AMC, known for intense shows such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Preacher, is bringing us a new Western drama in 2017 – The Son. Based on the book of the same name by Philipp Meyer, The Son is described as a “multi-generational epic”, exploring the myth of America’s birth as a country. Set in Texas in the early 1900s, the series stars Pierce Brosnan as McCulloch patriarch Eli, alongside Henry Garrett as son Pete, and Sydney Lucas as granddaughter Jeannie.
Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives, Caprica) is the executive producer/showrunner for the series, with Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders) directing the pilot. The Son started filming in Austin in June, and now AMC has released the first few sneak peeks of the upcoming Western – with the images and videos focusing on Brosnan in particular.
The Son teasers are only 10-15 seconds long, and completely without dialogue, but they manage to pack quite a lot in. In the promo feature above, we are shown a train of Native Americans on horses, a young boy with a rifle, the three McCullochs in a truck, and Eli holding up a gold coin. The other two trailers (see below), titled ‘Smoke’ and ‘Fire’, follow similar lines, with shots of Brosnan’s Eli at the head of a band of men on horses, staring down at a burning structure, smoking a pipe, and riding up to a hanged man.
The images from The Son included below (from EW) feature Brosnan heavily, but also reveal a little of what we can expect from some of the other characters on the TV Series. That includes Zahn McClarnon as Toshaway (a Comanche war chief), Carlos Bardem as Pedro Garcia, Jess Weixler as Sally McCulloch and David Wilson Barnes as Phineas McCulloch.
This isn’t AMC’s first Western drama. The network already has Hell on Wheels and The American West to its name, as well as Preacher‘s Western flair. With this strong background in the genre and a Pulitzer-prize nominee as source material, The Son looks like a promising offering for next year. Having a big-name actor like Brosnan (best known for his stint at James Bond) in the cast should help draw viewers to this latest drama, especially as he looks fantastic in the new promo. The costuming also looks phenomenal, and something of a change from the more typical “Western” gear, with evening wear and suits and ties under the cowboy hats. This isn’t the “Wild West” – it’s the increasingly civilized West. The teasers also convey the tone of the series — there is a lot of tension and drama, something that we should expect from a show that promises to explore the rise of a family alongside America’s relationship with violence.
Although the promos are tantalizing, these are very brief glimpses into a complex show. It’s difficult to really get a handle on what we are seeing, so it may be wise to reserve judgement until a longer trailer is released. The series is also going to be dealing with some controversial topics, and will no doubt be scrutinized for its portrayal of the Comanche in particular. Although Westerns as a genre seem to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity, many recent attempts have fallen very flat, so we will have to wait and see what AMC does with this latest take on the birth of America.
The Son will air on AMC in the Spring of 2017.