"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Sunday, December 17, 2017

AMC's 'Lodge 49' Series Update

Someone on another website jogged my memory about an earlier story I hadn't checked on in a while. Back in October 2016, AMC announced preliminary work on a new comedy/drama series to be called Lodge 49 about a fictional fraternal lodge in California. Nothing much beyond what was released at that time came out until August of this year, and I missed that announcement. The 10-episode series has actually been cast now, and is going to premiere "sometime" in 2018. Actor Wyatt Russell (photo) has been cast as main character Sean "Dud" Dudley, a new member of Lodge 49. In real life, he is the son of actors Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. 

From AMC's latest release about the upcoming show:

Written and created by Jim Gavin, Lodge 49 is a modern fable set in Long Beach, California and centered on Dud (Wyatt Russell), a likable ex-surfer who attempts to maintain his positive outlook on life while still reeling from the death of his father, the collapse of the family business, and any semblance of the idyllic middle-class life he knew. Dud finds himself deposited by fate at the doorstep of Lodge 49, home to the Ancient and Benevolent Order of the Lynx, a dusty dying fraternal order.
There he meets his mentor, Ernie Fontaine (Brent Jennings), a “Luminous Knight” of the Order, who sells plumbing supplies by day. Despite the constant pushback from his more skeptical, pragmatic twin sister, Liz (Sonya Cassidy), Dud and Ernie find themselves drawn by the Lodge into some long-buried secrets and modern day conspiracies. Through his newfound connection with the Lodge, its mysteries and its people, Dud comes to find the missing sense of purpose in his life and confront his deepest fears and greatest hopes.
Other details can be gleaned from the casting bios on AMC's site. 

Ernie Fontaine is an African-American "Navy veteran, plumbing supplies salesman, longtime bachelor, working class 'Renaissance Man,' and longtime member of the Order of the Lynx, Lodge 49." 

Liz Dudley, Dud’s twin sister is "smart, fiercely independent, deeply cynical, and searching for a way to escape her life." 

Scott Mills (Eric Allan Kramer) is a "Long Beach Port Harbor Patrol officer and straight shooter, who enjoys his personal watercraft and playing drums in a surf rock cover band." 

And Blaise St. John (David Pasquesi) is the "resident philosopher of the Lynx. He tends bar at Lodge 49 and runs his own pot dispensary." Sounds like a bartender variation of Claudy's The Old Tyler. Or maybe Wodehouse's The Oldest Member of the Club. The description doesn't say it, but I'm guessing he's "crusty-but-benign."

In its original press releases last year, AMC posted the following:

“Lodge 49 is a show that defies easy categorization. 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” said Joel Stillerman, President of Original Programming and Development for AMC and SundanceTV. “This is a formidable creative team beginning with series creator Jim Gavin, show runner Peter Ocko, and the awesome producing team of Dan Carey and Paul Giamatti.”
As I have observed over the last year, television seems to have suddenly discovered fraternalism as a worthy subject matter, and not merely as an object of parody. Between Queen Sugar's depiction of a Prince Hall lodge's funeral service, AMC's Lodge 49, Netflix's college fraternity drama Burning Sands, and most recently, History Channel's Knightfall, it may be that depictions of fraternal brotherhood resonate with hope during deeply cynical and fractious times like ours. These programs certainly all seem to reinforce that. I wonder if it will translate into real live interest.

No photos have been released of the sets or of Lodge 49's actors in character. However, the Internet Movie Database has all ten of the episode titles listed, so I presume the series is entirely scripted by now. 

Readers here may be pleased to know that the title of Episode 1 is, "As Above, So Below."

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