"Mercifully, the new Showtime miniseries The Good Lord Bird, a reimagining of the militant abolitionist John Brown’s doomed ride to Harpers Ferry, is not 'woke,'" says Doreen St. Felix. "Instead, it has an impish spirit of contrivance that is largely missing from contemporary antebellum historical fictions." Felix adds: "Credit for the series’ mischief is due to James McBride, whose 2013 novel of the same name has been adapted with deep, sometimes stubborn fidelity by Mark Richard and Hawke, who are both, along with McBride, executive producers on the show. The novel is an idiosyncratic critique of history-making, an account of the prelude to emancipation told from the point of view of an eccentric, elderly man who likes to wear dresses. Henry (the Onion) Shackleford, born into slavery, recounts how, as a child, he came under the wing of the 'old coot' John Brown and his ragtag army as they planned to take over a strategic U.S. military arsenal to hasten the holy war on the peculiar institution. McBride’s fictive Black witness allows him to rewrite Brown’s final, righteous exertions as tragicomedy." ALSO: John Brown is the hero we need right now.