Television has historically not treated the topic of Freemasonry in particular, or fraternalism in general, very kindly over the decades. Lodges have usually been seen as fodder for comedy, from Andy Griffith (above), and The Honeymooners, to The Flintstones, The Simpsons, and many others. Despite the serious role that fraternal groups have played in the lives of so many millions of members, lodges are usually reduced to little more than hard drinking, stripper-pinching, black-balling, hatwear-challenged parodies of Shriners.
Interestingly, two developments have happened this year that give hope to writers taking a different look at how important fraternalism can be to an awful lot of people. The first was a recent episode of Queen Sugar on the OWN network, which depicted a Prince Hall Masonic funeral service in modern Louisiana.
Now, AMC has announced a new 10-episode dramatic television series - Lodge 49 - that will be hitting the airwaves soon, and it will revolve around a modern fraternal organization.
From Deadline.com today:
Written and created by [Jim] Gavin, is described as a modern fable set in Long Beach. It centers on Dud, a deadbeat but charming ex-surfer who joins a fraternal order hoping to reclaim the simple, happy lifestyle he lost when his father died. Through the Lodge and his newfound connection with the other members, Dud will come to find the missing sense of purpose in his life and confront his deepest fears and greatest hopes. Other key characters in the series include Liz Dudley, Dud’s twin sister and Ernie Fontaine, a middle-aged African American and long-time lodge member who welcomes him into this mysterious new world.
“ is a show that defies easy categorization,” said Joel Stillerman, President of Original Programming and Development for AMC & Sundance TV. “It is, at once, a show about a loveable loser, the idea that life can be magical if you look at it from the right angle, what it means to be on the fringe, and the importance of community. It’s also incredibly funny, poignant and truly entertaining.”The series is just beginning the early writing phase, and is being created by Jim Gavin, Peter Ocko, and executive produced by Paul Giamatti.