Piquing my interest from its promotion, this series seems a good bet. Additionally, it’s something my dad would enjoy. That hype may have been justified but I felt empty at credits rolling.
In the horrors of war, Randall McCoy (Bill Paxton) and Captain Anse ‘Devil’ Hatfield (Kevin Costner) were friends. They fought side by side towards the latter part of the Civil War and save an entire company of men. On their last mission, they find safety only because Anse stays behind and barely escapes with his life. Tired of being responsible for their lives, Anse calls it quits that same night and rides off to Randall’s shouts of his desertion. His return home finds his wife, Levincy (Sarah Parish) happy that her husband is home. In his absence she raises their small children on her own on their land in West Virginia. Taking up his work again, Anse gets his logging business up and running and before the war is over, he makes a comfortable living. Then Randall returns home.
Not quite right since his return, his wife Sally (Mare Winningham) worries about her husband’s ability to re-adjust to life on their Kentucky farm. Furious at the rumors that it’s Anse’s uncle, Jim Vance (Tom Berenger) who murders his brother, Randall sets his mind on revenge. Anse’s attempts to set their differences right go array when his eldest, impulsive son, Johnse (Matt Barr) falls for Randall’s girl, Roseanna (Lindsay Pulsipher). Then, later, his own brother is murdered by three of Randall’s sons. A bitter feud is born between the two families.
It takes a lot for me to really like a historical mini series. Partly this is because despite my best intentions, I’m not the most avid history aficionado and partly because it takes skill to make some history seem interesting. This History channel series is one that is a bit too slow-moving and “dry,” though I do understand its need to be less about action and more about emotion. With no knowledge about this historically, subconsciously I did know it’s inspired by real events though I also assume this takes liberties. One of the things that cannot be argued against is the phenomenal cast this boasts. In addition to the aforementioned, there is Powers Boothe, Noel Fisher, Nick Dunning and Jena Malone. Casting directors pulled together a great bunch of talent; just looking at that cast listing impresses if nothing else does.‘HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS’ (2012) #FWarchives Click To Tweet
Authenticity as far as costumes and sets go seem to be something set and costume designers strive for including its period exact landscapes. This is one area in which this does impress. The costuming always seemed right and suited its characters well while the landscapes and structures were befitting of the scene set-ups and creates the right frame of mind for the audience, almost transplanting us into the gritty world of the Hatfields and McCoys. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this series compelling enough to say it is something everyone should see even once. It is interesting in many of the nuances and the production quality is memorable but there is something lacking in its premise. History or not, there is no point to it.
Clocking in at a long four-and-a-half hours, divided into three parts, the span of the series is over ten years long. During which, the feud continues. There are so many McCoys and Hatfields it leaves us with a dazed look wondering who everyone is though the character development aside from Anse and Randall is virtually non-existent. Breaking records and ratings, the production qualities don’t rescue this. Sure there’s a Romeo and Juliet story playing out and there’s sorrow but very little of it makes us “feel” anything but wonder at the pointless bad blood between the families’ that – quite literally, kept these characters living.
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You can find Hatfields and McCoys digitally on Amazon Video
Content: The script has lots of profanities and crude remarks to say nothing of the violent killing. Though I saw this edited, it sometimes seems nearly every other word was muted; they use commonplace profanities like h*ll, sh*t, da*n including GD and perhaps some stronger swear words. There’s implied extra-marital sex a handful of times – once results in pregnancy. A far out shot shows a couple jumping into the river naked. There’s some crudities with the language. Dozens of people die – some children, other’s without trials. There’s hangings, shootings and stabbings. Lots of blood results from this. One man is scalped. This series is NR but would warrant at least a PG13.