Let me say upfront that Deadwood ranks as one of my all time favorite television dramas. My appreciation for that amazing show created by David Milch (NYPD Blue) definitely affected my reaction to watching the pilot for the BBC’s first original scripted drama Copper, along with the season two premiere of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at a special screening in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Both shows definitely tread similar territory as Deadwood, but neither are quite as compelling. Each does feature sexy lead stars and impressive casting along with a few twists to keep them in my viewing que.
I watched Copper, which premieres on Sunday night at 10/9 Central, first and 15 minutes in I found myself constantly comparing the show to HBO’s Deadwood. Oh no, a brothel…really. I have seen this before. But the crime drama set in New York in the 1860s comes from executive producers Barry Levison and Tom Fontana, both helmers of Homicide, one of my other all time favorite shows. I wrote about that show a lot and visited the set in Baltimore, too. (I spoke with Andre Braugher, the star of Homicide, at the ABC party as he stars in the network’s new drama Last Resort). Christina Wayne, a former AMC programmer who helped develop that networks signature hit, Mad Men, is president of Cineflix Studios, a company responsible for the production in conjuction with the BBC. So, I made myself keep watching…all this talent the show must be good.
Tom Weston-Jones as an Irish-American cop and his lover and bordello owner played by Franke Potente (The Bourne Supremacy) are an intriquing pair and the African America physican and forensics man played by Ato Essandoh (Damages) is something fresh. A plot turn at the end of the pilot involving Anastasia Griffith’s character was also most welcome. The network held a great party for the show at Cafe Bohem in West Hollywood during the summer TCA, where the cast along with Fontana were roaming around in the club/restaurant set dressed as a bordello.
AMC held a screening of Hell on Wheels at the Paley Center during TCA. I had not watched the first season of the AMC drama, but after watching the first two episodes of season two, which premiered last Sunday, August 12, I will go back and eduate myself.
The very handsome Anson Mount who plays Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, and Common as a former slave command total attention when they’re on screen but Colm Meaney is no Al Sweregen and seems quite tame in comparison. Okay, by now I know someone is saying ‘ get over it’. Although Mount’s done television, film and stage, I had no memory of those performances, but I thought he was great in ABC’s new mid-season drama, Red Widow, but he won’t be part of the series (other than the brief time he’s in the pilot).
At the afterparty at Mr. C. Hotel, Mount definitely was interested in hearing about Copper and was glad that the two shows weren’t on at the same time on Sunday. Hell on Wheels airs at 8/9 Central.
Dominique McElligott (Lily) showed up at the afterparty in a bold red dress but it was strange seeing a bald Christopher Heyerdahl who on the show sports a distinctive greasy hair do.
The amazing music from the show, created and produced by Joe and Tony Gayton and set in 1865 features contemporary music from Dead Weathers and Mumford and Sons, which played at the party and was a major hit with me. Kudos to the show’s music supervisor Linda Cohen.
AMC’s parting gift at the afterparty was a DVD of the first season, so that makes it very easy to to immerse myself into the first season of the post-Civil war series and the music.