Oh, say, can you see–God save our gracious King– by the dawn’s early light. If you tune into Turn you’ll find yourself caught in the famous conflict between the British and the rebelling American Colonists during the revolution from 1765-1783 as America fight for freedom in this series by AMC. Prepared to be trapped in a nugget of history laden with; lies, secrets and spies, and learn a little something along the way. I know I did.
The American Revolution was not a war that was taught in my British school syllabus unsurprisingly and so delving into this series was both an eye opener and a lesson needing to be learned for me. Recommended to me by @PatriciaBAllen_ I knew I had to give this one a go but after watching the first five minutes I did have to have a sneaky google to snag an idea of the historical context…and which side was which. Forgive me dear bingers for my ignorance but I had the Battle of Hastings of 1066 drummed into my teenage head instead.
Turn is just getting into the swing of its second season with the first ranking up an impressive 8.0 rating on imdb which I have begun to trust when it comes to good television shows. For a low-key historical series viewing figures average out at 1.43 million viewers for the first season which I can only assume will begin to grow throughout the second.
Based upon the history books ‘Washington’s Spies’ penned by Alexander Rose, Turn follows the stories of four real life childhood friends who formed the Culper Spy Ring that turned the course of the revolution for freedom; the first of its kind. Abraham Woodhull as played by Jamie Bell, Ben Talmadge as played by Seth Numrich, Caleb Brewster as played by Daniel Henshall and Anna Strong as played by Heather Lind must all play their part to aid in Washington’s cause and remain uncovered whilst doing so. This story may already have its ending but being thrust into a 18th Century America where everyone and anyone could be hiding twelve dozen skeletons in their closet makes for a gripping watch.
Now, you’ve been introduced to one side but much like meeting the in-laws it’s time to clock eyes on the red-coated British who desperately seek to preserve their hand of power and this series wouldn’t be without their more often than not antagonistic presence. Find yourself unable to figure if you like characters and historical figures such as: Major Hewlett as played by Burn Gorman, Lt. John Simcoe as played by Samuel Roukin and Major John Andre as played by JJ Feild. You may want to be wanting a peep under their white wigs but you will probably want to put that energy into wishing Simcoe away…trust me, you will.
Fun Facts (One for Each Side): Farmer turned spy Abe Woodhull played by Jamie Bell voiced the famous Tintin in the 2011 film. Red coat Major John Andre as played by JJ Feild is a member of the Howling Commandos, James Montgomery Falsworth in Captain America: The First Avenger.
The plot is brilliantly paced to leave you fearing and anticipating the next episode, secrets never stay secrets for long after all, and the continuous threats from both sides is a true game of war that you want to see to its end. However, whereas I commend that this series is trumps in the plot department I did feel that I was lacking engagement with the characters themselves; especially the key players in the narrative. Personally, no character was particularly endearing or likable enough to earn any form of attachment to. Major Andre is intriguing in his intelligence, charming in his gentlemanly arrogance and yet I gained more from his character in his few scenes, notably his kindness to servant Abigail than that of the protagonist Abe who in the words of Katy Perry changes his mind like a girl changes clothes. The tension surrounding the present narrative takes a heavy toll on the depth of the character development with the exception of a few touching scenes that are too spoiler filled to divulge. That being said, Lt. Simcoe is the perfect man to hate, his cunning, ruthlessness and cringe worthy voice propels you to keep watching in hope that he will get his comeuppance.
If I am to say one last thing, it is that I found that these 18th Century spies and their techniques completely fascinating to watch and I’d rather follow these men and women with their secret message eggs being slipped around with my heart in my mouth than James Bond and his silly gadgets any day.
You can watch Turn on AMC or Amazon Prime or Season One is now available to purchase on DVD.
How about you tell me some of your secrets? Just kidding, although some show recommendations would be great! Have you seen the series? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments. Also check out my twitter @bingebox for all the latest updates and live tweeting! Thanks!
Binge Rating: ★★★