Hey TV.com, Should I Watch AMC's New Spy Drama Turn?


Welcome to April, also known as the month in which every TV show you love or could love is returning or premiering! April is basically one big TV buffet right now, which is both good and bad because it means you'll never be bored, but you'll also have to make some tough decisions about which shows to watch, which ones to DVR, and which ones to forget about. Which category does AMC's new historical spy drama Turn fall into? Why, I'm glad you asked! If you'll just follow me, I'll tell you all about what to expect in the next edition of Hey TV.com, What's Up With This Show?


Turn's one-word title tells me almost nothing. What's this show about? 

Turn is AMC's entrant into the burgeoning arena of TV spy dramas. Set during the Revolutionary War, it explores the birth of modern espionage as several childhood friends on Long Island come together to form the the Culper Ring, a team of spies who help George Washington in his battle against the Regulars, or Red Coats, by smuggling information. The series is based on Alexander Rose's book Washington's Spies, and the real-life Culper Ring that operated during the war and long after.


Who's doing the spying? And who's giving the orders?

Turn stars Jamie Bell (Billy Eilliot) as conflicted farmer Abraham "Abe" Woodhull. The son of a Tory judge (Kevin R. McNallyPirates of the Caribbean), Abe becomes an agent for the Patriots in an attempt to do what's right for his family—his wife Mary (Meegan Warner, the TV movie Beauty and the Beast), who he wed in an arranged marriage, and their one-year-old son. Seth Numrich (Gravity the Starz TV series, not the recent movie) is Abe's handler and long-time friend Ben Tallmadge, a Continental Dragoon in Washington’s army. Daniel Henshall (the Australian series Out of the Blue) is Caleb Brewster, another childhood friend who acts as a courier for the Culper Ring. And Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire) plays Anna Strong, Abe's true love who gets tangled up in the battle. Rounding out the cast as the enemy are Burn Gorman (Torchwood, The Hour) as Major Hewlett, Angus MacFayden (Braveheart) as mercenary Robert Rogers, JJ Feild (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Loyalist spy John André, and Samuel Roukin (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) as Captain John Graves Simcoe. Craig Silverstein (Nikita) is Turn's showrunner and he co-executive-produces the series alongside Barry Josephson (Bones). 



When does Turn take its first turn on my TV screen?

Turn debuts with a special 90-minute episode this Sunday, April 6 at 9pm; starting Sunday, April 13, it will pair with Mad Men to form a period-piece double-header. Unfortunately, that means Turn will face stiff competition from Game of Thrones on HBO, plus Believe on NBC, Resurrection on ABC, Mr. Selfridge on PBS, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Fox, and The Good Wife on CBS.


Who might enjoy Turn?

Hardcore Billy Elliot fans! Anyone who's got a thing for spies will enjoy the series, as will fans of historical drama. 


What do you spy that's good about Turn?

Actually, the best thing about Turn is probably its credit sequence, but you probably want to know more than that, right? The series looks beautiful, but it's also extremely bloody, so if you're into violence and blood splatters and bayonets making a squicky sound as they enter lifeless bodies, you'll probably love Turn. As for the plot, the series is perfectly interesting. The storylines focus as much on the characters as they do on act of spying, and the enemies are painted exactly as you might expect them to be: as Grade A jerks. Gorman and Roukin are particularly good in their roles as leaders in the King's army.



What about Turn might inspire me to turn the channel?

Turn is, as one might expect, starts off a little slow. Before any actual spying can be done, the pilot has to put in a bit of legwork to show viewers where Abe's head is at—that way, when the time comes, he can make the choice to help his friends and the Patriots in their war against the Crown. The proposition to become a spy doesn't even come until the pilot's 35-minute mark (and that's in the press screener, which means it will be even later for viewers watching with commercials).

History junkies should be aware that the series is very narrow-minded, in that it focuses almost exclusively on what's transpiring in and around New York City, which is a Loyalist stronghold. It's understandable that Turn doesn't take place all over the colonies, given that Abe is but one man, but the show also doesn't go out of its way to remind us that the Revolutionary War stretched across a much bigger territory than it depicts. 


So, should I watch it?

If you like spies and you like period dramas, I think it's definitely worth checking out.


Gimme a trailer!

Okay!


thekaitling:list:turn-will-you-watch/


Turn premieres Sunday, April 6 at 9pm on AMC.


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Apr 08, 2014

A disgraceful corruption of history. Shameful.

AMC started this "historical" series, in the opening scene no less, with a BLATANT falsehood - showing Abe Woodhull as a married man with a young son. And from there, the lies just continued.

Facts: Abraham Woodhull (1750-1826) was wedded to his wife, Mary, in the year 1781, and their children were born AFTER the war was over. He was a single man when he worked for the Culper Spy Ring in 1776, thus he had no "family" concerns to worry about.

