On September 2nd, Netflix dropped the first official trailer for Grand Army, the newest addition to their teen drama catalog. The first season is set to premiere on October 16th, according to a first-look report from Entertainment Weekly. Fans of past teen-centric Netflix originals such as Never Have I Ever, Degrassi: Next Class and On My Block will likely find a lot to love in this upcoming series.
Grand Army marks creator Katie Cappiello’s first foray into television. Her early successes came about through her involvement in the New York theater scene. Grand Army is based in part on her 2013 stage-play SLUT, which debuted as part of the New York City International Fringe Festival. Grand Army actors Amalia Yoo and Brittany Adebumola both had parts in productions of SLUT, as well as in A Day in the Life, another one of Cappiello’s plays. In an interview with AM New York Metro, Adebumola talked about her enrollment in Cappiello’s GoodCapp Arts acting school and her simultaneous participation in the Brooklyn-based extracurricular theater program Opening Act. The actress bonded with several of her Grand Army cast-mates over shared Opening Act experiences. Adebumola also shares a connection with Grand Army principal cast member Odley Jean, since they both starred in productions of Cappiello’s 2016 play Her Story, Uncut.
Directorial work for the first season of Grand Army will be handled by a blend of film industry pros — Darnell Martin (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Cadillac Records) and So Yong Kim (Lovesong, In Between Days) — and award-winning TV directors, such as Tina Mabry (Pose, Queen Sugar) and Clement Virgo (Greenleaf, The Wire).
While Netflix may have only put out the trailer yesterday, it has already stirred up controversy online. Playwright and screenwriter Ming Peiffer (Usual Girls, Finish the Fight) took to Twitter to mention that, during Grand Army‘s development phase, she and several other writers allegedly experienced extreme prejudice in the workplace, which led them to quit the show in protest.
Me and the 3 writers of color who worked on the show quit due to racist exploitation and abuse. The show runner and creator went full Karen and called Netflix hr on the Black writer in the room for getting a haircut. Yes you read that correctly. Who wants to interview us? https://t.co/tBEbk8JRqm
— Ming Peiffer (@mingpdynasty) September 2, 2020
Given the growing amount of teen dramas on Netflix and other platforms (e.g. HBO’s We Are Who We Are), no one can safely determine if Grand Army will become fall TV’s must-see teen series or get left behind in the shuffle. Much like the futures of the teenage protagonists of Grand Army, the show’s future is uncertain, but abounds with possibilities.