Alternate histories have always been fertile ground for television. What-if plots were a staple of “The Twilight Zone” and are pretty much the whole point of “Doctor Who.” But in those two long-running series, each speculative scenario would be established, and concluded, in an episode or two. They were quick little thought experiments. In and out.
Not so with the upcoming Hulu miniseries “11/22/63,” produced by J.J. Abrams and starring James Franco. Like Amazon’s critically acclaimed “The Man in the High Castle,” which is set in a world where the Axis won World War II, the entire series is built around one big idea. Franco plays Jake Epping, a high school history teacher in present day who travels back to 1960 to prevent JFK’s assassination.
Hulu released the first teaser trailer for the series, which is based on a 2011 novel of the same name by Stephen King, today. It’s above. Though brief, it quickly explains Epping’s task and gives a few glimpses of Franco in “Mad Men”-era garb.
The staggeringly prolific Franco has been a fairly regular presence on TV in recent years, with guest spots on shows from “30 Rock” to “General Hospital,” but “11/22/63” will be his first starring TV role since “Freaks and Geeks.”