FACTS: Anna Smith Strong (1740-1812) was 10 years older than Abe. They were never engaged, and in fact had no romantic relationship. Anna, a devoted wife to Selah Strong (1737-1815) had already been married to her loving husband for a full 16 years, and they had 3 children by 1776. Anna was never a tavern keeper, but rather the daughter of a former Judge, from an elite family.

There was never a "love triangle" between these characters. In fact, Abe Woodhull and Selah Strong were actually related. And Abe was a mere 10 year-old boy when Anna married her husband! Anna worked very hard to have her husband released after he was imprisoned - and not because he was in a barroom brawl (another lie, of many) - but after having fought in the Battle of Long Island. After he was released, Anna and Selah remained married for over 50 years.

(A simple Google search will confirm all these facts)

This is supposed to be history? These people were not fictional characters. They were REAL human beings, who lived, bled and died. They performed heroic deeds in the service of the founding of our country. To have AMC, and the producers of this show, desecrate their memory, and spit on their graves, is beyond despicable.

This is not history. This is blasphemy This is a crime against the memories of these people. This is a scandal, and it should not be allowed to be portrayed as true American History.

Shame on AMC.

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Apr 06, 2014
I'm in for the first few episodes. I love early American history.
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Apr 06, 2014
Putting a rookie series right-smack against GoT... It has to be more than good to survive.
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Apr 06, 2014
I don't know, as many people must be wondering, is Ichabod Crane in it? Because he's my favorite historical American figure, and most of what I know about the Revolutionary War I learned from Sleepy Hollow, of course. But other than that, the show looks promising and worth checking out.
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Apr 07, 2014
If you are American, please tell me you are kidding about learning about the Revolution from a fantasy show about Sleepy Hollow.
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Apr 07, 2014
I'm not American, and I don't live i the US. Also, I suppose you don't know much (or anything at all) about Brazilian Independence. Do you?

But actually I was half kidding, and I studied a thing or two in high school here and in an American high school for a few months. But a lot of what I've heard comes from movies and TV shows. The thing is we have to know facts from fiction, of course.
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Apr 07, 2014
It wasn't an attack. I was hoping (assuming) you were not American. Sadly, many people here don't know a thing about their own history.
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Apr 07, 2014
I didn't think it was an attack, don't worry. The problem with written communication like this is that we often miss the tone of the messave and sometimes miss the subtleties of cross-cultural sense of humor, as was the case with my original comment.

You're right, many people don't know enough about their own history, and, as I said, the issue is filtering fact from fiction be cause American History is constantly present in pop culture, but not always the correct way.
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Apr 06, 2014
At first I thought this could be good, but now I'll be skipping... I saw so many commercials for it just in the hour of AMC I watched a week (The Walking Dead) and by the end of this half of the season, I already couldn't stand the sight of the show..
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Apr 06, 2014
If there's anything like a hardcore Jamie Bell\Billy Elliot fan, am it!!
Jamie Bell stole my frigging heart as Billy. I've watched everything he's ever done. So sign me up for Sunday nights. :0
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Apr 06, 2014
I was on the fence about checking out the pilot but then I see Burn Gorman's name and I'm going to, at least, give the Pilot episode a chance.
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Apr 05, 2014
So where is Ichabod Crane?

Actually this looks pretty good. AMC was making what would have been a fantastic spy show in Rubicon but declined to continue it and brought us the sucktastic The Killing. So I will give them a chance despite the disappointing season of TWD and for some reason bringing in really really dumb reality tv shows.
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Apr 05, 2014
So where is Ichabod Crane?

That's what I thought as soon as I saw the concept,
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Apr 05, 2014
Is AMC only caring about whether or not these shows are period pieces?

AMC: You said it's a period piece? Like Mad Men? We'll take it.

They need to hire some new people for development. Everything that's successful was developed somewhere else. They don't seem to have a clue.
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Apr 05, 2014
I kind of hope this will be a success because AMC's success is fading fast.
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Apr 05, 2014
I was curious if they would make it a drama of manners ala BBC/PBS or totally "cable it up" with violence. Looks like they went with the latter which definitely cements the decision I made before to give this a shot.
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Apr 05, 2014
If it was on NBC,CBS or ABC I would give it a miss, but its on AMC so I will give it a chance.
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Apr 05, 2014
AMC hasn't exactly been making the best of choices lately. Hell, they have a show called Game of Arms and Low Winter Sun was terrible.
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Apr 06, 2014
I agree, but it's also got Hell on Wheels which is great.
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Apr 06, 2014
That just means they are due for a hit.
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Apr 05, 2014
I have to say this article neither inspired me to watch "Turn" or inspired me to not watch it. However, it did actually inspire me to do one thing-- never read TV.Com for information. My god the first paragraph of detailed information alone is an impenetrable maze of parenthetical lists and endless boasts of previous work done by people. I'm pretty sure that the author if they used a simple list could have given all this information in a more cogent and an accessible manner.

