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Rhondinella

S01.E01: Pilot

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From AMC:

At the dawn of the Revolutionary War, struggling Long Island farmer Abraham Woodhull is recruited by the Colonial Army to spy on the British.

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Well, the critical reaction I've heard was basically "meh."  That was Dan Feinberg and Alan Sepinwall.  But I haven't read any other reviews, so I don't know  But if people are in period costume and talking in accents I will watch at least two episodes.  You know, just on principle.

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Don't plan to watch until the day after since I believe it's on the same time as the S4 GoT premiere.

Not sure what the overall story arc will be, or if there even is one, but 

the British lose the war

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I feel like I'm probably going to be done with the show after the pilot, but I decided to at least give it a shot. I will watch just about anything with British people talking and I love historical dramas. 

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I'm not dying to watch the next episode but it wasn't so bad that I'm giving up on it yet.  I love the concept and I'm hoping the first episode just had a lot of set up stuff to go through and it will start getting better.  I think the concept is so interesting but it just didn't pull me in enough to really be excited about it.  I also find his wife being such a background character odd.  I understand that he was in love with the other woman (Anna?) but it felt like he had no interest in his wife at all.  I would think she would be of a concern to him at least especially since he clearly adores his son.  And I know this is nitpicky but why wasn't the not yet one year old boy wearing a dress?  I'm pretty sure they didn't make little britches for babies. 

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Well, I actually liked it. Very interesting. Yes, the pilot was a little slow, but they have to introduce the characters and set the scene.

Will say that some of the dialogue was hard to understand, the accents being very muddled.

The wife being a background character I get, because they are emphasizing that she was not Abraham Woodhull's first choice, so yeah, I guess she gets sidelined.

I read about the Culper Ring (that's what this spy ring is called) before the show aired, so the characters and situations made more sense to me and I think was very beneficial to read about before watching the show. I know little about Revolutionary War history but apparently this Culper Ring wasn't even known about until the 1930's, which I think is fascinating that it was hidden/not known about for over a hundred fifty years.

Edited by HalcyonDays

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I like that the Eglish aren't cartoon villains (though villains on the whole). Loved that the captain or whatever rank he was was not having the whole "he started it" defense on be fight.

Some of it was hard to follow but I definitely think this has potential. Anybody else think Araham looked and sounded irish? Maybe it's e cause the actor is English and trying to sound period American so it came out that way. Hs dishy.

Abraham's wife is practical minded. Anna is an idealist. I can see how Abraham doesn't really think as much of his own wife. Baby is all kinds of cute.

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I also had the hearing/accent/mumbling problem. I rewound to listen to lines of dialogue again, but half of the time I still didn't get it. And it did seem to move a bit slowly, which only led me to believe I had missed some big plot turn or reveal in one of those mumbles. But since pilots can be slow-moving and expositiony, I'm willing to give it at least one more episode before deciding. I can take worse than this: I gave Studio 60 the whole season (spoiler alert: it never got better).

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Well, that was . . . confusing. I am going to stick with it, as it will be a nice sorbet between Call the Midwife and Mad Men on my Bonnet Saga Sundays. And if it's a choice between Turn and Jeremy Piven and His Over-Acting Teeth, I will go for the Revolutionary War every time.

Such a  chore figuring out who is on which side! Which is, I guess, the point.

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There was just too much on last night!  This was the one show I have to wait until tonight to see.  I love Hell on Wheels, which also started out slowly...so I have hope for this.

Charlotte, I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to steal "Bonnet Saga Sunday"!

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I started off watching this but I was having trouble understanding the dialogue, so I just got fed up and switched to something else.  However, I like Jamie Bell so I'll give it another shot next week.

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I liked it, even though it was slow in some places and I agree, the dialogue was a bit muddy at times with accents and even just the volume.  I still don't know anyone's name other than Abraham, but I do know that one guy is a Captain.  And a dick.

One bit I liked in particular was that guy's wife being clever enough to distract the rapey Captain without resorting to stabbing.  I also liked the bits with the old friend of Abraham's that's now in the army, mainly because he is a very pretty pretty man.

I thought all of the cabbages were ruined, but he sold the smuggled ones?  Also, why did he have to resort to smuggling?  Was the innkeeper the only one that buys cabbages and he refused Abraham's?  I'm not sure why I'm so hung up on the damn cabbages, but it seemed like he turned to a life of crime kind of on a whim.

I, too, love Jamie Bell and will give this several episodes to pick up the pace.  I would also like some Revolutionary celebrity sightings if possible.  I mean, besides Georgie.  I'm sure he'll show up at some point.

