The Crazy Comedy of John Brown

Ethan Hawke as John Brown in The Good Lord Bird (Showtime/via YouTube)
Showtime’s ingenious and funny miniseries The Good Lord Bird finds a fresh take on the self-appointed anti-slavery avenger.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE J ohn Brown must surely have been one of the fiercest men who ever lived, a single-minded avenger who was, depending on your point of view, either God’s merciless right arm of retribution or America’s first celebrity serial killer. What seems obvious about the man is that he took his mission to personally strike down slavery with as much seriousness as anyone has ever approached anything.

So what if we approached the tale of John Brown as . . . a comedy?

The Good Lord Bird, the just-concluded seven-part Showtime series adapted from James McBride’s novel, proceeds from a bizarre, crazy premise that

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