Television Review – ‘The Son’ Episode 1 (2017)

It is highly regarded that a well known actor such as Pierce Brosnan would take time out of film and return to the medium of television. The fact that he has not been active in television for thirty years since ‘Remington Steele,’ implies that he has chosen carefully what his next TV project should be is rather interesting. Brosnan has chosen a western/drama called ‘The Son,’ produced by (AMC) American Movie Classics. The themes of desire, envy and greed is familiar territory, but to show it in the genre of a western will captivate the viewer as this is the originality and merit of this enthralling entertainment. It’s a genre that hasn’t frowned upon much these days and should be given consideration in order to challenge its viewers.

Based on The New York Times best seller and Pulitzer Prize-Nominated novel, ‘The Son’ is a far-reaching family saga that spans 150 years and three generations of the McCullough family. The ten-episode, one hour drama traces the transformation of Eli McCullough (Pierce Brosnan) from good natured innocent to the conniving killer. He loses everything on the wild frontier, setting him on the path to building a ranching and oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege. ‘The Son’ deftly explores how Eli’s mercilessness and thirst for power set off consequences that span generations, as the McCulloughs rise to become one of the powerful families reigning in Texas.

Immediately, the audience will compare ‘The Son’ to a western version of ‘Dynasty,’ as it involves the power of oil business and the corruption and competition behind the profession. However, unlike ‘Dynasty’, it is not soap opera orientated and far from cheesy. It’s tasteful and truthful as competition between two rival families will occur. The McCullough’s being the Irish American’s and the Garcia’s led by Pedro Garcia played by Carlos Bardem originating from Spanish heritage. The fact that his ranch is perilously positioned between the McCulloughs’ land and the Mexican border implies his days of remaining neutral are numbered. The rivalry will structure towards the end of the pilot episode as Brosnan sheds blood, but this is what makes good drama.

There is no doubt that Brosnan’s Eli McCullough will be thought of as a western version of ‘Dynasty’s Blake Carrington. He is the lead of this excellent ensemble cast. The audience will have an admiration for his two sons. Pete McCullough, his good hearted son, married with three children and believes in honour. And Phineas McCullough, Eli’s eldest son; a lawyer and Eli’s confidant. One can compare Phineas to Robert Duvall’s Tom Hagen, the son of Don Vito Corleone and the thought that this sort of storytelling can be compared to ‘The Godfather’ is a further reason why ‘The Son’ could be a great piece of TV entertainment.

To see interweaving of storytelling from Eli’s life as a teenager in the 1800’s and to see him as a successful man in oil business where Brosnan plays him in 1915 is exceptional as we understand his character going from rags to riches. To witness the teenage Eli’s family being brutally murdered by the Comanche’s leaving him the sole survivor is interesting as he eventually befriends the Comanche’s treating them like family. His time among the Comanche’s is the first piece of his origin story that will ultimately grow into his legend. ‘The Son’ is an excellent pilot episode that has amazing cinematography. The ending of the episode will only do the expected obvious, leaving the viewer to watch more, being committed to watching the whole season. Welcome back to TV Pierce!

The Son airs Tuesdays at 9pm on AMC, exclusive to BT.

[rating=4] | Aly Lalji

Western, Drama, Television | USA, 2017 | 15 | 18th April 2017, 9pm (UK) | AMC UK, BT TV | Dir.Tom Harper | Pierce Bronson, Jacob Lofland, Henry Garrett,Paola Nuñez, Carlos Bardem