Lessons in Chemistry

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Lessons in Chemistry
GenreHistorical drama
Based onLessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus
Developed byLee Eisenberg
Directed by
Starring
Theme music composerCarlos Rafael Rivera[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
Cinematography
  • Zachary Galler
  • Jason Oldak
Editors
  • Matthew James Barbato
  • Jack Cunningham
  • Geraud Brisson
  • Daniel Martens
  • Laura Zempel
  • Lily Wild
Running time41–50 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkApple TV+
ReleaseOctober 13 (2023-10-13) –
November 22, 2023 (2023-11-22)

Lessons in Chemistry is an American historical drama miniseries developed by Lee Eisenberg, based on the novel of the same name by Bonnie Garmus. It stars Brie Larson as chemist Elizabeth Zott who begins hosting her own feminist cooking show in 1960s America.

The series began streaming on Apple TV+ on October 13, 2023 and ended November 22, 2023.[2] It received positive reviews from critics, and received nominations for two Golden Globe Awards, Best Limited or Anthology Series and Best Actress – Miniseries for Larson.[3] In 2024 Sarah Adina Smith won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Limited Series for directing the episode "Her and Him".[4]

Premise[edit]

After being fired from her job as a lab tech, chemist Elizabeth Zott uses her new job hosting a 1960s television cooking show titled Supper at Six to educate housewives on scientific topics.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Guest[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
1"Little Miss Hastings"Sarah Adina SmithLee EisenbergOctober 13, 2023 (2023-10-13)
Elizabeth Zott, a lab technician at the Hastings Research Institute, is disallowed by her superiors from developing her own research projects due to her gender and lack of a PhD. Elizabeth also applies her passion for chemistry to her cooking. After being forced to enter a workplace beauty pageant, she befriends Dr. Calvin Evans, the institute's star researcher. He agrees to transfer her to his laboratory so she can conduct her abiogenesis research independently, but she shuns him when he inadvertently reminds her of a past assault. Seven years later, Elizabeth has become the famous host of a chemistry-based cooking show, Supper at Six.
2"Her and Him"Sarah Adina SmithElissa KarasikOctober 13, 2023 (2023-10-13)
Flashbacks reveal that Elizabeth's thesis adviser had raped her during her doctoral candidacy exams. Elizabeth adopts a dog and names him Six Thirty. Their supervisor, Dr. Donatti, threatens Elizabeth with layoffs if Calvin's research does not qualify for a prestigious grant. Calvin's neighbor Harriet invites him to a meeting to try and stop the Santa Monica Freeway from being built through Sugar Hill. However, Calvin is distracted by his reconciliation, research progress, and developing romance with Elizabeth, who agrees to move in with him. Though the Hastings higher-ups (who believe amino acids, not DNA, are the foundations of life) reject their grant proposal, Calvin and Elizabeth decide to submit on their own. While on a run with Six Thirty, Calvin is fatally hit by a bus.
3"Living Dead Things"Bert & BertieLee Eisenberg & Emily FoxOctober 20, 2023 (2023-10-20)
Six Thirty's narration reveals his past as a former military dog and his guilt at Calvin's death. At the funeral, a grief-stricken Elizabeth is questioned by a journalist for the LA Times. Elizabeth returns to Hastings to find their lab emptied and their research in storage; Donatti attempts to recreate Calvin and Elizabeth's experiments and claim the research as his. To the dog's delight, Elizabeth realizes she is pregnant. Intending to continue her research, she begins to build a laboratory in her kitchen. Elizabeth also befriends Harriet over their shared grief at Calvin's death. Harriet fails to change the posthumous smear piece on Calvin, but the Times runs a story about her activism against the freeway. Donatti attempts to fire Elizabeth for being unwed and pregnant.
