Years of amateur and professional TV-watching and the impressive title attached to my byline notwithstanding, I have never believed that I would last a minute as a television programmer. I know what I like, and usually why I like it, but what will float and what will sink on the great waters of commerce I admit to be beyond my ken.
Still, had anyone in charge at
Between those shows and the likes of
But consistency counts for something when you're building a brand. And "The Red Road," which begins Thursday on the network, is — to judge by the first two of six episodes — very good. Set in a fictional New Jersey woodland town and concerning in part an Indian tribe, the Lenape, it is the product of an impressive trust of talent.
Executive producer Sarah Condon (HBO's "Looking" and
It is not as uncanny as the
And yet, though many seeds are quickly sewn — there is a missing college student, a literally forbidden romance, a prodigal son's return, a mother's shaky mental state — it is hard, in a good way, to see where it's headed, past the more obvious personal entanglements and somewhat-beside-the-point criminal actions. It feels productively mysterious.
The show tells you covertly a lot about the characters, building them up through bits of behavior and stray remarks that can seem contradictory at first but do start to cohere into something more complex. Henderson is, it's true, called on to sweat a lot before the story gets very far at all.
But Momoa — a male model who starred in the 2011
Condon has said that "Red Road" is about "where this nation came from and where it's going" and Guzikowski that "it deals with themes of what it is to be an American." Fortunately, he has written people strong enough to stand only for themselves.
'The Red Road'
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Rating: TV-14-LV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for coarse language and violence)