With Cinemax's grungy cult hit Banshee preparing to close shop for its second season this Friday, fans of grindhouse pulp may want to go searching for the fledgling cable El Rey Network, where a 10-episode series version of the 1996 crime-horror hybrid From Dusk Till Dawn begins wreaking bloody mischief.
Robert Rodriguez, who founded El Rey, returns to his breakout genre roots, directing and writing the stylized pilot episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (Tuesday, 9/8c), which reintroduces the bank-robbing Gecko brothers: the suave Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and psycho loose-cannon Richie (Zane Holtz), who's beset by monstrous visions during a routine stop in a dusty roadside liquor store in Texas, setting off a chain of violent events that will eventually include a run-in with vampires.
With no pretensions beyond ratcheting up the grisly fireworks, Dusk plays with time in classic Tarantino-influenced style as we get to know the characters whose paths will cross with these bad boys, including a rugged Don Johnson (very good) as a weathered Texas Ranger and Jesse Garcia as his earnest, young partner. In future episodes, Robert Patrick will be seen as a pastor whose family gets caught up in their toxic adventures.
I suppose you could save time by just going back and watching the original movie (which starred George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, who wrote the script), but if you liked that one, you'll almost certainly dig this.
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THE TUESDAY GUIDE: One of the most sadly neglected shows of this season is ABC's Trophy Wife, so much funnier than its title suggests. In the first of a two-episode arc (9:31/8:31c), Pete (Bradley Whitford) decides to give Kate (Malin Akerman) the dream wedding she was denied when they eloped. Will it go smoothly? Probably not. ... Nickelodeon's far-reaching Nick News With Linda Ellerbee presents one of its more topical episodes in "Fleeing Syria: Children of War" (8/7c), featuring young refugees who have left their war-torn homeland to seek safety at Jordan's Camp Zaatari. ... Here we go again. It's time for Nationals on Fox's Glee (8/7c), which means a musical road trip as New Directions heads to Los Angeles. ... Bumbling Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) asks Jake (Andy Samberg) to be his best man on Fox's Brooklyn Nine Nine (9:30/8:30c), which to no one's surprise was just renewed for a second season.