Sundance TV has renewed its heartbreaking drama Rectify for a fourth and final season set to broadcast later this year. The network’s first stab at original programming, Rectify has earned critical acclaim over its first three seasons and almost single-handedly put Sundance on the map as a network to watch.
Per a blurb from Sundance, the show follows “the life of Daniel Holden (Aden Young), who returns to his small hometown in Georgia after serving 19 years on death row. Having spent his entire adult life waiting to die, Daniel must now try to find a way to cope with his past and forge a “normal” life with a future before him. Daniel, who is still struggling with adapting to the routine aspects of modern life, affects everyone whom he comes in contact with, including his very fractured family, those working to protect him and those working against him on the side of law and order.”
“Rectify is in many ways an existential story that was allowed to come to life during an existential era in serial storytelling,” said Academy Award winning series creator Ray McKinnon (The Accountant, Randy and the Mob). “It was a case of perfect timing with the perfect partners. I have always felt that Rectify could end at any time or just as easily continue. Well, not easily. But there is no perfect ‘end’ for this story nor for these characters. They will continue to live on. We just won’t document them any longer. And the timing of this ‘non-end’ end feels exactly right. SundanceTV has been a dream to work with on this journey; I am so grateful to have been allowed the freedom to tell the tale I wanted to tell in the way I felt it should be told with the mad and beautiful collaborators who joined me on the ride… Oh wait, we haven’t shot the final season yet. I’ll get back to you.”
The series stars Aden Young (Black Robe, I Frankenstein), Abigail Spencer (Cowboys and Aliens, Oz the Great and Powerful), J. Smith-Cameron (Man on a Ledge, Guiding Light), Adelaide Clemens (Silent Hill: Revelation, X-Men: Origins – Wolverine), Clayne Crawford (A Walk to Remember, The Perfect Host), Luke Kirby (Take This Waltz, Shattered Glass), Bruce McKinnon (Lawless, The Dukes of Hazzard) and Jake Austin Walker (No One Lives, House of Bones).
What’s more, Sundance also revealed the premiere dates for three of its upcoming programs. First up is Hap and Leonard, which will debut on Wednesday, March 2 at 10 p.m. Based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale colloquially known by the same name, the series stars James Purefoy (Solomon Kane, A Knight’s Tale), Primetime Emmy Award nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, 12 Years a Slave), six-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, Drive), Jimmi Simpson (House of Cards, Zodiac), Bill Sage (American Psycho, Precious), Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman, Exam), Neil Sandilands (The Americans, House) and Jeff Pope (Prisoners, Black Snake Moan).
A six part “event series” the show comes to us via Jim Mickle (We Are What We Are, Cold in July) and Nick Damici (Stake Land, Mulberry Street) and according to Sundance follows “Hap Collins (Purefoy), an East Texas white boy with a weakness for Southern women, and Leonard Pine (Williams), a gay, black Vietnam vet with a hot temper. When Hap’s seductive ex-wife Trudy (Hendricks) resurfaces with a deal they can’t refuse, a simple get-rich-quick scheme snowballs into bloody mayhem.”
“It’s been a blast working with the great Joe Lansdale again to bring more of his iconic characters to the screen,” said Mickle. “Hap and Leonard demanded their own show, and we gave it to them. SundanceTV is the perfect home for our boys and everyone we’ve come to love in their unique universe. After premiering Cold in July at the Sundance Film Festival and now expanding to something equally one-of-a-kind on SundanceTV, it feels like we’ve come deliciously full circle.”
Next is The Last Panthers, another six part series, but this one is a “limited” series instead of an “event” series. In this instance Sundance means miniseries, but networks really need to standardize what they mean by this terminology. Anyway, this one’s inspired by the works of French investigative journalist Jerome Pieratt and it’ll launch on Wednesday, April 13 at 10 p.m. An international coproduction with Sky Atlantic and Canal+, the series has actually already aired in Europe and is only now making its way to America.
Created by Jack Thorne (A Long Way Down, How I Live Now), the show stars two-time Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton (In America, Sweet and Lowdown), Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, Day of the Falcon), Goran Bogdan (These Are the Rules, The Kids from the Marx and Engels Street) and two-time Academy Award nominee John Hurt (Alien, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1), and it “opens with a daring diamond heist bearing all the hallmarks of a gang known as the Pink Panthers. But the tragic death of a little girl during the raid sets a collision course in motion involving a British insurance agent (Morton), a French-Algerian cop (Rahim) and a Serbian diamond thief (Bogdan).”
“The Last Panthers is a complex dive into the labyrinthine underworld of Europe,” said the show’s BAFTA Film Award winning executive producer Peter Carlton (Four Lions, This is England). “SundanceTV’s dedication to challenging, international storytelling is unparalleled in the U.S. market, so we knew it was the perfect home for this project and were so happy to have the network on board as a co-producer. With production spanning across Europe – from Marseilles to Belgrade to London – this mini-series takes viewers on a thrilling adventure, and we expect SundanceTV viewers to respond enthusiastically.”
Finally, there’s Rebellion, a five-part Irish miniseries set to air over three nights at 9 p.m. from Sunday, April 24 to Tuesday, April 26. Originally commissioned for Irish broadcaster RTE One, the series is directed by Aku Louhimies (Frozen City, Man Exposed) from a script by Colin Teevan (Single-Handed, Vera) and stars Niamh Cusack (Heartbeat, Hereafter), Brian Gleeson (Snow White and the Huntsman, Wake Wood), Sarah Greene (The Guard, Burnt), Gus McDonagh (Love/Hate, Ripper Street), Charlie Murphy (Happy Valley, Philomena) and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones, In the Heart of the Sea).
A dramatization of the 1916 Easter Rising, the show “begins with the outbreak of World War I. As expectations of a short and glorious campaign are dashed, social stability is eroded, and Irish nationalism comes to the fore. The tumultuous events that follow are seen through the eyes of three young women and their families, lovers and friends from Belfast, Dublin and London as they play vital and conflicting roles in the narrative of Ireland’s independence. Some prioritize family loyalties; some are motivated by the noblest of ideals, some by opportunism; others take up arms, prepared to sacrifice everything for the dream of a better society and true independence.”
“Rebellion is a character-driven drama that follows three very different women and the role each one plays in the Easter Rising of 1916, a defining moment in Irish and British history,” explained Teevan. “Stories about the struggle for Irish independence have typically been told from a male and Nationalist point-of-view, so we’re excited to explore this pivotal time from multiple and largely female perspectives. As can be seen from recent uprisings in the Middle East, women are often the first to the barricades to demand change, but also the first to be banished back to their homes and to the footnotes of history once their cause has been successful. We’re so proud that Rebellion will be seen on SundanceTV, the home of many captivating and original international stories, and we feel certain that audiences will relate to each of our heroines, who are simultaneously flawed yet inspiring, guileful yet honest, and foolhardy yet brave.”
Sundance’s president of original programming and development Joel Stillerman talked up the news. “Coming off a year in which SundanceTV was the fastest-growing entertainment network in adults 25-54, we could not be more excited about the quantity and quality we are bringing viewers in 2016,” he said. “All of our new shows fit the network’s signature brand of unique storytelling, and together will make Wednesday night the new destination for SundanceTV originals.”