I have always had a love for the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. F. Scott has been one of my favorite writers since high school and when I read the novel, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, I was instantly hooked on the mystery surrounding Zelda and Scott’s relationship. With that frame work set, when I found out that Amazon was producing a show based off of the novel, I knew from the start that I had to watch it.
This show is called Z: The Beginning of Everything and was created by Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, and the show did the novel complete justice. Christina Ricci plays Zelda Sayre and she is able to fully engulf the life and personality of this dynamic character. The show transports its audience back into the the lives of the Fitzegeralds, as well as, their rise to fame and the beginning of the demise. The glitz and glamour of the lives of the Fitzgeralds dazzles the audience, but it is obvious that that is not all there is to their story. Through the party scenes it is easily seen where F. Scott drew his inspiration of The Great Gatsby.
The first season focuses on the meeting of Zelda and F. Scott down in Alabama where he was working in the military and is also where Zelda grew up. They met and instantly connected and over the course of a few years of long distance corresponding the couple fell in love. Zelda then moved to New York to be with Scott and that is where the trouble starts. Because he is not able to produce another best selling novel following his first, F. Scott turns to drinking and partying. It is clear that Zelda wasn’t aware that she signed up for this lifestyle.
This show paints a different picture than the one we usually see of Zelda, and that is why I think it is so special. Many times Zelda Fitzgerald is painted as being F. Scott Fitzgerald’s crazy wife, but in actuality she was just a young girl from Alabama trying to adjust to her newfound fame and all of the troubles that came along with it. It is clear from this show that both characters had their faults and downfalls that attributed to their dynamic and volatile relationship, but neither one is to blame for their issues entirely.
The show ends on a bit of a cliffhanger where it is unsure what is going to happen to the couple next. Of course we know from history that F. Scott will go on to produce more award winning books, but it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the second season. This TV show was very well done and was able to give a real sense into what the couples lives were most likely actually like and for that reason I think it is able to engage its viewers.