Sunday, April 6, 2014

Knickers Up! "Turn" Premieres on AMC Tonight

In terms of screen-worthy American history, the Revolutionary War has always gotten short shrift.  It's neither as easy to relate to as World War II (at least until all the actual veterans of that war have passed away, which will be not too far in the future), nor as ruggedly costumed as the Winning of the West (with its long sexy duster coats and cowboy boots), nor as we-will-not-forget-able as the Civil War (watch the
Confederate flags still waving in the South even today).  The problem with the American Revolution is mostly sartorial, I think.  It's those knickers, those long white socks that turn every man's lower gams into those of a prima ballerina.  It's just a too-girly look that, along with the big-buckled shoes, often puts the kibosh on the kind of engagement that leads to abiding TV viewer love.  (Explaining also, perhaps, the lack of successful movies about old-time golfers who were also partial to knickers...).

Despite a succession of actors taking on the role of George Washington over the years, most famously Barry Bostwick's turn as the Father of Our Country in two separate miniseries, it's not been enough to overcome the panic that sets in when audiences spy a powdered wig -- or is that Whig? -- and those fancy stockings.  Most recently David Morse did a wonderful job as Washington in HBO's John Adams miniseries from 2008, and Kelsey Grammer was our #1 President in a TV Movie for A&E back in 2003 entitled Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor with Aidan Quinn as Arnold, and Jeff Daniels crossed the Delaware in another A&E original The Crossing from 2000.

 Further back, there was a brief flurry of Revolutionary ardor when the ad hoc network of stations comprising Operation Prime Time enjoyed great success beginning in 1978 in with their adaptations of John Jakes' lusty historical adventure novels The Bastard, The Rebels and The Seekers.  It took generous servings of bosoms in tight bodices to appease the anti-knickers crowd, but it worked like crazy and OPT changed the face of TV forever, demonstrating that local stations could challenge and would eventually topple the dominance of the Big Three networks.  Talk about a Revolution!

Hoping to avoid the knicker jinx, AMC, on the heels of its amazing successes with Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, picks up the fife and drums and marches bravely back to the late 18th Century with Turn, premiering tonight at 9pm.  Turn tells the story of the intrepid colonists who were enlisted into dangerous duty as America's first counter agents, risking their lives to spy on the British forces.  Starring Jamie Bell, Stephen McNally, Angus MacFayden, Seth Numrich and Burn Gorham (so great in Torchwood!), Turn could put the oomph back into red coats and breeches.  

Of course, The Flaming Nose TV Blog will always love the Revolutionary longhairs from ABC's circa-1970 short-lived series The Young Rebels, as we explained here several years ago.

Don't miss Turn beginning tonight on AMC and check out their official website here.  

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