4"Primitive Instinct"Bert & BertieElissa KarasikOctober 27, 2023 (2023-10-27)
Elizabeth gives birth to a daughter, whom she names Mad. Still struggling with the loss of Calvin, she eventually finds emotional support in Harriet. For income, Elizabeth secretly serves as a consultant for fellow chemists facing research difficulties. She learns of Boryweitz and Donatti's theft of her and Calvin's research. She procures equipment for her kitchen-laboratory by impersonating Fran. Harriet's husband Charlie returns from the Korean War. She expresses her desire to continue her law career. Elizabeth is invited to row with Dr. Mason's group. Seven years later, Elizabeth learns that Amanda, an ostracized student, has been eating Madeline's lunches. The girls have been tasked with creating a family tree. Elizabeth confronts Amanda's father Walter, a television producer who offers Elizabeth a show of her own.
5"CH3COOH"Millicent SheltonLee Eisenberg & Emily FoxNovember 3, 2023 (2023-11-03)
Mad begins work on her family tree, while Elizabeth works towards a job offer at another laboratory. Mad's teacher advises Elizabeth to move Mad to an advanced private school, and the cost leads Elizabeth to accept Walter's offer. Elizabeth and Walter butt heads with the sexist station owner, Phil, as she tries to make the show her own; ultimately, Supper at Six is a hit with the female audience. Mad, upset with the new status quo, starts looking into Calvin's past with the assistance of Reverend Wakely.
6"Poirot"Millicent SheltonBonnie Garmus, Lee Eisenberg, Elissa KarasikNovember 10, 2023 (2023-11-10)
Flashbacks reveal that Elizabeth's father was a preacher who faked miracles; his abuse and homophobia eventually drove her gay brother John to suicide. Mad continues looking for information on Calvin. Elizabeth invites Fran to a taping and hires her as chief of staff. Inspired by the burgeoning civil rights movement, Harriet organizes a protest along the freeway. Elizabeth initially caves to Phil's attempts at product placement after he leverages the pay of her crew, but after a talk with Harriet, Elizabeth invites her audience to the protest and pays the crew over the course of the suspension out of her own pocket. At the protest, the police brutalize protesters and arrest Harriet. Elizabeth finally discusses John and Calvin with Mad.
7"Book of Calvin"Tara MieleElissa KarasikNovember 17, 2023 (2023-11-17)
In flashbacks, a young Calvin honed his chemistry skills producing prayer candles and moonshine for the St. Luke's boys' home, and the bishop prevented his adoption. Calvin was consistently uncomfortable with people claiming to be related to him after he became famous. He also became pen pals with Wakely after the latter attended a guest lecture and discussed science, religion, and eventually his relationship with Elizabeth with him. When Mad and Elizabeth visit St. Luke's, the bishop feigns ignorance of Calvin, but they find a library card with his name on it. The book was donated by the head of the Remsen Foundation.
8"Introduction to Chemistry"Tara MieleLee EisenbergNovember 22, 2023 (2023-11-22)
Elizabeth is tasked with finding a replacement sponsor for Supper at Six. She meets with Avery Parker, Calvin's biological mother, who explains that she was forced to give Calvin away at birth. She had unsuccessfully tried to adopt him and resorted to supporting him through the Remsen Foundation. Mad tells Elizabeth to continue doing science. Elizabeth selects Tampax as a sponsor, discussing menstruation on air, and quits the show on live TV. To Harriet's despair, the motion to build the freeway passes. Three years later, Elizabeth teaches an Introduction to Chemistry class as she pursues her PhD.