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I liked it, but had the same problems mentioned above with the mumbling.   I'm going to have trouble telling most of the characters apart, given that they're mostly a group of youngish white British males, and half of them are wearing red uniforms and white wigs.   I WILL remember the pretty colonial officer (Ben?) and hope to see more of him.   And it would be nice if he got another shoulder wound, once again necessitating the loss of his shirt.  

I kind of laughed when Abraham's father said that he would no longer help his son get out of scrapes.  Since much of the pilot involved Abraham getting into trouble, only to escape punishment because of his father… well, if Dad isn't going to help him anymore, it could be a very short show.  

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I liked it, but I can't say I'm going to commit to the entire season (however long it is). Enjoyed Jamie Bell, but like others here, I found it challenging to keep track of everyone who wasn't Jamie Bell or his hot colonel friend. Already need Captain Harasser to die a fiery death, but since he seems to be one of the main villains, I'm guessing that's not going to happen. Boo.

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I liked it enough to stick with it for now.  It was a bit slow but I understand that a lot of set up had to be done.  Plus, Benjamin is very easy to look at.  Why yes, I am splashing around in the shallow end of the pool.

Did Anna care about her husband at all?  I sure didn't see any concern on her part about his arrest and subsequent imprisonment.  She's going to need more subtly with her message-via-laundry role.  Even the servants thought something was hinky.

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Maybe this is a well-known element, but I was very surprised to see any Scots helping the British, given their decimation at Culloden just a few decades earlier. I did get drawn in after a while and so will stick with this. Closed captioning made the dialog understandable, which made a big difference in my interest.

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Yes, bets, the CC on would probably be a good idea. I don't like to use it, as it's a pain to turn off and on on my TV, plus I find myself just staring at the captions and I feel like I miss half of what's on screen. But I'm probably missing more by not knowing what's being said. I'll give it a shot next episode.

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I use closed captioning for anything British, as understanding accents is a major problem for me  (if Google Glass provides such a feature in real life, I'm in!), so I caught most everything in the episode. I wasn't familiar with the lead actor and did not find him either good-looking or charismatic, and wanted not to be following him, but, alas, it appears that this is his story. Ben, on the other hand, I might follow anywhere.

 

She's going to need more subtly with her message-via-laundry role.  Even the servants thought something was hinky.

I'm hoping she gets more audacious! Huge pre-Betsy Ross flags on the line, or needlepoint maps! It might be nice to also get more of Abraham's wife's point of view. She can't be any happier with the quartering than Anna, who at least is set up as an inn.

Edited by NorthstarATL

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Maybe this is a well-known element, but I was very surprised to see any Scots helping the British, given their decimation at Culloden just a few decades earlier. I did get drawn in after a while and so will stick with this. Closed captioning made the dialog understandable, which made a big difference in my interest.

I'm not surprised, actually, that the Scots were helping. I just assumed they were hired mercenaries and if the money was enough, then who cares. That meeting the head Scot had with the Redcoat with braids (I wish I knew the names!), the Scot mentioned getting paid double or more, so I think they are just hired thugs.

Did anyone happen to notice which lady ended up with the silk length?

I thought Abraham handed it over to the Redcoats in his little town. He said he was mugged by the Patriots (bluecoats) and his money was stolen, but he was able to hide the silk from them.

 

I'm hoping she gets more audacious! Huge pre-Betsy Ross flags on the line, or needlepoint maps! It might be nice to also get more of Abraham's wife's point of view. She can't be any happier with the quartering than Anna, who at least is set up as an inn.

What's funny about the quartering is that if the British wasn't to inspire some loyalty from their subjects in the Americas, taking over the townspeoples homes and inns and behaving like spoiled drunken idiots was probably NOT the way to inspire confidence. And they wonder why some people were annoyed with them.

Edited by HalcyonDays

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Quartering of soldiers - Third Amendment.

Either everything is pretty close or Abe is a damn fast rower.

I did like the beating and boiling of clothes. Its the everyday things that makes you like living in the 21st century.

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I don't really enjoy reliving this bleak period of our history, so many injustices, so little freedom. I love Jaime Bell though and was on board as soon as I saw him in the first trailers so I'm giving this a shot. It looks like I will also be introduced to a lot of new acting talent, as I did not recongnize a single actor other than Jamie and the man that plays Abraham's father (and he is just the guy who played Gibbs in the Pirates movies to me right now).

I found the pilot to be interesting, although I have to echo everyone elses comments about the mumbling. This is the kind of show that you will really need to follow the dialogue on and I already have hearing issues as it is, so the mumbling did not help at all. I missed the whole part about why exactly not wife broke the engagement with Abraham. And what is the deal with Abraham's father.....how is he so chummy with the Red Coats? Will need to rewatch!

 

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Nomodrama, I got the feeling that Abraham's father is the one who broke the first engagement.  Abe's dad is a major Loyalist and wouldn't put up with a Revolutionary in the family.

