Wu-Tang: An American Saga
GenreBiographical drama
Created by
Starring
ComposerThe RZA
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Mario Van Peebles
  • Gail Barringer
  • Michael C. Martin
  • Zak Schwartz
  • Brian Grazer
  • Francie Calfo
  • Alex Tse
  • The RZA
  • Method Man
Producers
  • James Seidman
  • Earl Davis
  • Ryan O'Nan
  • Gabe Fonseca
Running time42-59 minutes
Production companies
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkHulu
Picture format4K (Ultra HD)
Audio format5.1 surround sound
Original releaseSeptember 4, 2019 (2019-09-04) –
present (present)

Wu-Tang: An American Saga is an American biographical drama streaming television series created by The RZA and Alex Tse, which premiered on September 4, 2019, on Hulu.[1] The show portrays a fictionalized account of the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan. In January 2020, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on September 8, 2021.[2][3] In November 2021, the series was renewed for a third and final season.

Premise

Wu-Tang: An American Saga is set in New York City during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the early 1990s. It follows the Wu-Tang Clan's formation, a vision of Bobby Diggs aka The RZA (Sanders), and rise amid the dangers and excesses that came with the epidemic.[4] Seeking his own way out, Diggs turns to rap in order to carve a path to fame going against his older brother Divine (Martinez), who favored the drug trade as the means to giving their family a better life.[5] The story depicts how it all came together for the clan as Diggs unites a dozen young black men who are torn between music and crime.[6] The group battles against the forces that hold them down and these include their own occasional impulse to give up the fight.[7]

Cast

Main

Recurring

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast released
110September 4, 2019 (2019-09-04)October 23, 2019 (2019-10-23)
210September 8, 2021 (2021-09-08)October 27, 2021 (2021-10-27)

Season 1 (2019)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Can It Be All So Simple"Chris RobinsonThe RZA & Alex TseSeptember 4, 2019 (2019-09-04)
Staten island, New York. Red Top. Blue Top. The birth of Wu-Tang starts with a bang. After a drive-by on Dennis Cole, he seeks revenge. His Close Friend, Bobby Diggs, has his eyes set on an SP-1200 drum machine.
22"Winter Warz"Norberto BarbaThe RZA & Alex TseSeptember 4, 2019 (2019-09-04)
With Divine navigating politics in prison, Dennis and Bobby step up to handle his distribution responsibilities. They scrounge up enough cash to buy a kilo of crack-cocaine from one of Divine's associates, Haze.
33"All In Together Now"Darren GrantThe RZA & Alex TseSeptember 4, 2019 (2019-09-04)
The death of a friend shakes Staten Island to its core. While Dennis mourns, Bobby, Gary, and Ason reminisce. Prison becomes more complicated for Divine. Haze and Cressy plan to reunite Staten Island by hosting a rap battle.
44"All That I Got Is You"Tara Nicole WeyrRodney BarnesSeptember 11, 2019 (2019-09-11)
Bobby and Dennis find a new hustle to make some cream - taking a slice of Wall Street for themselves. Later, they make music with Shotgun and Ason, drawing influence from witty and unpredictable sources.
55"Cold World"Jet WilkinsonRyan O'NanSeptember 18, 2019 (2019-09-18)
Divine returns home from prison but nothing feels the same - especially with Bobby in “charge” of the house. When Bobby cuts a track with a Shotgun, the rift between Park Hill and Stapleton grows. Infuriated, Dennis drops a track of his own.
66"Impossible"Craig ZiskZina CamblinSeptember 25, 2019 (2019-09-25)
With debts to pay, Bobby continues his pick-ups – meeting up with friend and fellow rapper, Rebel. But short on cash and desperate, Bobby and Dennis try a new angle only to find themselves in a worse situation.
77"Box in Hand"Malcolm D. LeeChelsey LoraOctober 2, 2019 (2019-10-02)
Shotgun’s troubled past is illuminated. With the rest of the Diggs’ family moving out, Bobby and Divine must continue to hold it down. Before leaving, Jerome passes along some heartfelt advice to Divine.
88"Labels"Tara Nicole WeyrGabe FonsecaOctober 9, 2019 (2019-10-09)
Bobby embarks on his first tour with Gary and Ason and learns some harsh truths of the music business. Music might be the road to freedom but it’s paved with plenty of set-backs. Industry Rule #4,080...
99"I Declare War"Craig ZiskZak SchwartzOctober 16, 2019 (2019-10-16)
With Attila’s release from prison looming over Bobby, he must act. Dennis reevaluates his ways, drawing inspiration from ancient teachings. Shurrie realizes that there are parts of Staten Island she can’t leave behind.
1010"Assassination Day"Colin BuckseyEmily SheshOctober 23, 2019 (2019-10-23)
As a mysterious tape makes the rounds of NYC, Bobby and Dennis try to figure out how to handle Attila. Sha’s savvy pays off and Shurrie evaluates her options. The seeds of Wu Tang begin to sprout.