Production[edit]

It was announced in January 2021 that Apple TV+ had issued a straight-to-series order for the show, with Brie Larson set to star and executive produce.[5] The series began production by August 2022, with Lewis Pullman, Aja Naomi King, Stephanie Koenig, Patrick Walker, Thomas Mann, Kevin Sussman and Beau Bridges added to the cast.[6]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 84% approval rating with an average rating of 7.4/10, based on 63 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Touching on several hot button issues while benefitting immensely from a perfect pinch of Brie Larson, Lessons in Chemistry's ambitious ingredients add up to satisfying entertainment."[7] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[8]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2023
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best TV Series Lessons in Chemistry Won [9]
2024
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Limited Series Géraud Brisson and Daniel Martens (for "Introduction to Chemistry") Nominated [10]
American Society of Cinematographers Awards Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television Jason Oldak (for "Book of Calvin") Nominated [11]
Art Directors Guild Awards Excellence in Production Design for a Television Movie or Limited Series Cat Smith Nominated [12]
Critics Choice Awards Best Limited Series Lessons in Chemistry Nominated [13]
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Brie Larson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Lewis Pullman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Aja Naomi King Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or Movies for Television Millicent Shelton (for "Poirot") Nominated [14]
Sarah Adina Smith (for "Her and Him") Won
Tara Miele (for "Introduction to Chemistry") Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television Lessons in Chemistry Nominated [15]
Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or a Motion Picture Made for Television Brie Larson Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series Lewis Pullman Nominated [16]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Period and/or Character Make-Up Miho Suzuki Herpich, Martina Kohl Nominated [17]
Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling Teressa Hill, Carol Mitchell, Juan Nunez, Sharisse Fine Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Aja Naomi King Nominated [18]
Producers Guild of America Awards Best Limited Series Television Lessons in Chemistry Nominated [19]
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Miniseries, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television Brie Larson Nominated [20]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Brie Larson Nominated [21]
Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards Outstanding Original Score for a Television Production Carlos Rafael Rivera Nominated [22]
Outstanding Original Title Sequence for a Television Production Carlos Rafael Rivera Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Limited Series Victoria Bata, Lee Eisenberg, Hannah Fidell, Emily Jane Fox, Susannah Grant, Rosa Handelman, Elissa Karasik, Boo Killebrew, Mfoniso Udofia Nominated [23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carlos Rafael Rivera Scoring AMC's 'Monsieur Spade' & Apple TV+'s 'Lessons in Chemistry'". Retrieved September 17, 2023.
  2. ^ Petski, Denise (May 31, 2023). "'Lessons In Chemistry': Brie Larson's Apple TV+ Series Gets Premiere Date". Deadline. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  3. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 11, 2023). "Golden Globe Nominations: 'Barbie', 'Oppenheimer' Top Movie List; 'Succession' Leads Way In TV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 11, 2023.
  4. ^ Chuba, Hilary Lewis,Tyler Coates,Kirsten; Lewis, Hilary; Coates, Tyler; Chuba, Kirsten (February 11, 2024). "DGA Awards: Winners List (Updating Live)". The Hollywood Reporter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 22, 2021). "Brie Larson To Star In Lessons In Chemistry Apple TV+ Series From Susannah Grant & Aggregate Films". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  6. ^ Petski, Denise (August 12, 2022). "Lessons In Chemistry: Brie Larson's Apple Series Adds Seven To Cast Including Lewis Pullman, Beau Bridges, Ana Naomi King, Kevin Sussman". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Lessons in Chemistry: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  8. ^ "Lessons in Chemistry: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  9. ^ Anderson, Erik (December 18, 2023). "Women Film Critics Circle (WFCC): 'Barbie,' 'Nyad,' 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' 'Past Lives' Win Big". AwardsWatch. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  10. ^ Pond, Steve (January 25, 2024). "ACE Eddie Awards 2024: The Complete List of Nominees". TheWrap. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  11. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (January 11, 2024). "Oppenheimer, Maestro, Killers of the Flower Moon Among Nominees for American Society of Cinematographers Awards". Variety. Archived from the original on January 11, 2024. Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  12. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (January 9, 2024). "Saltburn, Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon Lead Art Directors Guild 2024 Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  13. ^ Pedersen, Erik (December 5, 2023). "The Morning Show & Succession Lead Critics Choice Awards TV Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 6, 2023.
  14. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (January 10, 2024). "Christopher Nolan Continues Momentum with Directors Guild Nomination". The New York Times. ISSN 1553-8095. Archived from the original on January 10, 2024. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  15. ^ Lang, Brent; Shanfeld, Ethan (December 11, 2023). "Golden Globes 2024: Full Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved December 12, 2023.
  16. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (February 25, 2024). "Spirit Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  17. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 2024 Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards". PR Newswire. January 2, 2024. Retrieved January 2, 2024.
  18. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 25, 2024). "Colman Domingo, Keke Palmer, Ayo Edebiri, Victoria Monét Lead NAACP Image Awards Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  19. ^ Chuba, Kirsten; Nordyke, Kimberly (February 25, 2024). "PGA Awards: Oppenheimer Takes Top Film Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  20. ^ "IPA Reveals Nominations for the 28th Satellite™ Awards". The International Press Academy. December 18, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  21. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (February 24, 2024). "SAG Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  22. ^ "Nominees Announced for 5th Annual SCL Awards". The Society of Composers & Lyricists. December 21, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  23. ^ Lewis, Hilary (February 21, 2024). "WGA Awards: 'Air,' 'Barbie,' 'Oppenheimer,' 'May December' Among Film Screenplay Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2024.

External links[edit]