Genius: Aretha is an origin story in two parts. The Hulu series is split between two stories: a young Aretha coming into fame while balancing family and an older Aretha coming into her own sound while moving from gospel to pop music.

The result is an ambitious portrait of a legend which traces her genesis as an artist from her childhood to the peak of her career. While some elements of the series shine, especially Cynthia Erivo — whose acting performance and almost effortless renditions of Aretha songs anchor the show — at other points, it stumbles.

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Posted in: Pop
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