Adopted from Philipp Meyer’s 2013 novel, AMC’s Pierce Brosnan-starring The Son isn’t the most original of shows. However, as I say in my video review above, it is a sold move in the cabler’s continuation of making its Saturday nights all about the Western. Whether or not you’ve read the book, if you’ve been a fan of settling in on that weekend evening nearly forgotten by the TV industry and smartly claimed by the home of The Walking Dead, then you will feel right at home with the April 8-premiering series.
Traversing the early decades of Texas, the 10-episode first season is really two primary tales woven into together in time through the main character Eli McCullough. One tale is set in 1849, where a young Eli, solidly played by Jacob Lofland, sees his family killed by the Comanche and goes on to be raised among the tribe, with the nickname of “Pathetic White Boy.” The second and more interesting narrative takes place on the eve on the Mexican Revolution in 1915, ,when wealthy and ruthless landowner Eli, now portrayed by the onetime James Bond Brosnan, is trying to snare the property of the neighboring Garcia family and succeed in the burgeoning oil industry.
Yes, there are a lot of heavy and bloody clichés and American creation myths, but even when the narrative wanes it is Brosnan who holds The Son together — not only as the series’ marquee name (stepping in to replace the previously cast Sam Neill), but also as an actor comfortable with his craft and himself. Elevating an already watchable performance where he plays not exactly the nicest man you are ever going to meet, Brosnan strides and growls his way across The Son with an earned ease of form.
Add a couple of sons of Eli’s own and, perhaps most importantly thematically and for sheer talent, Tony nominee Sydney Lucas as the bearded patriarch’s granddaughter Jeannie, and you have yourself a family drama, too – which, with betrayal, is at the heart of all good Westerns. The series created by Meyers, Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy sometimes edges towards Jock, J.R. and Bobby territory, but that’s also the nature of family on the plains or small screen, isn’t it?
Click on my video review above to see more of what I think of The Son, and tell us what you think.