Magazine article Variety

Texas Rising

Magazine article Variety

Texas Rising

Article excerpt


Texas Rising

MINISERIES: History. Mon. May 25.9 p.m.

WRITERS: Leslie Greif, Darrell Fetty. George Nihil

STARRING: Bill Paxton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olivier Martinez

alching the first six horn's of"Texas Rising," a wonderfully cast and otherwise completely wooden miniseries, one has to wonder what inspired the fislory channel to expand the production from six hours to 10. Chronicling a chapter in the Lone Star states bloody ascent to U.S. statehood that begins in the ashes of the Alamo, the Roland JofTe-direcled project juggles too many indifferently written, toughtalkin' characters, as if "Lonesome Dove" had experienced a sharp blow to the head. Fans of Westerns will no doubt be eager to immerse themselves in this once-ahundant, now-underutilized genre, but for those who tend to be discriminating about their'IV watching, don't mess with "Texas."

Granted, History has enjoyed considerable success with oaters in this particular window - witness the breakout ratings for "Hatfields & McCoys" in 2012 - and one suspects "Texas Rising" could capitalize on a similar dynamic, albeit in a less-ostentatious way. But even with its flaws, "Hatfields" was a much more accomplished production than this one, despite the gaudy assortment of actors who get dressed up for the rodeo.

It's a shame, really, since so many "remember the Alamo," to quote the oft-cited rallying cry, without knowing much about what happened thereafter. Beginning in 1836, "Texas Rising" seeks to fill in that gap, finding "Texian" Gen. Sam Houston (Bill Paxton) trying to wage a tactical fight against the larger army of Mexico's military leader Santa Anna (Olivier Martinez), a true sadist who seems to exult in ruthlessly murdering prisoners in order to send a message to the rebels.

Houston's problem is that he's outnumbered, and several of his more unruly subordinates are itching to avenge their losses in San Antonio, labeling Houston "gutless" for refusing to engage Santa Anna's forces. Houston, meanwhile, receives savvy advice from a deaf Tfexas Ranger (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who would be worth a regiment if he weren't coughing up blood; and help from a former paramour (Cynthia AddaiRobinson), who's eager to seek revenge for the loss of her brother. …

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