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Turn: Washington's Spies Season 1
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Based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies, AMC’s TURN tells the untold story of America’s first spy ring. A historical thriller set during the Revolutionary War, TURN centers on Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island who bands together with his childhood friends to form The Culper Ring -- an unlikely team of secret agents who not only went on to help George Washington turn the tide of the war but also gave birth to modern spycraft.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.78:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches; 4.8 Ounces
- Item model number : 457746
- Director : Barry Josephson
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
- Run time : 7 hours and 32 minutes
- Release date : March 17, 2015
- Subtitles: : English, Spanish
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : ANCHOR BAY
- ASIN : B00KJ1CBPC
- Number of discs : 3
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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That aside, Brewster, Tallmadge, Woodhull's father, and some of the British characters are very well done. The show makes similar pitfalls to the movie "Patriot" by only portraying the British as cruel, manipulative, or licentious; the Tories as backstabbing opportunists; and the Patriots as lovable puppy-dog family men. Simcoe has been made quite a bit more evil; while there is some basis for this (massacring people in their sleep, for instance) he had a long, decorated military and political career. Ask the Canadians. Woodhull himself (according to Rose) was kind of a nitpicker and would frequently complain to Tallmadge and Washington; but I would have left that aspect out too. When I heard about this series, I fully expected Tallmadge to be made the main protagonist, not Woodhull. I like how they are building up Tallmadge's vendetta against the Queen's Rangers, and can't wait to see the show's interpretation of Benedict Arnold, Andre, Agent 355, and Robert Townsend. There is plenty of exciting material they can work with, hopefully a lot less crazy-mixed-up love triangle stuff.
The critics have commented that the story is hard to follow, but all you have to know is that 'Tories' are loyalist colonists that side with the British. They have their own militia groups, like the Queen's rangers, and will not be wearing Red Coats. Secondly, you have to know that the British headquarters and loyalist stronghold is New York City. If any intelligence for the patriot cause is to be gathered (with enough time to do anything about it) it is from there.
So overall three stars, the history was so intriguing during this time period...just wish it was followed more closely.
The only real problem I had with the series was the affair late in the season. That was not believable and was totally unnecessary for the plot. If anything, it will make it more difficult to continue the story idea of the close friendships being the main reason for the success of this operation, as history seems to indicate. I hope the producers and writers will restrain their own personal desires in the future and will let history tell the story. That's where the action is anyway.
Top reviews from other countries
Season one, composed of 10 episodes, begins with the British occupation of Setauket and tells the story of the younger Woodhull makes the transition from a reluctant patriot into the becoming the leading member of what would come to be known as the Culper Spy ring. In the course of this transformation, Abraham comes into contact with a number of noted figures on both sides of the conflict including Continental Army officer Benjamin Tallmage, Captain Robert Rogers (the leader of Rogers Rangers), British Major John Andre (the man who recruited Benedict Arnold to the British side), American Generals Charles Lee and Charles Scott, and the great man himself George Washington.
This series will be more interesting to those who have an interest in American history, and will be especially appreciated by those having an interest in the Revolutionary War. The writers "stick to the script" of Rose's history of the Culper spy ring for the most part, but also take dramatic license, mindful of the fact that this is, after all, a dramatic television series.
One of the series' greatest strengths is in its acting. Jamie Bell (who, fifteen years ago, starred as "Billy Elliott") is excellent in the lead role of Abraham Woodhull, ably conveying the character's cleverness, reluctance, fear and trepidation. Strong performances are also delivered by Heather Lind (as Anna Strong, a tavernkeeper's wife who is romantically entangled with Woodhull), Kevin McNally (Woodhull's father, a local magistrate sympathetic to the British cause), Burn Gorman (Major Richard Hewitt, the commander of the British forces occupying Setauket), Seth Numrich (Benjamin Tallmage), Daniel Henshall (as Caleb Brewster, Abraham's contact with the Continental Army), Angus Macfadyen (as Richard Rogers), J.J. Feild (as Major John Andre) and Samuel Roukin (as the sadistic and villainous British Captain John Simcoe). Ian Kahn is especially proficient in the role of General George Washington, conveying correct proportions of Washington's discipline, pragmatism, wise judgement and human imperfections.
The series has not been critically acclaimed, and this is likely because it is best appreciated by those with a keen interest in American history. Having said that, the writers do a good job of portraying what it might have been like to have lived under British occupation during the American Revolution, although they certainly take dramatic license in their portrayal of some of the historic figures (most notably Captain Simcoe). This series is not for everyone, but history geeks and lovers of period pieces will probably enjoy it more than the average viewer, especially those who can discern fact from fiction and accept both for what they are.