Lodge 49 — about a young knucklehead from Long Beach who joins a dusty old fraternal lodge — was one of three drama projects AMC identified in spring 2015 for potential straight-to-series orders, along with The Son and Goliath. All opened writers rooms and produced scripts. Of the three, The Son advanced to the next stage, landing a straight-to-series order, though AMC brass felt there was enough of a promise in Lodge 49 to take another stab, bringing in an experienced showrunner in Ocko and going through the process again by setting up a new writers room this past spring.
Written and created by Gavin, Lodge 49 is described as a modern fable set in Long Beach. It centers on Dud, a deadbeat but charming ex-surfer who joins a fraternal order hoping to reclaim the simple, happy lifestyle he lost when his father died. Through the Lodge and his newfound connection with the other members, Dud will come to find the missing sense of purpose in his life and confront his deepest fears and greatest hopes. Other key characters in the series include Liz Dudley, Dud’s twin sister and Ernie Fontaine, a middle-aged African American and long-time lodge member who welcomes him into this mysterious new world.
“Lodge 49 is a show that defies easy categorization,” said Joel Stillerman, President of Original Programming and Development for AMC & Sundance TV. “It is, at once, a show about a loveable loser, the idea that life can be magical if you look at it from the right angle, what it means to be on the fringe, and the importance of community. It’s also incredibly funny, poignant and truly entertaining”
Gavin, Ocko, who will continue as showrunner, executive produces with Giamatti and his producing partner Dan Carey.
“We are beyond excited to be doing this unique show under the auspices of the fine folks at AMC,” Giamatti said.
Meanwhile, the other drama that opened a writers room in early 2016 with an eye toward a possible series order, Strange Angel (fka Marvel), will not be going forward.
The direct-to-series model has become increasingly important for AMC, which has not ordered a pilot since Preacher. While Feed the Beast flamed out, straight-to-series drama Into The Badlands was a breakout and was renewed for a second season. In addition to The Son, AMC has upcoming straight-to-series drama The Terror.
Gavin, Giamatti and Carey are repped by UTA. Ocko is repped by WME.