There is no shortage of craft and ambition in The English, a miniseries that employs tropes of classic Westerns, like the soulful anti-hero and the loyal sidekick, but also twists them enough to make them feel fresh. For instance, instead of typical cowboys, we have as our leads Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), an aristocratic Englishwoman, and Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer), a native who also served in the US army. Both of them are terribly out of place in the Wild West, but they’re fueled with the kind of vengeful drive that leads to bloody outcomes, which are themselves staples of the genre.
The English is sweeping, both in scope and scenery, and solemn. Fans will appreciate how seriously the show treats the genre, and they’ll take pleasure in its familiarity, from the twisty mysteries and brutal disputes to the gritty backdrops and arid vistas. In this instance, the show’s ambition perfectly fits the genre.
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