The Wu-Tang Clan are taking the streaming wars to Shaolin. Hulu announced on Thursday it’s ordering Wu-Tang: An American Saga straight-to-series. The 10-episode season is set in New York City during the Nineties and follows Bob Digs’ (RZA) formation of the Staten Island group. Written and created by The RZA and Alex Tse (SuperFly, Watchmen), the show is based on the previously released books, “The Wu-Tang Manual” and “Tao of Wu.”
“I’m delighted to be partnering with Hulu and Imagine to explore the vast story of the Wuniverse. Wu-Tang through our music has always strove to inspire as we entertain,” RZA said in the statement. “This opportunity to continue the Wu-Saga in a 10-episode series will exponentially increase our inspirational style of entertainment. In the immortal words of ODB “Wu-Tang is for the Children.”
The plot summary is strategically cryptic and doesn’t share how much of the group’s career the first ten episodes cover. Will the story start with GZA, RZA, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s time in their pre-Wu group or recreate the controversial ODB interview where he cashes his welfare check in front of MTV? More importantly, can a show written by RZA give an accurate portrayal of the underlying tension that ultimately split the group apart?
In a 1997 Rolling Stone cover story about the group, Anthony DeCurtis shared a foreboding premise about the group’s finances that eventually came true.
“Each member contributes 20 percent of his earnings back to that company, and all of the members share equally in the profits, regardless of how well their individual albums sold, or whether or not they even made an album,” he wrote. “Such a share-and-share-alike arrangement might seem like a blueprint for jealousy and competition – and it may eventually prove to be.”
Ironically, in the same interview, RZA claimed the clan “can’t split up.” The show will likely gloss over these moments and those written by members like U-God, but they shouldn’t. If there is any justice in the world, Wu-Tang: An American Saga will take a long look at one of hip-hop’s greatest dysfunctional families.