I'm sticking with it for a while.  I like a good period peice.  I mean, Bonnet Saga!

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Well, I was expecting Rubicon-level slowness, so I was actually pleasantly surprised!  It kept my attention.

The show has good acting all around as well as beautiful scenery.  It's pretty "classy," for lack of a better word, and I, for one, cannot wait to see how the details work out (of course, we all know the big picture of what happens).  I sure would not want to be in Abe's position.  I felt claustrophobic just thinking about it.

I stuck with it until the (premature) ends of Rubicon and Copper.  I think we will give this one a shot, too.  Hopefully, this show will enjoy a long, satisfying run.

Last but not least, how adorable is that kid???  Expression on that kid's face when Abe's father said that he knew Abe had lied was priceless.  Perfectly on cue, too.  Impressive!

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I rewatched it again and kept wondering it the Black servants and field workers were their hired hands or their slaves. Will they ever have names? Most of they people are still just their features and not their characters name yet. Cutey, dad, fat guy, wife, not-wife, etc.

I liked the little bit of the Lt purchasing the Capt commission to move up in the ranks.  That part of the military history always was weird to me.

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Husband had it on in the background while I was reading.  About 30 minutes in, I had to pull myself from the book.  It has potential.  Looking forward to the next episode.  Looking at the hardships and conditions make me more grateful for living in this century. 

And, yes, the closed captioning helped quite a bit.  Although we still had to rewind a couple of times trying to follow what was happening.

Edited by tabloidlover

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At one time or another every British colony had slaves, so I assumed the black workers were enslaved although it is possible that they were free workers.  Despite condoning and promoting slavery in the colonies before the war, after the conflict began the British offered freedom to slaves who would fight against the rebellion.   Maybe if the show lasts long enough it will delve into this issue.  . . .  and according to Wikipedia, as the war went on, the state of NY also offered freedom to slaves who would join the colonial side. 

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Finally caught the pilot.

I thought it did an average job of explaining the set-up and the characters, which is to say it did a bad job. If I hadn't watched the On Demand snippets like "Loyalists", "Spies", etc, it would have been much more difficult to follow. People who write pilots really should be forced to watch the pilot for Mad Men and Breaking Bad and perhaps a few others to get a sense of how to explain the set-up, introduce characters and, in general, convey information.

The episode itself was a bit dull.  So until proven otherwise, I'm going with the  theory that Honest Abe instigated the bar fight from behind the scenes to get rid of Anna's husband. He even showed-up after the fight started to make sure everything went smoothly, knowing his father would bail him out. The "spy ring" is just an excuse to play hide the codebreaker with her at all hours and all places, and a means to get rid of anyone who wants to squeeze her cabbage, like Captain Cash-n-Carry
 

Ha!  Thanks for spoiler tagging that, Constantinople!


You're welcome.

I'd hate to ruin it for anyone. You never know, someone from from Rolling Stone might be reading this thread

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I liked it well enough to keep watching. I always have closed caption on because my tv has crappy audio so I think that helped my ability to follow the plot. Clearly Abe (? Jaime bell) only really decided to get involved in the spy plot to save Anna, but I assume his ideology will grow as the British continue to be jerks. Anyone besides me think that the old captain might have been killed by the new captain? New captain is certainly evil and ambitious. It was sort of slow, but I like the historical bits and the showing of how life worked. I've gone to tons of historical sites in New England so this fits right into my interest in that.

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Clearly Abe (? Jaime bell) only really decided to get involved in the spy plot to save Anna, but I assume his ideology will grow as the British continue to be jerks. Anyone besides me think that the old captain might have been killed by the new captain? New captain is certainly evil and ambitious.

I didn't see it that way when I watched the show, I admit. I saw it more than Abraham was kind of pulled into the fray, due to the British continuously interferring in this life, whether it be his home, or at a bar, his farm, whatever. The barfight I think was just showing that he had honour. But I do think that Anna was the catalyst - her telling him "Why aren't you spying" made the decision for him.

New captain is very evil and ambitious. And yes, I think that too, that old killed new, whether directly or issued orders. There is no way the "exiled" captain was killed by one of the townspeople. What better way to frame someone, I would think.

Abe's father is clearly one of those social climber/power hungry type of people. He wants the keep the British on his good side, because he personally benefts from it, whether it is financially or influencally. Probably both.

Looking forward to tonight's episode.

Edited by HalcyonDays

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Since the end of Sleepy Hollow, I've been reading a bunch about the American Revolution.  Haven't read the book about the Culper Ring but found Benjamin Tallmadge's memoirs online.  In which the Long Island spy ring was mentioned briefly--without identifying anybody.  Still, he had an interesting role in the Revolution--in action & in various security related matters.  Quite a dashing fellow. 

