Not much cinematic effort has been put into the American Revolution, compared to other periods of history, and when it is, usually the effort is lackluster. This series, in some ways, was a pleasant surprise.
It’s loosely based on the book Washington’s Spies: the Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose. Rose is British which, ironically, is probably why the account is more fair to the American side than it would be if written by one of our own cucked revisionists. The Netflix mini-series starts out with at least a passing interest in historical accuracy. Every series degenerates eventually, though, and this one is no exception.
On the plus side, the acting is pretty solid with exceptions I’ll mention later. Not sure why pretty much all the Americans have a Scottish or Irish brogue, but the acting are believable. I’m also pleased with some of the directorial choices made–little stuff most people miss and I won’t bore you with. And the writing is not as horrendous as one would expect. Whereas most TV scripts would score a D- to F, this show averages a C+ to B- over three seasons.
It would rate higher than that if consistent, but some lazy contrivances and lame efforts to ramp up the tension really drag it down. One particular character who starts out on the British side, for instance, is built up to be invincible through a succession of episodes. But evidently a different villain probably became more popular with focus groups or something and so was elevated. When these two characters faced off, the formerly invincible character suddenly became incompetent in order for the new heavy to prevail handily. And no explanation was even hinted at how the new heavy became such a badass out of nowhere.
Speaking of characters: Benadict Arnold is a little overdone, and George Washington seems more like a parody than a character. In the former’s case, the writer may be more at fault than the actor, and visa-versa in the latter case.
The OPSEC (operational security) of most characters on both sides (but especially on the American side) is a piss-poor joke. It’s hard to imagine any country winning any kind of war against anyone with breakdowns in OPSEC so flagrant as depicted in this series.
As the third season progressed, my willing suspension of disbelief seriously faltered. And the finale reached a new high of unbelievability.
For all its faults, I’m glad I watched Turn. There are few productions these days done as well as this.