AMC has been known for the past decade or so as being one of the gutsiest channels on television. Having seemingly lucked into both Breaking Bad and Mad Men, AMC has taken massive risks over the past decade that have paid off in spectacular ways. Many haven’t paid off, including such projects as Low Winter Sun, but so far many of them have panned out. The Walking Dead may be sporadic in quality but it’s a ratings juggernaut. One of the riskier projects they’ve taken has been Turn.
A historical fiction piece about the first spies in American history, George Washington’s spy rings are one of the untold stories of history. Turn focuses on Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) and the Culper Spy Ring. Taking some advantages with history, of course, the series follows the real life spy vs. spy type of warfare of Woodhull and his compatriots during the Revolutionary War.
It’s certainly a different type of feature as the show focuses on the world of espionage in an era before fancy gadgets and phones. Turn is a different perspective on the nature of spies because it’s from an era where the craft of counterintelligence wasn’t about gadgets but about what the eyes could actually see. From that perspective it’s incredibly fascinating as we get to see the beginnings of espionage and counterintelligence in America.
This season focuses on the darkest days of the American Revolution, after the fall of Philadelphia. This is where the Culper Spy Ring would wind up doing their most important work of the war in a pivotal moment in the earliest days of America. It’s a fascinating moment in history and the only downside to it is that it has to be condensed for television purposes.
If this was 20 something episodes per season you’d be able to fully look into a genuinely interesting moment in time. As such Turn feels short-changed; this a good introduction to the period and subject but no where the definitive take on it.
A couple EPK pieces and nothing of note is included.
Anchor Bay presents Turn: Washington’s Spies (Season 2). Starring Jamie Bell. Run Time: 438 minutes Released on DVD: 3.22.16
Tags: Jamie Bell, Turn, Turn: Washington's Spies