It was recently announced that Netflix has ordered ten episodes of a TV series adaptation of Spike Lee’s 1986 debut feature film She’s Gotta Have It. Lee will direct all ten episodes. The age of prestige television truly allows for more fluid movement (at least behind the camera) from film to TV and back again. Spike Lee’s last few features (despite good notices for Chi-raq) have had trouble catching fire outside of the arthouse the way his earlier work has, for this reason or that. He’s certainly a polarizing figure and resistance to his work is built in to certain audiences.
Have you seen She’s Gotta Have It? It’s a very fascinating piece, both on its own and in the larger context of Lee’s filmography. There’s a beautifully bare-bones energy to it that one would expect from a debut, but it still retains Lee’s voice, vigor and artistry. It’s also has a refreshing focus on female characters in a way that even ardent fans of Lee’s work can’t argue is missing from much of his filmography.
Lee’s previous notable foray into television gave us the beautiful and vital “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” his in-depth and personal HBO documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath (if you haven’t seen it, get thee to HBO on demand as soon as possible). Spike Lee adapting his voice for television is definitely something that could yield interesting results.
“She’s Gotta Have It” is expected to premiere on Netflix next year. Will you be watching?