Season 2 (2021)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [10]
111"Little Ghetto Boys"Mario Van PeeblesThe RZA & Alex TseSeptember 8, 2021 (2021-09-08)
Bobby and Dennis have joined the Diggs family in Ohio, with Bobby seemingly having abandoned his ambitions around music and Dennis and Shurrie expecting their first child. However, things heat up when Bobby is cornered by his girlfriend's ex. Bobby defends himself and is urged by his mother to turn himself in and tell his truth.
122"Brooklyn Zoo"Craig ZiskEmily SheshSeptember 8, 2021 (2021-09-08)
Bobby goes all in on music while the rest of the Clan struggles with life in the projects.
133"Hollow Bones"Matthew RossRyan O’NanSeptember 8, 2021 (2021-09-08)
The Clan becomes disillusioned with their paths as Bobby prepares to steer them in a new direction.
144"Pioneer the Frontier"Craig ZiskZina CamblinSeptember 15, 2021 (2021-09-15)
Bobby assembles Dennis, Divine, Sha, and Power on the Staten Island ferry, asking them to squash their beef and come together as Wu-Tang Clan.
155"Visionz"Dinh ThaiZak SchwartzSeptember 22, 2021 (2021-09-22)
The group works together to build out their recording studio, while simultaneously finding their harmony as collaborators. Divine utilizes his business acumen to guide Wu-Tang's branding and entity formation. Dennis prepares for Shurrie and Infinite to arrive in New York.
166"Protect Ya Neck"Mario Van PeeblesLakshmi SundaramSeptember 29, 2021 (2021-09-29)
The Clan digs deep to make the perfect record to take the industry by storm.
177"Airwaves"Nijla Mu’minGabe FonsecaOctober 6, 2021 (2021-10-06)
With Protect Ya Neck in hand, the Clan hustles to get it on airwaves and in stores by any means necessary.
188"Saturday Nite"Rachel RaimistEarl DavisOctober 13, 2021 (2021-10-13)
The pressure is on when the Clan tells label executives to come see them perform at a legendary hip hop club on a night they aren't booked.
199"C.R.E.A.M"Dinh ThaiSolange MoralesOctober 20, 2021 (2021-10-20)
RZA is torn between long money and quick cash as the Clan struggles with financial issues.
2010"As High as Wu-Tang Gets"Mario Van PeeblesMichael C. MartinOctober 27, 2021 (2021-10-27)
The Clan makes big moves for Wu domination.

Production

Development

On October 11, 2018, it was announced that Hulu had given the production a series order consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by RZA and Alex Tse, both of whom were expected to write for the series and executive produce alongside Brian Grazer, Merrin Dungey, and Method Man. Consulting producers were set to consist of Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, and GZA as well as the estate of Ol' Dirty Bastard. Production companies were slated to include Imagine Television.[6][11][12] On January 17, 2020, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on September 8, 2021, with a three-episode release.[2][3] On November 4, 2021, Hulu renewed the series for a third and final season.[13]

Filming

Principal photography for the series commenced in February 2019 in New York City, New York.[14] Filming took place on locations in East Orange, Elmwood Park, Kearny, Newark, Paterson, Plainfield, and Secaucus in New Jersey.[15]

Release

Wu Tang: An American Saga was released internationally on Disney + Star in selected territories.

