Hailee Steinfeld to Star in a Comedy Series About Emily Dickinson

Hailee Steinfeld Edge of Seventeen

Apple adds another original series to its impressive, star-studded streaming lineup.

The competition among streaming services is about to get a little more crowded. Apple has snatched up yet another promising series to add to its video streaming platform, which is set to launch as early as March 2019.

Deadline reports that Apple has given a straight-to-series order for the comedy series Dickinson, an inventive and modern take on the life of Emily Dickinson. Hailee Steinfeld is set to star as the eponymous poet. Screenwriter and playwright Alena Smith, who has also written for The Affair and The Newsroom, will pen the series.

Steinfeld first earned attention as an actress for her turn in True Grit, for which she earned an Oscar nomination at age 14. With notable roles since then in The Edge of Seventeen and Pitch Perfect 2, she brings significant star power to the series.

Dickinson is framed as Emily Dickinson’s “coming-of-age story,” focusing on her earlier life. Written with a feminist slant, the series will explore Dickinson’s growth as a poet within the constraints of society, gender, and family. Although set during Dickinson’s lifetime in the mid-1800s, the show will take on a “modern sensibility and tone.”

It’s exciting that Dickinson’s story will be brought to the small screen, but it will be even more interesting to see how Smith plans to present her famously reclusive life as a comedy. As a young woman, the poet was deeply depressed, spending most of her time alone and preoccupied with death — not exactly material that lends itself to humor. But Smith is an accomplished, capable writer who should be able to adapt wisely.

Apple adds Dickinson to an already robust lineup of original series, most of which are attached to big names. Let’s break down the confirmed projects (almost all of which have landed straight-to-series orders) that Apple has acquired for its streaming service:

With over a dozen original series in the works, Apple is certainly preparing to enter the streaming arena guns blazing. You can keep up with all their current and upcoming projects here.

Currently, Apple is home to two reality series. Planet of the Apps is essentially Shark Tank but for app developers, with a far less qualified panel of celebrity judges (what does Gwyneth Paltrow really know about software design?). Its other reality show, Carpool Karaoke: The Series, is a spin-off of the recurring bit from The Late Late Show where James Corden drives a celebrity around and sings. Neither show is particularly great, so Apple’s aggressive pivot to scripted series is a wise choice.

As exciting as many of Apple’s upcoming projects are, the sheer robustness of the lineup can be a little overwhelming. Fears that streaming could soon become oversaturated are perfectly valid. After all, Netflix just promised to produce 1,000 original series and movies by the end of this year.

But with streaming platforms racing to create more and more series, there are more opportunities for niche projects to thrive. When platforms create massive content catalogues, stories that elevate marginalized voices or speak to specific tastes are more likely to be given a chance. Though the seemingly endless stream of new content is overwhelming, it actually empowers viewers with choice.

With such a stacked catalogue so far prior to its launch, Apple will be a worthy opponent to streaming giants Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. May the best platform win.

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Writer, college student, television connoisseur.