The Life of Zelda
Amazon Studios new series Z: The Beginning of Everything is the show you never knew you needed. Based on the fictionalized novel Z: The Story of Zelda Fitzgerald by Anne Fowler, Amazon's new series brings to life the story of the fun and rambunctious wife of one of the most respected and legendary writers of all time, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Anyone who has studied English in high school or college is most likely familiar with the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, from his short stories like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to his larger than life novels like "This Side of Paradise" and "The Great Gatsby." Zelda Fitzgerald also had a career in writing with her only published novel "Save Me the Waltz" which was a semi-autobiographical story of her life and marriage to Scott.
Zelda in the show is played by none other than Santa Monica native Christina Ricci, The 37-year-old actress who has been in dozens of movies like The Addams Family and Sleepy Hollow, she has also spent some time in the T.V world on the show Grey's Anatomy. Ricci, who is also the executive producer of the show pitched the idea to Amazon Studios three years ago after reading Anne Fowler’s novel. When asked what it was like to play someone like Zelda Fitzgerald Ricci told Collider.com “It’s really fun to play a complicated, complex, unpredictable, undefinable woman because I feel like that’s real.” F. Scott in this Amazon series is played by 38-year-old Swedish-born actor David Hoflin, David is known for roles in the T.V shows American Crime and Neighbors. When describing how he prepared to play F. Scott, Hoflin told Refinery29 he read all of Scott's novels and continued by saying “The first thing I read was This Side of Paradise. The main character in that, Amory Blaine, was pretty much [Scott] and how he viewed himself, and that was important.”
Z: The Beginning of Everything is a 10 episode series that gives us a glance into the lives Zelda and Scott lived during the time they first met and also how they lived after marriage during the success of Scott's first published novel This Side of Paradise. The show starts off in Zelda's hometown of Montgomery Alabama where she is living with her family and Scott is a young soldier stationed in Montgomery waiting to see where he will be deployed during World War 1. The first three episodes may move slow for some but they are good at portraying what Zelda was known for, being free and outside the box. These first episodes serve as a typical love story of two people from two completely different backgrounds but are different from other couples when it comes to their outlook on life. Scott constantly throughout the first few episodes expresses how he is one day going to be a famous writer and Zelda reminds everyone time and time again how Montgomery is always going to be the same and how she wants different in her life.
The show picks up around mid-season when Zelda makes her big move to New York City to marry Scott just after he releases his first novel. As Scott gets his first taste of money, himself and his new bride are the buzz around New York City. The liquor and parties are an everyday occurrence for the Fitzgeralds around this time in the show. This series does extremely well at capturing all the glamor of New York City during the roaring ‘20s and is comparable to the 2013 film version of F. Scott’s novel The Great Gatsby that starred Academy Award Winner, Leonardo DiCaprio.
From the speakeasies to the luxurious parties and fancy cars, Z: The Beginning of Everything really brings you into the life of the rich and famous so many years ago. Like any show, there is going to be conflict and for Zelda and Scott, it starts with their alcohol habits. The pressure to be great catches up to the couple by the last few episodes, Scott struggles to put words on a page to follow up his first novel and Zelda can't seem to get her drunken husband to focus on his work while she struggles to find her own identity so far from home.
As good and informative this show is, it still lacks in a few areas and is still far from great. The series writers seemed to drag out the issues that F. Scott was facing and failed to realize that the show should have focused more on its leading lady Zelda. With only ten episodes running just over 25 minutes each, the show covered a very small portion of Zelda's life. Without giving away too much, the show does end back in Montgomery, Alabama where there is a big reveal and clearly ends with a cliffhanger. The future of the show is still unknown while in the hands of Amazon Studios, but a season 2 could possibly incorporate F. Scott Fitzgerald's biggest novel The Great Gatsby and could give fans a unique look at what influence Zelda had in the creation of this timeless novel. You can stream season one of Z: The Beginning of Everything right now on Amazon Prime.