The Son follows in the tradition of sweeping television dramas set in Texas, such as Lonesome Dove.
It's big in other ways, too, with Pierce Brosnan returning to series television as Eli McCullough. In 1849, his impetuous boyhood was brutally upended after he fires on Comanche on the frontier and his family is destroyed. But viewers are assured early that he thrives beyond his hard start and has become a cut-throat businessman in 1915.
The child's story and the adult's are told at the same time in the show adapted from the novel of the same name by Philipp Meyer. Meyer co-wrote and served as an executive producer on the series.
McCullough is hard man. He sees your J.R. Ewing of Dallas and raises the stakes; there's none of that twinkle in his eye stuff with which Larry Hagman imbued Ewing.
McCullough is a haunted man, "born on the same date as the Republic of Texas." He's intent on moving away from the cattle that have made he and his family wealthy. He wants oil. The cattle business is "stagnant," says Eli. It's "stable," says his son, Pete, who still tussles with his father for control over the supposedly ceded ranch operations.
An aside: There have been worse accents, usually found in comedies, but you soon forget it until they make you remember. Brosnan explained his by telling Matt Lauer on Today that he gave himself "the grace of being an Irishman," and his character would have been second-generation American thus retaining a brogue of sorts. "I listened to Willie Nelson, I listened to Waylon Jennings, I listened to Rick Perry," he said. His imagination eventually settled on U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, because he "loved the timbre of his voice."
But, even as bandits rustle cattle and strife hits home, Eli says, "South Texas is the happiest, safest place on this green earth."
Eli's relationship with his granddaughter is heartwarming, honest and true. With the others in his household, neighborhood and employ, not so much.
There's a lot going on: Pete is obviously love-struck and is also trying to change the family reputation of perpetrating "back-country adjudication." There are matters of race and class, with the wealthy Garcia family bringing that close to home, living on the next ranch over.
Flashbacks don't come in a rush, thank goodness, nor all at once. The stories that run concurrently are dribbled out and just when you're ready for it, here comes the rewind.
Brosnan is a striking figure, whether he's Chiron in the Percy Jackson franchise, Remington Steele or James Bond. Here, he's tanned like leather and varies between stiff and pliable just like it does. I particularly like the juxtaposition of what he's wearing and how he behaves at his formal -- and tense -- birthday party.
The first six episodes of The Son were made available to reviewers. It's a good thing, as this is a series with which you have to stick. Viewers will get a running start when The Son premieres over two hours on Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m. on AMC and Sundance TV and continue through 10 episodes.
While The Son is one of the latest, Texas has always been attractive to Hollywood. Witness Flo, set in Fort Worth; King of the Hill, set in a stand-in for Garland; Walker, Texas Ranger; Friday Night Lights; and even all the time that the vampires of True Blood spent in Dallas.
There seems to be a resurgence (Tex-surgence?) on television.
Several premieres coming soon include a choose-your-poison list of Texas-set reality shows, Storage Wars: Texas and others among them. Here's a curated list of where and when you can watch events unfold, right in your backyard. As Eli says: "Here's to family and home and the most bountiful place on God's green Earth. God bless Texas."
Hap & Leonard: Mucho Mojo airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on SundanceTV. The series based on the books by East Texas author Joe R. Lansdale, follows the escapades of friends Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams). They find themselves some more trouble this season when Leonard is falsely accused of murder. Dallasite Irma P. Hall plays neighborly and motherly MeMaw this season.
From Dusk till Dawn: The Series: A Texas Ranger is hot on the heels of the Seth and Richie Gecko after the "massacre" at a club just outside the Texas border. Plans are up in the air for a fourth season of the original series for director-writer Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network, so there's time to play catch-up. Netflix
New episodes of Mann & Wife airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Bounce and The Manns airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on TV One. You read that right. David Mann and his wife, Tamela Mann, star in both a reality series and a scripted series, each airing on a different network. Scripted: Toni and Daniel Mann are married with a blended family, going through ups and downs with said family, careers and friends. Unscripted: Fort Worth natives David and Grammy winner Tamela and their children navigate the Manns' expanding music and entertainment empire while staying true to home and themselves.
Little Women: Dallas: The fights, the drama, and the love return April 12 to finish out the first season of the show that's part of the Lifetime franchise that includes LA and Atlanta.
The second season of Queen of the South premieres June 8 at 9 p.m. on USA Network. The Dallas-shot and Dallas-set series chronicles the rise of Teresa Mendoza from mourning girlfriend to drug mule to Queenpin of her own drug enterprise. It's another adaptation of Arturo Perez-Reverte's novel La Reina del Sur, which was already a big hit as a telenovela on Telemundo.
Preacher, set in a small town in West Texas, will have its Season 2 premiere Monday, June 19, at 9 p.m. on AMC. The first trailer for the new season was just released, and it shows that the crazy is still intact for preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), girlfriend Tulip (everything-nominated Ruth Negga) and vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) as they go on a road trip searching for God. Season 1 hit Hulu on April 5.
Midnight, Texas premieres July 24 at 9 p.m. on NBC. Stranger things have happened on TV, but not many. And a lot of them from the pen of Charlaine Harris, who wrote the books on which this series is based. There are Harris hallmarks: a woman in love with a vampire; an angel; a psychic to lead them all; and, despite the town's supernatural denizens, there's always big trouble. If you didn't know, you've surely guessed by now: Harris spawned True Blood. And this glides right in that lane.
The Real Housewives of Dallas: What we do know is that The Real Housewives of Dallas will return for a second season on Bravo. The network will not confirm casting, but chances are more than good that fan favorites LeeAnne Locken and Brandi Redmond will be back, along with Cary Deuber and Stephanie Hollman. Tiffany Hendra says she will be around "periodically," a point also made by LeeAnne Locken in an interview with Momcapade. The series premiered in April last year, so survey says it should return soon?
Married to Medicine: Houston premiered in November of 2016 on Bravo, joining parent Married to Medicine. It follows the lives of nursing student and doctor's wife Rachel Suliburk, Dr. Ashandra Batiste Cumby, Dr. Elly Pourasef, Dr. Erika Sato and Dr. Monica Patel.