I taped a miniseries a month or so ago called INTO THE WEST, and just got around to watching the first 2 episodes last night. It was broadcast on TNT in the US earlier, and the CBC broadcast it in Canada, but honestly if I hadn't been scrolling through listings I would have missed it. I didn't even see any trailers or promo spots. And missing it would have been a shame.
I'll admit to taping it simply because Matthew Settle's name jumped out at me. He was in Spielberg's Band Of Brothers and that series changed the way I watched television. Another night I noticed Tyler Christopher's name as it was starting to tape, and Keri Russell. There are a number of well known names in this production including Beau Bridges, Irene Bedard, Graham Green, Gordon Tootoosis, Josh Brolin, Gary Busey, Skeet Ulrich - the list goes on and on.
The settling of the western US and the treck through to California is not a period of history that particularly interests me, but I find myself completely invested in the characters already. It switches between the point of view of the Wheeler family of Virginia, the main character Jacob Wheeler, and the POV of a village of Lakota Indians. Later we see some Cheyenne, and I still have 4 more episodes to watch so it will be interesting to see what develops. These 2 pov's are intertwined as Jacob marries a Lakota woman he rescues, and his cousin Naomi marries her captor, a Cheyenne Chief.
Spielberg has done a marvelous job of taking a period of history I always found boring and bloody and making it come alive, very spiritual. The incidents during the wagon train from Independence, Missouri to California is very true to actual occurences - storms, deaths during fording, disease, etc. But from Spielberg I would expect nothing less. I am looking forward to the next 4 episodes....if I can keep my eyes open. That's 8 more hours!