Also the author clearly doesn't understand that if you do a story about the Culper Ring-- you can only talk about spies working in and around New York City and Long Island. That's where the Culper Ring operated. If you did a story about the development of Atomic Weapons in WWII by the Allies-- You would most like focus on the Manhattan Project and the development of Los Alamos. You wouldn't talk about Norway or Other Places. It isn't vital to the story of Los Alamos and the American Bomb. All you need to do is put out the fact that America is worried about the German Program. So, talking about the show being narrow minded is like saying the film "A Bridge Too Far" is narrow minded because it doesn't talk about WWII events happening in the Pacific Theater! It is rather nonsensical.
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Apr 05, 2014
Any show starring Jamie Bell is certainly worth a shot! And all these nice uniforms... Hell yes, I can't wait!!
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Apr 05, 2014
Looking forward to this.
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Apr 05, 2014
I've been pretty interested in the concept & already set my DVR & everything, but you officially sold me at 'violence and blood splatters and bayonets making a squicky sound as they enter lifeless bodies'

That's some potential bonus yay right there :)
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Apr 05, 2014
I'll give it a try--always liked period pieces and history in general.
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Apr 05, 2014
Sounds awesome, I loved the John Adams miniseries and SHOOERLY AMC's due for another good show?
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Apr 05, 2014
Will there be action scenes?
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Apr 05, 2014
Dude it takes place during a war...
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Apr 06, 2014
Then, I expect a lot of action scenes then beside stealth scenes. I didn't see any from its trailer.
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Apr 06, 2014
This comment has been removed.
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Apr 05, 2014
count me in--I already planned to check it out when I had time and the following just reinforces my desire to check out this show:
"The series looks beautiful, but it's also extremely bloody, so if you're into violence and blood splatters and bayonets making a squicky sound as they enter lifeless bodies, you'll probably love Turn. As for the plot, the series is perfectly interesting."
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Apr 05, 2014
Lancelot: Well, you see, the thing is, I thought your son was a lady.

Father: I can understand that.
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Apr 05, 2014
Maybe it was those huge ... tracts of land that led to the confusion.
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Apr 06, 2014
Over Hill, Over Dale..., I thought your son was a tranny.
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Apr 05, 2014
Anyone has a video everyone could see?
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Apr 05, 2014
if you really wanted to see it, googling "turn international trailer" or something like that would be faster than waiting around for someone to post it in the meantime

Takes as much effort to ask as it does to locate

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Apr 05, 2014
It's not a cop drama, not a hospital drama, not a sci fy or about vampires. I'm in. At least for the 4 ep test. lol
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Apr 05, 2014
Probable pass for me. Sleepy Hollow more than sates my extremely meager Revolutionary War-era needs. I need that time slot to be more open anyway.

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Apr 04, 2014
I don't like AMC but they do have some good shows. So I'll tune in for the premiere. See if it's any good.
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Apr 04, 2014
If it is half as good as The Americans, I will put it on my already full plate.
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Apr 04, 2014
I'm hoping that Turn will help soothe the ache in my soul that is the nearly year-long hiatus of Sleepy Hollow - obviously there will be no supernatural shenanigans, but I'm all in for Revolutionary gentlemen!
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Apr 04, 2014
I would love to se the trailer to decide, but i'm not from US, so....
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Apr 04, 2014
This show looks so boring to me... :S
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Apr 04, 2014
I'm a Jamie Bell fan so yes, I'll be watching. I want to cry a little though because I have so much to watch as it is.

GOT
Mad Men
Believe
Resurrection - though I'm losing interest and I'll probably cut it.
Shameless
Continuum
Bob's Burgers
American Dad!
And plenty of other stuff that's not on Sundays.

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Apr 05, 2014
Luckily, the season finale of Shameless is this sunday. So that's one less show on our plates.
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Apr 06, 2014
But Turn is debuting this weekend. Ha !
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Apr 04, 2014
I prefer Resurrection (last episode was not that good) over Believe. Believe only have the cute kid to motivate me.
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Apr 04, 2014
Never seen "Billy Elliot"

Networks are one-upping each other with Spy Dramas (or any premises in general) in throwback settings. History wasn't my strongest subject, but still found the Revolutionary period to be rather mundane.

Glad AMC is greenlighting more scripted dramas instead of the crappy reality tv they air (except for Comic Book Men, that ish is awesome).

Will I watch it or even DVR it? Nope.
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Apr 05, 2014
Don't worry about Billy Elliott, you're lucky to have avoided it.
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Apr 04, 2014
I can't believe you've never seen a movie about a dancing boy!
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Apr 04, 2014
Hey! It sat on my Netflix Instant queue for a while. Now it's no longer available. Shows I had some interest.
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Apr 07, 2014
I'd rather think of Jamie Bell as the "Jumper" we wanted to see on screen, not squeamish about dropping bodies in the Atlantic unlike Hayden Christiwahtever
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