The Ultimate Guide to Streaming

8 Fall Shows To Be Excited About, 10 To Give A Chance, And 6 To Avoid – Kate Aurthur

1. Give It a Chance: The Bastard Executioner

FX, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (In progress)

A writer like Kurt Sutter is going to tell you what his show is in its first hour. And The Bastard Executioner, which had its two-hour premiere this week, does indeed do that. The show, set in 14th-century Wales during the reign of Edward I, drops the audience into a complicated, fully formed world. Its hero(ish) is Wilkin Brattle (played by Lee Jones, an Australian theater actor), the executioner of the show’s title — but at first, he is a man with a pregnant wife and a violent past who is determined to live a stable life. When that proves to be impossible, The Bastard Executioner unleashes violence that makes Game of Thrones look like an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS Kids. Seriously: I couldn’t believe what I was watching, and if you saw the premiere, you know what I mean. But that’s what Sutter — the Sons of Anarchy creator who has hundreds of hours of television on his résumé — does, and his ardent fans will expect as much. You’re either here for this, or you’re not. In the same vein, Sutter’s wife, Katey Sagal, who played Gemma, the Lady Macbeth of Sons of Anarchy, co-stars in The Bastard Executioner as Annora, the witch who tells Brattle that he has a secret destiny. (Annora is always trailed by a character called “The Dark Mute,” who is masked and yes, mute, and is played by Sutter. These scenes are delightfully WTF, actually: Your move, Melisandre!) The only other familiar face is Stephen Moyer (True Blood) as Milus Corbett, a scheming, power-hungry, and gay adviser to the baron who holds his bloody thumb over the countryside rebels. But did I mention The Bastard Executioner’s shocking violence? I can’t overemphasize it. Sons of Anarchy was polarizing; this show takes the pole and stabs you with it from the start.

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