James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

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20 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    I’ve often seen the last few minutes of it, waiting for Mad Men to start.Report

  2. Glyph says:

    Haven’t seen it. Seems like it could be an interesting premise.Report

  3. Chris says:

    I have a friend who watches it, and he’s really enjoying it. I haven’t seen any of it, though.Report

  4. Glyph says:

    Having watched the title sequence, it looks like Saul Bass-via-Edward Gorey, which works.

    The music itself is really discordant, which seems to be de rigeur for spy shows these days (Homeland, The Americans). Not usually a fan of The National.

    Also, the “Hush” vocal at the start and end of the theme sounds like this:


  5. LeeEsq says:

    All the spinning and turning makes me dizzy. Wait, what are we talking about?Report

  6. Jacob says:

    In a sense it’s very similar to Mad Men. The plot is mediocre to non-existent and the writers are phoning it in.

    If it weren’t set in an underutilized and interesting historical setting, I’d have given up on both shows long ago.

    The one thing I can’t figure out about Turn is why all the Long Islanders in 1776 have quasi-Irish accents.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Jacob says:


      Other than that I’ve never seen Mad Men, I think you hit on what’s troubling me. I really like the concept and setting; it’s definitely an undertold story. But the actual telling of the story seems to be treated as pro forma, as though the concept and setting were sufficient unto themselves.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to James Hanley says:

        One thing that I’ve noticed about American TV is that its much more reluctant to use historical settings than TV shows from other countries. The only time a pre-Prohibition setting is used is usually for a Western. Every other historical setting tends to be Prohibition or afterwards. I think this is because its much more difficult to show sex and fanservice in other historical settings. With Westerns you can make a lot of the female characters prostitutes and handle sex and fanservice that way. Stories set during the Roaring Twenties or afterwards allow for easier presentation of sex and fanservice because the mores are closer to ours.

        Its a shame because you can have a lot of good shows if your willing to use other periods in American history. You can have a show about immigrants in New York City during the 1890s or the early settlers during the 1600s or the Chicago stockyards. Maybe a show about Barnum or the fight for female suffrage.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Jacob says:


      (I like Mad Men a lot but appreciate a good dig when I see one).

      (Though I’d argue “plot” has never been the primary strength of MM, which functions more like a short-story collection than a novel).Report

    • Saul DeGraw in reply to Jacob says:

      IIRC many colonialists still had their native accents at the time of the Revolution. I have no idea if there was a Scots-Irish contingent on Long Island though.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

        Even if there were, since the 4 members of the spy ring apparently all grew up together in the same town, you’d expect–I think–more homogenization of accent. I like the idea of having them speak differently* than we do today, but more commonality would seem appropriate, unless it’s specified that “character X with distinctive accent” is an immigrant and not native born.
        *I think they do a terrible job with the black characters, who sound to my ears almost wholly modern. I don’t know if this is an attempt to avoid controversy by not having them play too subordinate and possibly slide into bad steppin fetchet talk (which would be justifiable) or what, but I find it jarring in what is supposed to be a straight period piece.Report

  7. Burt Likko says:

    I saw one episode. I thought the costumes and the staging and the sets and the combat sequences were realistic, or at least verisimilistic. The acting seems decent-to-good. I’m not historian enough to know if the accents are authentic or not.

    Wasn’t sure about the writing; there seems to be some romantic subplot about the protagonist and the woman he once loved versus the woman he married, and some other romantic subplot about a lusty barmaid in New York.

    I was much more interested in the spying and the demonstration of the questionable loyalties of the Continental soldiers and the corruption of the British regulars. The protagonist seemed to too-easily get sensitive information out of the Hessians.Report

  8. Damon says:

    Never seen it but AMC’s constant adverts for it piss me off so much I’m near the point of not watching it just out of spite.Report