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SundanceTV's 'The Red Road' is Off to a Strong Start

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The Red Road

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I've seen a preview of the pilot for SundanceTV's new show The Red Road ("Arise My Love, Shake Off This Dream"), and it is intriguing. The show premieres officially on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.

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The backdrop of this mystery/drama involves a band of Lenapes in rural New Jersey struggling to receive governmental recognition of their tribal identity. [It is not mentioned in the show, but Lenapes are also known as Delaware Indians.] If you like dramas that can get pretty dark such as AMC's Low Winter Sun or the BBC's Broadchurch, you may like this story about a policeman and an ex-con whose lives become inextricably entwined.

It stars Martin Henderson (The Ring) as Officer Harold Jensen, who is searching for a missing college student while dealing with troubles at home; Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) as Phillip Kopus, a half-Lenape drug dealer; Julianne Nicholson (Boardwalk Empire) as Jean Jensen, Harold's alcoholic wife; Tamara Renee Tunie (As the World Turns) as Marie, Philip's mother and the chief's sister; and Tom Sizemore (Black Hawk Down) as Jack Kopus, Philip's father, the local, small-time crime boss.

Zahn McClarnon (Longmire) plays Mike Parker, a deceptively violent Lenape criminal who works for Jack and Philip Kopus. Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga) plays Junior, Philip's foster brother. Allie Gonino and Annalise Basso play the Jensen daughters, Rachel and Kate Jensen.

Harold Jensen strongly disapproves of Rachel dating Junior. Jean Jensen is adamant in her opposition because she blames a Lenape friend of her late brother's for his death twenty years previously.

Rachel is naive in her dealings with Philip and Mike. Young Kate is there, so far, primarily to deliver exposition or prompt others to do so through dialogue, and to show Harold has a warm relationship with her, if not with his wife and elder daughter.

In the search for the missing student in the present time, investigators find the dead brother's belongings. A desperate Jean behaves erratically in her quest to find Rachel when the teenager does not come home.

SundanceTV, formerly the Sundance Channel, is one of the AMC Networks (formerly Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC), with AMC (American Movie Classics), IFC (Independent Film Channel), WE tv (formerly Romance Classics and WE: Women's Entertainment), and IFC Films. In 1995, Robert Redford and Showtime Networks, Inc. (SNI) founded The Sundance Film Channel as a joint venture.

They named it in honor of the Sundance Film Festival, the annual independent film festival that The Sundance Institute, which Redford founded in 1981, holds in and around his Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah. They sold the channel to AMC Networks a few years ago.

AMC Networks also owns the IFC Center (formerly the Waverly Theater), which is an art house theater in New York City's Greenwich Village, and IFC Films, which is a distributor of independent films. Given that these channels are or were devoted to showing movies, it is not surprising that each television program they make feel more a series of short films than typical television shows. Such is the case with "Arise My Love, Shake Off This Dream."

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