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Jordan Peele Goes Nazi Hunting with New Amazon Show

A new television series will explore why America cannot shake the Nazi threat.
By  · Published on May 17th, 2018

A new television series will explore why America cannot shake the Nazi threat.

Nazis have always been the two-dimensional bad guys inserted into stories as a measure to clearly define the heroism of a protagonist. No need to question the motives of Indiana Jones, he’s chucking Nazis out of zeppelins and under tank treads. When Tom Clancy’s Middle Eastern potboiler The Sum of All Fears proved too murky for Hollywood, producers flipped Arab nationists for neo-Nazis, so audiences had discernable iconography to boo. For the last 75 years, the Third Reich was an easy shorthand for villainy.

Swastikas are still a clear-cut indicator that a cockroach needs to get squashed, but apparently, there are some folks on this planet that need a good reminder. Or at the very least, audiences are craving the cathartic release supplied when a fascistic tool gets smashed. There is no better person to fuel that necessary anger than Jordan Peele.

Continuing his new partnership with Amazon, Peele is executive producing a ten-episode series involving Nazi officers infiltrating 1970s New York City. According to Deadline, The Hunt tracks an eclectic group of individuals as they attempt to suppress a Fourth Reich from rising within U.S. borders. The show will be overseen by Peele but is the creation of actor-turned-writer David Weil.

Peele is still charting his creative course post-Oscar, and he is not interested in stories that don’t speak to the moment. Expressing enthusiasm for this latest venture, the producer explained the type of genre that excites him:

“When David Weil first shared The Hunt with me, I immediately knew that we had to be involved. It’s cathartic. It’s noir. It’s frighteningly relevant. It’s exactly what I want to see on television. I am thrilled to be working with Amazon in bringing this incredible vision to the world.”

As was the case with Get Out, The Hunt has the potential for visualizing the rage and confusion that surrounds our daily life. How does such hatred take hold? Why does society refuse to evolve beyond it? Peele is not a creator who settles for the easy punch. Any television show he backs will certainly skewer such insidious horrors like ignorance and racism, but that moral education comes packed with rage-laced entertainment.

Society always needs to be taken to task. The moment we start patting ourselves on the back for supposed cultural progression is the moment we get slapped in the face by reality. The war is never won, and if you think one victorious battle equals triumph then you’re either blind, dumb, or both.

After premiering BlacKkKlansman (also produced by Peele) at the Cannes Film Festival, Spike Lee said that he “wanted the hate to be verbalized.” Racism is not two-dimensional. Hate is perpetrated by human beings. They live, breath, and think. To dismiss them as WWII cartoon baddies is to disrespect the truth of evil. There is a mind behind it.

The Hunt could easily be just another binge-worthy crime saga with a nostalgic period setting. Jordan Peele’s involvement suggests a higher level of thought. I love Indiana Jones. I’ll be there opening day if Spielberg ever gets the fifth film off the ground. In 2018, however, I mostly need my pop culture to simmer with purpose.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)