Led with solid turns by Ripper Street alum Killian Scott and Quarry vet Logan Marshall-Green, as I say in my video review above, the 10-episode first season of the Tony Tost-created period drama neither sinks nor soars. In fact, with its list of Peak TV checked boxes of anti-heroes and other tropes, there is a “been there, seen that” haze that lingers over Damnation and obscures what could be its brighter qualities.
With a lot of HBO’s Deadwood clearly as inspiration plus more than a little Sinclair Lewis and Dorothea Lange’s photographs as well, the series focuses on Scott as a revolutionary posing as a preacher and Marshall-Green as the strike buster brought in by the bosses to make sure the revolution and local labor movement doesn’t get very far. Even when you add in a few layers of class conflict, economic anger, and job losses to mechanization, Pinkertons, bad bankers and brassy women, the fact is the show never rises about the sibling rivalry at its core.
Which is a damn shame for the Netflix and Universal Cable Productions co-produced Damnation.
If that isn’t clear enough, click on my video review above for more of my take on Damnation. And tell us, will you be watching it or National Geographic’s Iraq War miniseries The Long Road Home, which also premieres tonight?