Shonda Rhimes Is Developing a Netflix Series Set in 1840s When California Was Part of Mexico

Lead Photo: Old map of continental North American. iStock / Getty Images Plus
Old map of continental North American. iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Netflix may not be able to give Shonda Rhimes a snappy timeslot title like TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday), but it looks like the producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder will do just fine. After signing an overall deal with the streaming service, Rhimes is finally announcing what her production company, Shondaland, has been working on. Among the eight series announced are an adaptation of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, a documentary on the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and The Warmth of Other Suns, which will track the decades-long migration of African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970. “I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement,” said Rhimes. She called the slew of shows she’s developing for Netflix “Shondaland 2.0.”

But the Shondaland 2.0 show we’re most excited about is Pico & Sepulveda. Don’t let its title fool you. While it may take place in Los Angeles, the show is going to be a period piece set in the 1840s, back when California was still a Mexican state. Furthermore, the description suggests we’re getting a historical tale that’ll feel impossibly timely as “the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own.” Set against the Mexican-American War, we’re hoping Pico & Sepulveda might show us a messy and oft-forgotten part of American expansionist history. Janet Leahy, who most recently worked on one of the most successful period shows of the 21st century, Mad Men, will be creating the show. No word yet on casting but given Rhimes’ penchant for uplifting minority artists we can’t wait to see who gets to shine in this very different take on the wild west.