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Who knows why, but this morning, the TV series called “Turn” popped into my head. Actually, I do know why — just recently, I spotted one of the actors who played the dashing traitor, Major Andre, playing another dashing character in another series. This is a talent of mine and my husband David is amazed at how I can spot someone just by their voice or the turn of their head — I love surprising him. But I digress.
“Turn” was a fabulous dramatic historical series set during the Revolutionary War about the emergence of a spy network in and around colonial New York City that George Washington came to rely heavily on. It’s loads of fun — catch it if you can. Why was so engaging? Like a tasty cake or pie, it had all the ingredients of a great story:
Fascinating premise: The whole idea of a shadowy group of disaffected colonials outwitting the British at every turn just grabbed me. And the fact that a ragtag bunch of unsung heroes and heroines I’d never heard of helped win the war was irresistible. I wanted to know exactly how they did it — and “Turn” did not disappoint!
Great characters: The main character is a somewhat seedy, ne’er do well cabbage farmer on Long Island who’s got issues with his father. There is a gorgeous tavern-keeper who’s still carrying a torch for him though he’s married. There’s dashing Major Andre and his love interest, a rich colonial. Throw in Benedict Arnold, George Washington — a host of colorful characters, rich and poor, all superbly brought to life — and you have lots of action and loads of conflict and intrigue.
High-and-low worlds: The story constantly shifts scenes: We’re on a sylvan farm in Long Island, in waterfront taverns in New York, at Washington’s headquarters, peeking into aristocratic parlors in Philadelphia, strolling military camps. The seamless shifting from one scene to another keeps the story moving briskly and colorfully.
Surprising plot twists: Though you know how the story ends — America triumphs! — “Turn” unfolds in surprising ways. Like its name, it has many a twist and turn that manages to keep you guessing as a viewer, about just how it’s going to get where you know it has to go. That’s lots of fun. And of course, each episode ends on a cliff-hanger.
A tantalizing premise, colorful characters, a twisty plot, fabulous world-building — these are the ingredients of a wonderful story. We can mix this cake, too, as we all write on!