Apple is adding to its impressive oeuvre of forthcoming original titles with a series order of a Pachinko TV series based on Min Jin Lee‘s bestselling novel of the same name. The multigenerational saga of a Korean family that migrates to Japan in the 20th century is a moving, sprawling dramatic epic that already piques interest because of its unique focus on the Korean immigrant experience in Japan. But throw The Terror co-showrunner Soo Hugh‘s name in there, and you’ve got our attention.
Deadline broke the news that Apple has given a series order to Hugh’s adaptation of Pachinko, from studio Media Res. Hugh will be writing and executive producing the series, as well as acting as showrunner. The ambitious show will chronicle the story of four generations of a Korean family that is equal turns tragic, inspiring, and enthralling. Told in three languages — Korean, Japanese, and English — the story starts with a forbidden romance that has devastating consequences which ripple out for decades.
Here is the synopsis of the Pachinko novel:
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.
At this point, Apple is unfairly hoarding all the good stories and good talent. Soo Hugh’s work on The Terror earned her and co-showrunner David Kajganich acclaim, with many critics naming the AMC horror drama anthology television one of the best shows of 2018. Her TV accolades don’t stop there — Hugh has also worked on The Killing and Under the Dome.
I can’t wait to see Hugh tackle an adaptation of Pachinko, a fantastically engrossing novel that tells several intertwining stories across seven decades. Lee’s beautiful prose and rich characters aside, the story gives a relatively unseen perspective of the Korean immigrant experience in Japan, where the Korean characters faced as much, and perhaps more, racism and discrimination as we’ve seen in stories set in the U.S. It’s an ambitious (and expensive) story to bring to the small screen, but it will be incredible to see the trilingual, multigenerational novel brought to life.
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