It was AMC’s day at the Television Critics Association press tour, and we’ll soon have news for you about the network’s most important panel, an in-depth discussion of the third season of Hell On Wheels (or, if you’d prefer, on the upcoming final season of Breaking Bad), but the network picked up two new scripted series for the first time in its history, both period pieces that are, arguably, at the ready to replace the soon-to-depart Mad Men, just as the tightly serialized Low Winter Sun aims to replace Breaking Bad (about which more in a couple of weeks). Whether either will have the cool wit or weird poetry of Mad Men at its best remains to be seen, but at least our televisions will have more in the way of computers and Revolutionary War-era spies. We wrote a bit about the series being picked up to pilot a while back, but now you’ll actually get to see them.
“The simultaneous greenlights today are the first in network history and underscore AMC’s growth and commitment to original scripted programming,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s executive vice president of original programming, production, and digital content, in a statement we just copy-pasted from a network press release.
The two new series are:
Halt And Catch Fire: Created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers (who will almost certainly be referred to by TV reporters as “the Chrises” if the series becomes a critical favorite and runs for many seasons), Halt And Catch Fire looks at the personal computing boom of the early ‘80s, through the eyes of someone AMC describes as “a visionary.” It stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Rio Davis, Kerry Bishe, Toby Huss, and David Wilson Barnes. Its showrunner is Jonathan Lisco, who just recently completed a stint on Southland, suggesting this could be pretty good. The pilot is directed by Juan Campanella.
Turn: Set in 1778, Turn depicts the forming of the Culper Ring, George Washington’s band of farmers turned spies. (“Oh, great!” says America. “Another show about farmers turned spies!”) Based on the book Washington’s Spies, the series is created and will be run by Craig Silverstein of Nikita, who will see if his talent for kicky plot twists and fun storytelling can extend to classy cable TV. Jamie Bell plays lead character Abraham Woodhull. The rest of the cast includes Kevin McNally, Daniel Henshall, Seth Numrich, Angus MacFadyen, JJ Feild, Meegan Warner, and Heather Lind. The pilot is directed by Rupert Wyatt.