It has become quite popular to explore the scripted arena if you’re a cable network. Consider the successes of HBO, Showtime, Starz, and of course, the paradigm shifting success of basic-extended cable packages that offer the award winners found on AMC. People interested in good television are being reminded that it really is about the steak–not the sizzle. Network shows remain slick and glossy, yet cable series have re-injected story into the overall execution. Within these shows, there is a sense of cinema on the small screen, and The History Channel has tapped into the growing momentum with their miniseries: Hatfields & McCoys.
I’m just one of the millions who tuned in for the first two nights of the goodies, and I’ll be tuning in tonight for the conclusion of the feud. Volume one of the three part series broke cable ratings records, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. There is an inherent curiosity about the Hatfields and McCoys, their place in American history and the label that can be borrowed for any longstanding disagreement between two parties.
In terms of historical accuracy, the production has been spot on. And mark my words, you’ll see Golden Globes going to many of the performances in this miniseries. Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton and a nearly unrecognizable Tom Berenger are at their best.
My only complaints: They shot in Romania. Why not in Kentucky and West Virginia? (Yes I understand the money-saving logistics…) The unknowing eye can be fooled into believing it’s Appalachia, but there is a little something missing…it looks like rural Bucharest. And the series is shot on video. Argue with me all you want, but it would look a lot richer, and capture the era better had it been shot on film. Other than these two permissible issues, it’s supremely entertaining television.