The rise of prestige TV has mirrored the comeback of genre shows, especially in the wake of the success of Game of Thrones. At first, it was just a spate of British (or British-esque) fantasy series adaptations, from Outlander to His Dark Materials, but as the 2020s go on, the net is expanding. Bridgerton brought regency romance, Around The World In 80 Days brought back action-adventure. Over on HBO Max, Our Flag Means Death is going all-in on pirates, while AMC+ had multiple vampire series in the works. But the latter streaming service is also bringing back one of the oldest TV genres: The Western, with That Dirty Black Bag.
Like many of these genre series, the cast leans heavily on high-class British talent, which is why, despite the Americanness of the Western genre, this is a show that we're keeping an eye on over here at Telly Visions. It also helps that this is a true spaghetti western series, filmed in Italy, Spain, and Morocco. (The Italian settings of the 1940s and 50s era western movies gave rise to the moniker.) It comes from an Italian production studio, Palomar, in conjunction with BRON Studios, which fans of U.K. series will know as the studio behind such series as Kin, Ten Percent (the U.K. remake of the French comedy Call My Agent), and films like The Green Knight.
The cast is also mainly British, with leading stars Dominic Cooper (Sense & Sensibility) as Arthur McCoy and Douglas Booth (And Then There Were None) as Red Bill. The eight-part series covers the eight-day clash between McCoy and Bill. The series is not based on real people from the old west but an entirely fictional piece from Italian director Mauro Aragoni (Nuraghes S'Arena). Aragoni co-wrote the series with the team responsible for Bron Studio's The Hunter, Silvia Ebreul, Marcello Izzo, and Fabio Paladini. He also directed most episodes alongside Brian O'Malley (The Lodgers).
Check out the trailer:
Here's the synopsis:
That Dirty Black Bag is a raw, epic, and romantic series about the dark side of the Far West. The story describes the 8-day clash between Arthur McCoy, an incorruptible sheriff with a troubled past, and Red Bill, an infamous, solitary bounty hunter known for decapitating his victims and stuffing their heads into a dirty black bag, because, as he puts it, 'Heads weigh less than bodies.' The drama echoes and pays homage to the classic spaghetti western, capturing the genre's legendary irony while revolutionizing it in a modern way for new audiences. The series tells of bounty hunters, bandits and bloody vendettas, lonely souls driven by such great passions as faith, love, and revenge. In the world of That Dirty Black Bag, there are no heroes, nobody is invincible, and predators become the prey.
Cooper and Booth co-star alongside Rose Williams (Sanditon), Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey), Niv Sultan (Tehran), Guido Caprino (Medici), Christian Cooke (Ordeal by Innocence), Paterson Joseph (Vigil), Ivan Shaw (Nocturne), Eugene Brave Rock (Wonder Woman 1984), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Travis Fimmel (Vikings).
That Dirty Black Bag premieres Thursday, March 10, on AMC+ and will run on a weekly schedule with one new episode arriving every Thursday to follow for the next seven weeks.