this fall, the service likely will lack a massive content library. Instead, Apple will roll out a handful of completed shows in hopes of capturing the public imagination.

If The Morning Show and Dickinson can strike a cultural chord, it will help Apple a whole lot. Furthermore, chiming in on social justice issues is totally in line with CEO Tim Cook’s vision of Apple as a “force for good.”

There’s time for the other shows, like Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, later.