SundanceTV — the sister network to cable heavyweight AMC — has been on a roll in the last year, launching such gripping thrillers as Jane Campion’s gorgeous Top of the Lake, the riveting parolee drama Rectify (which I named the best new show of 2013), and its addictive (and terrifying) undead drama The Returned.
Later this month, the network will launch its latest original drama The Red Road, created by Aaron Guzikowski (who wrote last year’s twisty thriller Prisoners). Set in a small community in upstate New York, The Red Road depicts the deep racial tensions between white locals and the members of a Native American tribe, who live in the nearby mountains and are unrecognized by the federal government. Local sheriff Harold Jensen (Off the Map’s Martin Henderson) attempts to keep the peace, even as he finds himself drawn into the conflict between the two groups, a conflict that has deep personal roots both for Jensen and his brittle wife, Jean (Masters of Sex’s Julianne Nicholson), as well as a dangerous local thug Phillip Kopus (Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa), whose pasts are linked through tragedy and loss. As Jensen struggles to keep his troubled family together, a series of events threatens to unleash unspeakable violence.
Oh, and did I mention that the show also features Lisa Bonet and Tom Sizemore, the latter of whom plays a shadowy drug lord? But it’s the presence of Momoa — whose predatory glare as Kopus is enough to freeze one’s blood — that infuses The Red Road with moments of brutality and foreboding.