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October 13, 2015

FX is bringing back the Western with Reconstruction

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 5th 2009 5:03PM
Peter HortonI'm all for more Westerns on television. It's a genre that lends itself well to the ongoing storytelling format that a regular TV series allows. So when I saw an article that FX was gearing up Reconstruction, a series set in the post-Civil War era of American history, I was pretty excited.

Creators Joshua Brand and Peter Horton thought it would make a good allegory for today's world, dealing with the economic crisis and even the ongoing war. "How does one heal after (a war)? How do you find your humanity again?" asked Horton. These are things the show hopes to deal with.

It centers around Jason, an East Coaster who comes back from the war changed. He finds refuge in a small town in Missour, where the saga will unfold. All of this was great, until I got to one line in the Reuters story: "Brand, the co-creator of St. Elsewhere, is writing the script for the project, which will include magical elements, with thirtysomething actor-turned-director Horton attached to take the helm." Magical elements? What?! Why?

There's no further explanation of the line, but why would it need magical elements? FX does gritty drama better than anyone, so if I can't have a Western on a premium channel (I miss you, Deadwood), I'll gladly let the folks at FX bring me on. They rarely disappoint when it comes to mature, complex and sophisticated drama.

I'm probably going to tune in anyway, but I want to know what this "magical elements" means and why someone feels it needs to be in there. If this is an allegory of our modern world, what magical elements do we have? Sure, by their standards all of our technology is magical, but are you going to have Jason whip out his trusty iPhone to check the weather?

I'm not against the idea of a Western that plays with the genre a bit, though it sure sounds like it. Now, if the elements of magic are portrayed in the same way they were a part of HBO's Carnivale, then maybe you've got something. Subtle dark mystical elements, as opposed to fairies and sorcerers and pixie dust. Leave that for Legend of the Seeker.

Maybe I'm just being crabby because Westerns are so rare these days. If they were more commonplace, I probably wouldn't mind magical elements. I loved the crime procedural with magical elements that was Pushing Daisies. I trust you, FX. Just don't let me down!

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Dave McGowan

No 'magical momemts' required. The whole reconstruction era - and in Canada the era of Confederation - is magical all by itself. Just covering what happened while creating 'characters' to cary the story is all the magic anyone needs.
It's why I write about that era in my own work; I've read all I can find and have to create my own stories.

November 06 2009 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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