In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, SundanceTV
In the UK: Thursdays (I'm guessing), Amazon Instant Video
When two actors who have starred in a TV show together are cast in a second show, generally it's for one of two reasons:
- Their pairing in the first show was very popular and the producers would like to recreate that chemistry
- Individually, they've got good followings so together there'll be two sets of fans watching.
Now, with the casting of James Purefoy and Michael K Williams in SundanceTV's new 80s-set 'swamp noir' Hap and Leonard, I think we can eliminate option 1. About seven people watched The Philanthropist, in which billionaire playboy Purefoy has a Damascene conversion and decides to go around the world being a hands-on charity worker (albeit one with oodles of cash), protected in his endeavours by bodyguard Williams.
No one's tuning in with the hope of seeing that chemistry recreated.
So that leaves option 2. But I'm still unsure that's the answer.
Michael K Williams I get. He plays the eponymous Leonard, a black gay criminal with a penchant for guns and beating up the neighbourhood gangsters. If the casting agent hadn't taken one look at the script and immediately said, "Hey, why don't we get the guy who played Omar in The Wire?" I reckon that would have been grounds for instant dismissal.
Purefoy, though, is a bit of a mystery. Don't get me wrong - I like Purefoy, I thought he was great in Rome and I've even spoken to him on occasion, when he seemed jolly nice and full of interesting opinions that I have outrageously quoted on many more occasions.
But he's a public school-educated, Shakespearean actor. He's not the first person said casting agent should immediately think of when trying to cast Hap, a white trash American from Texas who fought in Vietnam and who ends up committing crimes with his ex-wife (Mad Men's Christina Hendricks) when he and Leonard lose their fruit-picking job to a bunch of illegal immigrants.
I just don't get it.
I tell you what else I don't get. Hap and Leonard, that's what. Because I left that first episode thinking "WTF did I just watch?" and I'm not sure episode two clears things up any more for me.
Here's a trailer.