Heretofore known as the channel that brings British TV to American shores, as well as re-runs of old-ish American sci-fi shows, BBC America is joining the esteemed ranks of televisual content creators. Their just announced foray into original scripted programming is “Copper,” which their website describes as:
“[Set] in the Five Points Irish neighborhood of New York City in the 1860s. The series focuses on a rugged young Irish cop who has to navigate the unruly and sometimes violent currents of his immigrant neighborhood, while simultaneously interacting with uptown Manhattan high society and the emerging black community in Harlem.”
Literally, it is set in the same place and three years prior to Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, which makes me wonder if, eventually, the series will introduce Bill the Butcher and conclude its third season (if it lasts that long) with the gang war that ended the film. Now, “Copper” is not being billed as an adaptation of that movie, but I unabashedly love it, so any connection they can legitimately make to the film is fine by me. Well, except for the Cameron Diaz connection. But even if the new show never harks back to Scorsese beyond the locale, I love period pieces distilled through classic genre tropes, and this one has the exact right mix of creators/producers who know from TV, cops, crime, and period pieces to do the concept justice: Tom Fontana (“OZ,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), Will Rokos (“Southland”), Barry Levinson (yes, that Barry Levinson), and Christina Wayne (AMC executive over “Mad Men”).
It all sounds like a recipe ripe for getting me, at least, to watch BBC America with any regularity. Though, the idea that the Copper of the title must be Irish does come off as a little bit too generic - not that it isn’t historically accurate. Regardless, “Copper” sounds like a lot of fun, especially if they do recreate Bill in an Al Swearengen vein, so I am down like Priest Vallon was down with the ancient laws of combat. Too bad the series won’t premier until - yep, you guessed it - the summer of 2012.
In the time of mean, here are some period appropriate images to whet your appetite like mine:
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show We’re Not Fanboys, and can be called a c**ksucker on the Twitter @RobOfWar. Somebody steals from him, he cuts off their hands. They offend him, he cuts out their tongue. They rise against him, he cuts off their head, sticks it on a pike, raises it high up so all on the streets can see.