'TURN: Washington's Spies - Season One'
(Jamie Bell, Seth Numrich, Kevin McNally, et al / 3-Blu ray / NR / 2015 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Overview: A historical thriller set during the Revolutionary War, 'TURN' centers on Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island who bands together with his childhood friends to form The Culper Ring -- an unlikely team of secret agents who not only went on to help George Washington turn the tide of the war but also gave birth to modern spycraft.
Blu ray Verdict: So first and foremost, 'TURN' is an interesting theme and time period for a series. Although it is fictionalized for the soap-y through storyline, I am so totally intrigued by the real historical accuracies that after every episode I am reading the online content, researching bits! Trust me though, that was not, and stands still as not the best idea one can have; given that 'TURN' is not playing strictly by the factual rules of war!
I thought the first episode was just good enough for me to slip straight into the second one. By episode 4 though, 'TURN' had challenged 'Mr Selfridge' for the "which do I binge watch first"? By episode 8 of 'TURN', I was craving the show just that little bit more and so it was onwards and upwards with the binge mission!
Criticisms: The accents. I think the accents - which DO enrich the characters and would have been present in that era - makes the dialogue hard to understand at times, and I watch with closed captioning on at least once in order to catch all of it. The accents don't confuse the action but particularly when they use a period colloquialism, I find myself worried I missed something subtle.
Who is who: It took me five full episodes to sort out the British and in the first three episodes confused John Andre and Ben Tallmadge. None of them had enough screen time in the first four episodes for me to know who was who for whom.
CGI Backgrounds: OMG, this is the worst criticism I have, sorry! The CGI ocean ACTION scenes are so freaking bad and it cheapens an otherwise high production value. They remind me of the final ocean scenes in 'Truman.'
The Pros: So well acted, and I don't say that lightly. In the first three episodes, I thought they leaned heavily on Kevin McNally to assure the audience this was serious performance drama. None of the characters except Anna and Abe get a great amount of screen time in any one episode, so every look and every word and every action has to project a great deal of information to the viewer. I think this show is as well acted as any of my regular viewing ie: 'Downton Abbey' and 'Mr. Selfridge.'
All that said, the incorporation of the historical, the literary, and the vehicle. Very well done. The likability of the characters is high up there too, s each of these characters are not entirely likable (as themselves and what they do) and yet all are riveting. Indeed, Captain Simcoe's chilling, amazing, insane gestalt shriek is to behold! Abraham Woodhall's transformation. John Andre's perfection. Anna's broken heart over and over, and awesome latent feminism. I could go on, but I won't as YOU should now TURN to, well, 'TURN' for yourselves! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:77.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The History of TURN: WASHINGTON'S SPIES
From Art To Image