The (American) Revolution will be televised

AMC probably should send me a little thank-you e-mail for this, as I’m touting an upcoming new series as an act of faith, but a new Revolutionary War spy drama premiering on April 6, TURN, looks very promising. From the show’s website, here’s a brief description:

Based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies, AMC’s TURN tells the untold story of America’s first spy ring. 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.

TURN is getting positive advance reviews. The Week newsmagazine featured it as its “Show of the week,” calling it a “suspenseful new series” about “America’s first spy unit.”

Quality dramas about the American Revolution are few and far between, on either the big or small screen, contributing to a sense of distance from this historical era. HBO’s excellent John Adams series, based on David McCullough’s biography, is about the best thing out there, but the overall offerings are thin. The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, is an entertaining movie, but it’s not great history. So maybe TURN will breathe some needed dramatic life into this historical period.

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