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AMC and Sundance Channel Unveil New Drama Series at TV Critics Panel, 'Rectify' and 'Returned' Are Back

Photo of Amy Dawes By Amy Dawes | Thompson on Hollywood January 11, 2014 at 9:13PM

With two of its signature shows becoming past tense, AMC is reaching even deeper into the past to stake out its future. Meanwhile, sister network The Sundance Channel revealed a spate of original programming during the 2014 Television Critics Association press tour.
Sundance Channel's 'The Red Road'
Sundance Channel's 'The Red Road'

Yet another new series with crossover elements from the feature film world was presented -- "The Red Road," developed by AMC sister network The Sundance Channel as its second wholly owned original, after "Rectify."   Feature film director James Grey helmed the pilot for the series, introed by Sundance Channel president Sarah Barnett as a "gripping, multi-level thriller that presents two distinct visions of America today as played out in the conflict between two wildly different men."  Jason Momoa and Martin Henderson portray those men -- a Native American ex-con and a sheriff who are residents of the Ramopo Mountains, a rural area outside New York City.  Also starring are Julianne Nicholson ("August: Osage County"), as the sheriff's schizophrenic wife, and Tamarie Tunie.  The series premieres Feb 27 on The Sundance Channel.  

"The line is continually blurred between the good guys and the bad guys in this," said Henderson.  "That's what makes it interesting to play."  The series' creator and writer Aaron Guzikowski, who also penned the theatrical thriller "Prisoners," described his attraction to life's menacing underside. "For some reason darkness feels comfortable to me -- there's something beautiful about it," he said.  "It's an escape from the banalities that really do drag me down." The series was originally developed at HBO, said its exec producer Bridget Carpenter.

"Rectify," the Sundance original that became one of the most critically admired shows of 2013, is returning for a second season that begins shooting in Georgia in coming weeks, Barnett said.   The new season will explore the effect ex-con Daniel Holden's presence is having on the others in his life, said producer Mark Johnson.  Asked how it might differ from the very slow, deliberate pace of season one, which traced, one by one, Holden's first seven days out of prison, creator Ray McKinnon joked "now we're doing half-days."  Actually, he confessed, that device will be left behind. 

The French vampire series "The Returned" will also come back for a second season on the Sundance Channel, said Burnett, as will "The Writers Room," in which screenwriter and actor Jim Rash ("The Way Way Back") interviews the creative staffs of top television shows.

This article is related to: News, Television Critics Association Awards, Television, Rectify, Jamie Bell, James Gray, James Gray, AMC, Mad Men, SundanceTV, TV, TV News

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.