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SeriesFest ’21: ‘The Republic of Sarah’ shows the birth of a nation

The cast of The Republic of Sarah dish on the new CW drama at SeriesFest.

SeriesFest is an annual event that showcases and empowers artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling. Like last year, the current festival is being held virtually and provides creators, industry, and fans innovative independent content. One of the shows spotlighted is the new CW drama, The Republic of Sarah.

SeriesFest had the first three episodes available to screen as well as a panel with the cast discussing their thoughts and experiences. The Republic of Sarah seems like a good fit for the network following the lives of teens and young adults and their personal relationships and dramas.

However, it is all done in the backdrop of a small New Hampshire town where a vein of highly valuable minerals is discovered. Instead of succumbing to the pressures of state government and big business to harvest the resources and exploit the town, they decide to declare themselves an independent nation through a historical loophole and face the burden of starting a new country.

The appointed leader is high school teacher, Sarah Cooper (Stella Baker) and she has a complicated connection to the company’s lawyer, Danny Cooper (Luke Mitchell). They are estranged siblings who are reunited after six years of silence. In addition, there are other subplots occurring with the various town denizens. Because of the nation building, it seems as though there are multiple history and civics lessons although the situations and solutions can be a bit outlandish.

The Republic of Sarah 2
Photo: SeriesFest

During the panel, cast members Baker, Mitchell, Hope Lauren, Nia Holloway, Ian Duff, Forrest Goodluck, Landry Bender, Izabella Alvarez and Megan Follows zoomed in. Some noteworthy tidbits revealed during the discussion include Danny and Duff’s Grover growing bond with seeds of their relationship planted early on. Grover is one of the few people that can give the truth to Danny without making him angry. He also sees Sarah’s brother in a different light than the other people of town. It will be an interesting journey between the two over the course of the season.

One of the main driving forces of The Republic of Sarah is the interactions between the titular character and her sibling. It will be comprised of peaks and valleys with times they become close followed by something that disrupts the progress causing both to go to places of defensiveness. Mitchell mentioned how they have an innate bond but there’s a disconnect. As they work more together professionally, more of their personal sense is uncovered.   

Sarah’s students also play a significant role and they are more passionate with their boots on the ground protesting. They seem very worldly and smart for teenagers. Alvarez’s character, Maya, moves to the town from Los Angeles and is forced to live with her gay father. She has a hard time adjusting but through her friendship with Bender’s Bella and Goodluck’s Tyler, she becomes more comfortable. You can actually see Maya’s progression because as the show goes on, her look starts to relax.

Through the aired episodes, The Republic of Sarah has already covered obtaining electricity for a newly created country and border disputes. Later in the season, we’ll see other issues including climate change and determining the legal age of adults. We also learned that Follows will direct an episode. Overall, it was an informative panel that showed a more personal side to the talent.

SeriesFest is taking place from now until July 11. The Republic of Sarah airs Tuesday nights on The CW.

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