We were told the show begins in October, 1776. But we weren't given much of an idea what was actually happening. The Brits had sent the largest expeditionary force of the 18th century to teach the rebels a lesson--British regulars, Highlanders & Hessians. Transported to New York by 400 warships! Perhaps those battles were beyond the budget--but there are ways to convey some background--like conversation? I know maggotty cabbages are cheaper than ships of the line, but people could have mentioned some of the details.  

Also, Tallmadge founded the spy ring in 1778, not 1776. The handsome redcoat with the braid was John Andre--who became head of British Intelligence in 1779. The ragged "Scot" was Rogers of Rogers Rangers--who'd fought in the French & Indian War, then served the Brits in the Revolution.  Not sure how accurate his portrayal is.  I wonder about the accents--shouldn't the cabbage farmer have the same one his father does?  The father was a Loyalist/Tory--of which there were many.  

Found the first episode a bit slow & confusing. Will probably continue watching for the period look--and to snark. But I'll be catching it On Demand every Monday evening--too much to watch on Sunday!  And a few performers look interesting. Burn Gorman, of course.  And JJ Feild's Andre....

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Heh. The lead sounds Irish and I think that is because he's an English actor trying to sound American. The dad sounds American. Not that I'm complaining, lead is handsome despite his kind of awkward ears.

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Was especially interesting to see Robert Rogers of Roger's Rangers in this series.  The famous old historical novel, Northwest Passage, was based on his exploits during the French and Indian War and after between the wars.  If he had stayed on the American side of the Revolution he would have gone down as one of the greatest American military heroes.  He basically formed and lead the first American special ops unit during the French and Indian War (called the Seven Years War in Europe).

 

Of course the same could be said of Benedict Arnold who was America's best and most effective general in the Revolution until Major Andre cited above recruits him into the British spy ring. 

 

People seem to forgot though that the traditional historic rule of thumb concerning loyalties among the American colonists during the American Revolution was one third were pro-independence, one third were Tories (Loyalists to the crown) and one third were like Abraham at the beginning of this story.  They just wanted to ignore the whole thing and get on with their personal lives.  Interesting to see that last third represented here and how things are not all black and white but more complex given the situation different people found themselves in.  Even as Abraham joins the cause his father remains a Tory.  Meanwhile he has friends that support the American cause.  Couldn't be easy for these people.  That's a hard thing when families and friends divide.

 

I'll watch cause I'm all about the history stuff but this is no A+++ Vikings series.  You want to make historical drama based on real people for TV these days you check out Vikings and take notes.  Turn has a long way to go to reach that level of production but it is at least passable.

Edited by green
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I'll watch cause I'm all about the history stuff but this is no A+++ Vikings series.  You want to make historical drama based on real people for TV these days you check out Vikings and take notes.  Turn has a long way to go to reach that level of production but it is at least passable.

 

 

Interesting because for me I can't stand Vikings; I don't like the writing, the acting or anything about it yet I very much enjoyed TURN.  I suppose that could be cause I'm quite familiar with the Culper Spy Ring so I was able to follow the plot (even with the major changes to characters and timelines) without any issues.

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Interesting because for me I can't stand Vikings; I don't like the writing, the acting or anything about it yet I very much enjoyed TURN.  I suppose that could be cause I'm quite familiar with the Culper Spy Ring so I was able to follow the plot (even with the major changes to characters and timelines) without any issues.

 

I had to read the little information the Internet has on the Culper Ring, to get an idea of who the characters are, so it was easier for me. But the show never introduced the characters well, in terms of including it in dialogue. The last episode did, with Rogers, but I found a lot of times, it took a while before I got who was who (save Abraham and Tallmadge).

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I just started watching this online. I'm a huge Revolutionary War history buff and enjoyed the pilot. I love JJ Feild, and he made a dashing Captain Andre (I can see Peggy Shippen Arnold falling for him!) Jamie Bell sure has grown up since "Billy Elliot"!

Looking forward to catching up on the episodes.

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The pilot re-aired last night- just some thoughts:

 

Ensign Baker grabbing his coat off the line and running away like a schoolboy that's late for the bus. Awww. 

:( RIP

 

Half shirtless/bandaged Ben- meow.  

 

I loved the first meetings of Abe with Caleb and Ben. Such terror followed by such relief. Maybe I just like terrorizing Abe. 

 

Simcoe was a super creep in the pilot. 

 

The drama between Selah and Abe resulting in Selah being sentenced to the prison ship and Abe having to swear his allegiance to the crown were a lot clearer to me this time around. I remember being really confused the first time.

 

It also went right over my head that Caleb  was Abe's contact that Ben wanted to know about. I liked that little test. 

Edited by Iboatedhere
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