HD Period Dramas Full Steam Ahead

AMC, the home of Mad Men, is tuning into period drama with a vengeance — or not such a vengeance in the case of Hell on Wheels’ third season.

It premieres next month on SoHo and is abandoning its vengeance storyline for a considerably more ambitious take on the transformation of the Old West.

According to Deadline Hollywood, new showrunner John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chroniclestold TV critics on the  Summer TV Press Tour that while he’s kept “virtually the same writing staff”, he is taking a very different approach than that of creators Joe and Tony Gayton.

“The show kicked off with revenge being the motivation. That gets wearisome for people over time.

“So we shifted gears … shifting more into an area of redemption, or as we call it, ‘reconstruction’. It’s opened the show, and made the characters more embraceable.”

AMC also revealed on the critics tour that it had commissioned two more period dramas: Halt & Catch Fire and Turn.

The latter is a revolutionary drama from Nikita’s Craig Silverstein that stars Jamie Bell as a New York farmer who, in the summer of 1778, bands together with childhood friends to form a spy ring that turns the tide in America’s fight for independence.

Halt & Catch Fire revolves around the ’80s personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time.

It stars The Hobbit’s Lee Pace, who next will be seen here in The Fall, which starts August 29 on SoHo (which is bound to pick up the new AMC commissions, too).

Meanwhile, Starz (Spartacus) has renewed the Michael Bay-produced pirate saga Black Sails six months before the first goes to air.

And the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that Steven Soderbergh will direct all 10 episodes of a new Cinemax (Strike Back) series called The Knick, which is set in the Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City, circa 1900.

The series stars Clive Owen, who will also executive produce with Soderbergh.

And HBO, for which Soderbergh made Behind the Candelabra, which is screening in the NZ International Film Festivals, will reunite with David Milch (Deadwood) for The Money.

It’s a drama about a dynastic New York media family that’s described as “a look at power, the complexity of modern urban life, in a classic Milchian voice”.

And according to Variety, next week Showtime (Dexter) will unveil Trending Down, a dark comedy about our youth-obsessed culture that stars Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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One Response to “HD Period Dramas Full Steam Ahead”

  1. Correcto mundo time; Lee Pace was in Tarsem Singh’s 2006 movie the fall but he was not in the BBC series The Fall – which I found disappointing, contrived and unsuspenseful, nothing new there.

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