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AMC and Sundance Channel Unveil New Drama Series at TV Critics Panel, ‘Rectify’ and ‘Returned’ Are Back

AMC and Sundance Channel Unveil New Drama Series at TV Critics Panel, 'Rectify' and 'Returned' Are Back

With two of its signature shows becoming past tense, AMC is
reaching even deeper into the past to stake out its future, presenting “Turn,”
a high tension spy thriller set in the American Revolutionary War, as its
newest scripted offering, set to debut Sunday, April 7.  Meanwhile, “Mad Men” will return
one week later, on April 13, with the first of seven episodes in the “first
half” of its final season, and “Better Call Saul,” a spin-off from
the channel’s now concluded “Breaking Bad,” will premiere in
November, AMC president Charlie Collier announced Saturday morning on
day three of the winter session of the Television Critics Association (TCA)
press tour in Pasadena.

“Turn” stars Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliott”)
in what AMC is calling a character-driven thriller about the untold story of
America’s first spy ring, which came to light in the recent book “Washington’s
Spies,” by Alexander Rose. “General Washington was getting his ass
kicked by the sophisticated espionage of the British Army,” said exec
producer Barry Josephson.  Help emerged
in the form of the Culper Ring, a grassroots group of double-agents formed by a
group of childhood friends.  “In a
way it’s the first American spy story,” said exec producer and showrunner
Craig Silverstein.  “They worked out
much of the modern craft by necessity, through trial and error.” Based on
the clips, the beautifully shot series, which spans ten episodes in its first
season, covering eight years of the war, appears to do a vibrantly effective
job of capturing the high tension and grave stakes of that dangerous

AMC also screened footage from another, more contemporary
period piece that will debut in the summer.  “Halt and Catch Fire,” set in the
early 1980s, captures the race by engineers and entrepreneurs to come out ahead
during the revolution spawned by the rise of the personal computer (it joins
HBO’s new comedy “Silicon Valley” in mining the tech sector for

“Everyone wants to know how we’re going to replace “Breaking
Bad” and “Mad Men” — we’re not,” said Collier.  “We’re going to continue in our goal of
developing eclectic premium content for basic cable,” he said, noting that
“some of the most audacious creative talents out there are now bringing
their projects to us first.”

Yet another new series with crossover elements from the
feature film world was presented — “The Red Road,” developed by AMC
sister network The Sundance Channel as its second wholly owned original, after “Rectify.”   Feature film director James Grey helmed the
pilot for the series, introed by Sundance Channel president Sarah Barnett as a “gripping,
multi-level thriller that presents two distinct visions of America today as
played out in the conflict between two wildly different men.”  Jason Momoa and Martin Henderson portray
those men — a Native American ex-con and a sheriff who are residents of the
Ramopo Mountains, a rural area outside New York City.  Also starring are Julianne Nicholson (“August:
Osage County”), as the sheriff’s schizophrenic wife, and Tamarie Tunie.  The series premieres Feb 27 on The Sundance

“The line is continually
blurred between the good guys and the bad guys in this,” said
Henderson.  “That’s what makes it
interesting to play.”  The series’
creator and writer Aaron Guzikowski, who also penned the theatrical thriller “Prisoners,”
described his attraction to life’s menacing underside. “For some reason
darkness feels comfortable to me — there’s something beautiful about it,”
he said.  “It’s an escape from the
banalities that really do drag me down.” The series was originally
developed at HBO, said its exec producer Bridget Carpenter.

Rectify,” the Sundance original that became one
of the most critically admired shows of 2013, is returning for a second season
that begins shooting in Georgia in coming weeks, Barnett said.   The new season will explore the effect
ex-con Daniel Holden’s presence is having on the others in his life, said
producer Mark Johnson.  Asked how it
might differ from the very slow, deliberate pace of season one, which traced,
one by one, Holden’s first seven days out of prison, creator Ray McKinnon joked
“now we’re doing half-days.” 
Actually, he confessed, that device will be left behind. 

The French vampire series “The Returned” will also
come back for a second season on the Sundance Channel, said Burnett, as will “The
Writers Room
,” in which screenwriter and actor Jim Rash (“The Way Way
Back”) interviews the creative staffs of top television shows.

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