‘Confederate’ TV Show: Commence the Triggering

This just in:

The end of “Game of Thrones” is on the horizon, but creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have already mapped out their next plan at HBO for when they officially depart Westeros.

HBO has given a series order to “Confederate,” a new drama that hails from Benioff and Weiss, Variety has learned. The show has no ties to “Game of Thrones” and is not one of the many potential prequels in development at the network.

“Confederate” chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.

Production on “Confederate” will begin after the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

One the one hand, as a big fan of alternate history literature, I would like to see a show that takes on the South winning the Civil War.  It’s an issue that’s been done many times in books.  Writer and historian Harry Turtledove has written an entire series of books, the “Southern Victory” series that goes from the end of a southern victory in the Civil War to the end of an alternate World War II. So it could be fascinating.

But on the other hand…

There has been an incredible backlash on social media.

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss say they were prepared for the backlash that greeted Wednesday’s announcement of their next TV project, HBO’s alternate-timeline drama Confederate, which imagines slavery as a modern-day institution.

I don’t believe that for a second.  I think they were genuinely caught by surprise.  Because of course, no matter how good a Social Justice Warrior you are, there is always someone further to the left who will be more than happy to institute a pogrom.  After all, we live in the era of #Dunkirksowhite.

So I don’t think the same premium network that took a medieval fantasy like Game of Thrones and made it into a girl power story of breaking the dragonglass ceiling and thinks Lena Dunham nudity is empowering is going to push ahead with a show that their peers oppose as a concept.  Sure, if the Duck Dynasty guys came out in opposition to this show, that might turn things around, but I think the desire to stay on the left side of the twitterverse will strangle this show in the cradle.

And that’s a shame, because this show could have, as they say, started a conversation.  Not a good one maybe, but since plenty on the left want to kick the South out of the union right now, it might be interesting to see what the world would have looked like if they had gotten their wish.

 

 

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Actually Excited About ‘The Last Ship’

Mild spoilers…

With the wave of new shows coming out for the summer, in general I’m somewhat “blah” about the new prospects.  It takes a lot to get my anticipation of a new or returning show up these days.  It has to be on the order of The Walking Dead.  In fact, it pretty much has to be The Walking Dead.  Television just isn’t doing it for me as much anymore. Even if the show concepts are good, the execution usually stumbles.  Defiance came back for season two.  It’s on my DVR.  It was just in the OK category. A new show from Syfy Dominion premiered last week.  Don’t expect a review of it from me.  I’m not a skilled enough writer to fill an entire review with all of the adjectives to describe how stinko that show is.  OK there’s one…stinko.

Falling Skies, Under the Dome… I’ll watch them but I don’t think they’ll get me excited to watch television.  With no Walking Dead and no Game of Thrones on, TV is only just TV.

Or is it?

TNT’s The Last Ship debuted last Sunday night, and sitting down to watch it, I expected just another OK show, but this was more than OK.  This was great!  So great that on the commercial breaks I turned to my wife and said, “This is great!”  My wife, who mainly tuned in for Adam Baldwin, who plays the ship’s executive officer, agreed, “Yes, Adam Baldwin is great.”

The gist of the show is a guided missile destroyer, the USS Nathan James, is sent incommunicado to the Arctic on the twin missions of some Top Secret weapons testing and to ferry along two scientists to study birds.  Now, when you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous.  I can see either having a Top Secret weapons test or having scientists study birds, but not on the same mission. You might think that the Captain should have at least raised that question, but it apparently raises no red flags.  But then, the Captain is there just to look good.  Played by Eric Dane, who formerly played…what, Dr. McCreamy or something?  In some Young-Doctors-In-Love show, he seems to see nothing unusual in combining bird watching and highly classified missile testing.

So after the completion of bird watching/missile testing, the crew is excited to return home and restore contact with the outside world, but a sudden attack by Russian choppers makes them aware of how out of contact they’ve been for the past few months.  The Captain, via teleconference with the President (a different President then when he left) learns that almost 80% of the world population is dead, and that most governments are no longer functioning, including the Russians, and that the two scientists had known the whole time, since they were not there studying birds, but looking for a primordial version of the same virus that was decimating the planet.  With the a ship that has the two scientists who may have the information to make a cure for the virus, the course of the show is set; if they can survive long enough.

So the pilot did a good job of setting up the premise, although I do have a quibble.  The ship comes across a dead in the water Italian cruise ship.  Hoping to loot it for food and fuel (diesel doesn’t grow on trees) they send a small boarding party; who has a member exposed to the virus.  Now I think this plot point could have been handled better.  It would have been a good opportunity to show what sort of skipper the Captain is by how he would handle the situation.  Should he abandon the crewman, kill him, set up quarantine on the ship and bring him back on board?  All of those are tough calls, but instead the crewman decides to shoot himself, sparing the Captain from making any hard decisions. That was a dramatic moment lost in my opinion.  And I would be surprised if that situation doesn’t arise again and again in the series.  Not everyone is going to decide to instantly kill themselves.  Then what do you do?

Anyway, I’m apparently not the only one who liked the show.  The premiere episode garnered 5.3 million viewers, which is big for cable.  Let’s hope the excitement can continue.