Reception

Audience viewership

According to Parrot Analytics, which looks at consumer engagement in consumer research, streaming, downloads, and on social media, Wu-Tang: An American Saga was the 10th most most in-demand United States streaming series, during the week of September 11, 2021 to September 17, 2021.[16]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds an approval rating of 74% based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 7.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "While not quite as impressive as its legendary subject matter, An American Saga is a beautifully rendered and raw exploration of the Wu-Tang journey."[17] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100 based on reviews from 4 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[18]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music RZA Nominated [19]
Golden Reel Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Short Form – Music Shie Rozow Won [20]
Online Film & Television Association Best New Theme Song in a Series Wu-Tang: An American Saga Nominated [21]
2022 Golden Reel Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Series 1 Hour – Music Sebastian Zuleta Won [22]
Golden Trailer Awards Best Music for a TV/Streaming Series Wu-Tang: An American Saga Won [23]

References

  1. ^ Beginning with season 2. Not involved with season 1. Also took over as copyright holder from Imagine Television starting with season 2.
  1. ^ "Video: New Teaser Trailer for "Wu-Tang: An American Saga"". The Futon Critic. July 3, 2019.
  2. ^ a b White, Peter (January 17, 2020). "'Dollface' & 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' Renewed For Season 2 By Hulu – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Iannucci, Rebecca (July 14, 2021). "Wu-Tang: An American Saga to Return in September for Season 2 on Hulu". TVLine. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  4. ^ Lowry, Brian (September 3, 2019). "'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' joins wave of musical bios". CNN. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  5. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (September 2, 2019). "'Wu-Tang: An American Saga': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (October 11, 2018). "Wu-Tang Drama Series Ordered By Hulu From The RZA, Alex Tse & Imagine TV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  7. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (August 28, 2019). "TV Review: 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga'". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (March 10, 2021). "'Wu-Tang: An American Saga': Uyoata Udi To Play Inspectah Deck In Hulu Drama". Deadline Hollywood.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (May 27, 2021). "La La Anthony Joins Season 2 Of Hulu's 'Wu Tang: An American Saga' As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood.
  10. ^ __website=The Futon Critic _access-date=July 16, 2019))
  11. ^ Otterson, Joe (October 11, 2018). "Wu-Tang Clan Scripted Origin Series Ordered at Hulu". Variety. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (October 11, 2018). "Wu-Tang Clan Scripted Drama Ordered to Series at Hulu". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  13. ^ White, Peter (November 4, 2021). "'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' Renewed For Third & Final Season At Hulu". Deadline.
  14. ^ Welch, Rebecca (November 7, 2018). "Bringing Wu-Tang to Life on Hulu". Backstage. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  15. ^ https://nj1015.com/8-major-projects-being-filmed-in-new-jersey/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral
  16. ^ Latchem, John (September 20, 2021). "'Titans' Regains Top Spot on Parrot's Digital Originals Chart". Media Play News. Retrieved October 29, 2022.
  17. ^ "WU-TANG: AN AMERICAN SAGA: SEASON 1". Rotten Tomatoes.
  18. ^ Wu-Tang: An American Saga, retrieved May 2, 2022
  19. ^ "See All the Winners of the 2020 Emmys". Time. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  20. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 20, 2020). "MPSE Golden Reel Awards: 'Ford V Ferrari', '1917', 'Parasite', 'The Mandalorian' Among Winners". Deadline. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  21. ^ "24th Annual TV Awards (2019-20) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  22. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 14, 2022). "Golden Reel Awards: 'Dune', 'West Side Story', 'Nightmare Alley', 'Succession' & "The Witcher' Among Winners – Full List". Deadline. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  23. ^ "GTA22 Nominees – Streaming Categories – Golden Trailer Awards". Retrieved October 23, 2022.