(NEXSTAR) — You’ve probably seen the coral-colored cover of “Lessons in Chemistry” somewhere in the past few years. Starting Oct. 13, you can see the inspiring story inside that bestselling cover as an eight-episode series on Apple TV+.
Based on Bonnie Garmus’ mega-hit 2022 novel of the same name, “Lessons in Chemistry” follows protagonist Elizabeth Zott on a journey to find her own way in a (man’s) world that continually underestimates her.
Academy Award winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Captain Marvel”) finely balances Zott’s impervious exterior — necessary to be taken seriously — with the unexpected life and career detours that come her way. The story is structured as a sort of circumstantial mystery: we first meet Elizabeth as the host of a popular 1960s cooking program before flashing back to her beginnings as a junior chemist in an all-male lab.
Along the way, she meets a celebrated but misunderstood Nobel-prize nominee (Lewis Pullman, “Top Gun: Maverick”) and his neighbor, (Aja Naomi King, “How to Get Away with Murder”), a Black mother fighting to save the neighborhood from an unjust construction project.
Helping bring Garmus’ novel to the screen is “Lessons” creator, executive producer and writer Lee Eisenberg (“The Office,” “Jury Duty”) and director Sarah Adina Smith (“Legion,” “Looking for Alaska”). Six-time Emmy Award nominee Eisenberg previously told Entertainment Weekly the “beautiful” book quickly became his favorite after he started reading from his wife’s Kindle.
One of the series’ knockout moments comes in episode 3, which is narrated from the point of view of a dog (voiced by B.J. Novak). On its face, the idea sounds destined for mockery but “Lessons” manages to weave a nuanced emotional arc centered around grief and self-doubt. If any episode of the show is going to make you weep, it’s probably this one.
Meanwhile, the series beefs up the role Harriet (King), who serves as the audience’s (and Elizabeth’s) entryway into what Black Americans were experiencing during this time. The show takes care to illustrate that while Elizabeth is fighting to be taken seriously in her career, Harriet — and women who look like her — are fighting to just be heard at all.
“Lessons in Chemistry” ultimately delivers a story for not only women but for anyone who’s had to work harder for credibility — and for anyone who’s found ways to succeed at being themselves when their first choices don’t work out.
Apple TV+ will release the first two episodes of “Lessons in Chemistry” Oct. 13 and subsequent episodes will be released weekly through Nov. 24.