‘Dickinson’ Review: (Sad) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

‘Dickinson’ Review: (Sad) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
To best enjoy the new Apple TV+ series “Dickinson,” you need to disabuse yourself of the notion that it has anything to do with posthumous poetry goddess and all-around depressive Emily Dickinson. That’s the only way you’ll be able to wrap your head around the anachronistic half-hour comedy from Alena Smith, dedicated to rebranding the poet as a rebellious #teen who never met a rule she couldn’t break.

Unfortunately, the pilot episode of the half-hour comedy, “Because I could not stop,” works hard to prevent that disassociation in its audience. There are heavy-handed Dickinson references, where Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) literally meets with Death, and stanzas of her poems are scrawled across the screen as she writes. These touches emphasize the eponymous historical figure, but work at cross-purposes with making the show, well, good.

As it progresses, “Dickinson” becomes more self-assured and less dependent on the legacy of its heroine.
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