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‘Turn’ a step in the right direction for depleted AMC


It’s weird to think that the home of cable TV’s biggest ratings juggernaut is in need of another hit.

But AMC is in need of another hit.

“Breaking Bad” is done. “Mad Men” has only 14 episodes left. And recent efforts to restock the cupboards have been underwhelming at best. “The Killing” angered more viewers than it pleased, “Low Winter Sun” was a disaster, and “Hell on Wheels” seems to be airing in a vacuum.

The channel even has resorted to reality shows about freak-show performers, competitive taxidermists and arm wrestlers.

Yikes!

But while its latest drama isn’t likely to have the monstrous, widespread appeal of “The Walking Dead,” it’s at least teeming with quality.

“Turn” (9 p.m. today) follows Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a Long Island, N.Y., farmer who, along with his childhood friends, forms a society of secret agents that eventually helps George Washington win the Revolutionary War.

Based on Alexander Rose’s book “Washington’s Spies,” the series dramatizes the activities of The Culper Ring — Woodhull, Continental Army officer Benjamin Tallmadge (Seth Numrich), recluse Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall) and innkeeper’s wife Anna Strong (Heather Lind) — who laid the groundwork for modern espionage.

Even though it’s full of skulking around, secret meetings and clandestine signals to set up those secret meetings, “Turn” often is a little on the slow side. But its setting offers plenty of fertile ground for storytelling.

Aside from some flashbacks on Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” there’s nothing else set in that era on TV.

Which makes “Turn” perfect for AMC, the home of things you’d never see anywhere else.

It’s a kick: “In the Blood,” Las Vegan Gina Carano’s latest action movie, in which she plays a newlywed bent on vengeance, is now showing at Brenden Theatres at the Palms.

Ready to download: “The Immortal Augustus Gladstone,” an independent film directed in Las Vegas by Robyn Miller, the co-creator of the ’90s computer game phenomenon “Myst,” is now available on iTunes.

Bet on it: “Horseplayers” (10 p.m. Wednesday, Esquire Network) comes to Las Vegas for the $750,000 national handicapping championships.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567.