The Bastard Executioner is the latest FX TV series to have come straight from the somewhat twisted mind of Kurt Sutter. Of Sons of Anarchy fame, Kurt Sutter’s latest project is drawing attention, and it’s only in its third episode. (Or second episode, in a way, considering that the first episode was a two-hour premiere which included both the first and second episodes, much to the confusion of fans who tried to get their TV sets to record the second episode, which seemed to not exist.)
Is this the second episode of The Bastard Executioner or did I miss one?
— Hooker/Shenzi (@RollinInGlitter) September 23, 2015
Did I miss episode 2 of the bastard executioner? Why does it say this is episode 3?
— MUIRSQUAD (@kylemuir17) September 23, 2015
Viewers of the blood-soaked medieval drama are of two minds about their opinions on the show. Some love it, some hate it, and many are willing to give it a go to see if it will improve during the first season, mainly because they loved Kurt Sutter’s work in Sons of Anarchy so much that they’re willing to cut him a little slack the second time around.
USA Today was unimpressed by the double length pilot episode of The Bastard Executioner, saying it was filled with “boring expository dialogue” and that is only saving grace was that it “managed to squeeze in about seven minutes’ worth of totally awesome and utterly barbaric swordplay around all the talking.”
— Medievalists.net (@Medievalists) September 23, 2015
The Daily Beast was similarly unimpressed, raising the question of whether The Bastard Executioner is simply too violent and bloody for TV.
“And with a dismembered-body count tipping one side of the scales and thin character development and moral complexity failing to add enough balancing weight on the other, The Bastard Executioner might have the answer to the question: How much is too much TV violence?”
For some fans, though, the more violent the better, and the violence in The Bastard Executioner just reminds them of their long lost Sons of Anarchy characters and often gruesome storylines.
— Leah Miscavage (@Makeawish3) September 16, 2015
— Maureen Fairhurst (@HeyMo517) April 2, 2015
Stephen Moyer, who plays Milus Corbett on The Bastard Executioner, admitted that he decided to take the role because he loved Sons of Anarchy so much, Showbiz Junkies reported.
— Tiffany Stockton (@tiffys1983) September 23, 2015
In fact, the casting deal was sealed at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, when Stephen Moyer and his wife, Anna Paquin, of True Blood fame, posed for a photo with Theo Rossi and Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy. As Showbiz Junkies reported, after taking the photo, Kim Coates showed Stephen Moyer how to post the photo on Twitter (who knew that Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin were such technological newbies?). Kim Coates must have included some hashtags in the tweet, as Kurt Sutter saw it almost immediately and replied, asking the pair if they would like to appear on Sons of Anarchy. Just like that.
As much as Stephen Moyer says he would have been thrilled to have taken the opportunity, he and his wife just couldn’t make the dates work, so they had to pass.
“Anna and I are like crazy fans, stalker people and we went nuts. We were so excited, but unfortunately we couldn’t make the dates work with other stuff that we were up to. It just didn’t happen.”
Even though the Sons of Anarchy plan didn’t come to pass, Kurt Sutter obviously knew that he still wanted to work with Stephen Moyer in the future, so he stayed in touch. The pair tweeted back and forth and eventually met for a coffee. It was at this coffee date that Kurt Sutter offered Stephen the role of Milus in The Bastard Executioner.
Stephen Moyer seemed to be both amused and excited at what he called a “crazy turn of events.”
“How fangirly is that? It’s one of those things that I’m so amazed and thrilled by that crazy turn of events. Anybody that you really like, tweet them and tell them. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The jury is still definitely out on The Bastard Executioner, and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the first season unfolds. Some think it’s safe to say that, had it been anyone other than Kurt Sutter creating this show, The Bastard Executioner may have bitten the dust already. Let’s hope Kurt has some surprises up his sleeve for his diehard fans.
[Photo: Official Instagram for The Bastard Executioner, Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images]