The basic cable network FX kicked off press tour Friday with a slew of announcements, including premiere dates for two returning anthology series and the launch date for Kurt Sutter’s latest project, “The Bastard Executioner.”
The Emmy-winning (miniseries) sophomore run of “Fargo” launches Oct. 12. This true-crime story that isn’t true is set in 1979. It focuses on young state trooper and Vietnam war vet Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson), whose older self was a character in season one.
The debut season made a passing reference to the Sioux Falls Massacre, an integral part of the upcoming installment. Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemmons, Jean Smart, Ted Danson, Jeffrey Donovan, Bokeem Woodbine, Zahn McClarnon and Brad Garrett also star.
“I don’t think there always has to be a Solverson,” creator Noah Hawley said when asked whether the likable Midwest family would always be a part of the anthology. “It’s a big world with a lot of stories.”
The 10-episode series will air at 9 p.m. (Central) Mondays. Critics got a chance to see the first episode; suffice to say at this point that you’re in for a real treat.
READ MORE: Bruce Campbell talks going Dutch on ‘Fargo’
Lady Gaga makes her TV series acting debut Oct. 7 when “American Horror Story: Hotel” is back for 13 episodes.
Gaga wasn’t at the Beverly Hilton on Friday but we learned a little more about her character, Elizabeth, during the show’s panel. She’s the rich owner of the titular L.A. hotel, a “social doyenne who is consumed with art and fashion,” according to co-creator Ryan Murphy. She has a “nefarious plan” that’s hatched in the series premiere. The singer starts shooting the series on Monday.
The cast for this fifth season includes Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Wes Bentley, Matt Bomer, Chloë Sevigny, Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson, Evan Peters and Finn Wittrock. It will air at 9 p.m. (Central) Wednesdays.
Sept. 15 marks the two-hour series premiere of “The Bastard Executioner,” a bloody, medieval tale set in Wales and revolving around religion, war and, more specifically, 14th century warrior Wilkin Brattle (Lee Jones).
Brattle’s life is changed when a divine messenger convinces him to lay down his sword and lead the life of another man: a journeyman executioner.
A blend of fictional characters and true history, the show comes from “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter, who does double duty as an actor in the series. Sutter’s wife and “SOA” alum Katey Sagal also stars, along with “True Blood’s” Stephen Moyer. The 10-episode first season will air at 9 p.m. (Central) on Tuesdays.
“It’s going to be hard on a weeknight to get people to watch a two-hour pilot that ends at midnight [Eastern],” FX Networks chief John Landgraf conceded about the lengthy premiere, adding that’s what the DVR is for. He feels the show’s extended entry is warranted because the first 45 minutes simply isn’t enough to get viewers sucked in.
“We always knew this pilot, because it’s an origin piece, was going to be long,” Sutter said during the show’s panel Friday, noting that the series is “an opportunity to work out all of my Catholic shit.”
Fans of Sutter’s outlaw biker drama “SOA” won’t be surprised to learn there’s plenty of violence and bloodshed in the medieval world of “Bastard Executioner.”
“The violence, as absurd as it could be sometimes on ‘Sons,’ it always came from an organic place; it was never done in a vacuum. To every violent act there were ramifications,” Sutter told TV critics. “That’s my same mandate here. Anything that happens, be it battle sequences or an execution or a torture scene, it comes out of story.”
Other news from FX:
** Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse’s thriller “The Strain” has been picked up for a third season next summer. Season two is currently airing at 9 p.m. (Central) Sundays.
** The net has ordered the new comedy series “Better Things,” co-created by Pamela Adlon (“Louie”), who stars as a working woman trying to raise her three daughters on her own. The 10-episode first season will be produced by Louis C.K.’s production company (C.K. co-wrote and directed the pilot) and star Mikey Madison, Riley Watson, and Olivia Edward as Adlon’s kids.
** “Louie” is taking a long vacation. Read more about it from The Wrap here.
** The newest FX network, FXX, has picked up the animated action-buddy comedy “Cassius and Clay” from “Archer” creator Adam Reed and “Modern Family” producer Megan Ganz. Kaitlin Olson and Lake Bell star as the titular bandits trying to survive in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic American South. The first season (10 episodes) is slated to air next year when it will be paired with the seventh season of the animated comedy “Archer,” which jumps ship from FX to FXX in 2016.