So there’s a new show on BBC America called Copper that is getting a lot of attention on the Western blogs and web sites. Interesting that, in that it takes place entirely in New York City. It does take place in the 1860’s, and being set in the 19th century seems to be enough to make something a western to most people (I’m looking at you, All-Star Western). Having a lawman carrying a sixgun doesn’t make you a western, though. Without even the idea that there is freedom over the horizon, where is the draw to move on, grow, expand?
I’m watching the show now and looking at the fetid squalor of the immigrant tenements, lingering in the shadows of privilege. A good part of my family ended up in the Philadelphia versions of places like that in the 19th century, many others ended up working in coal mines not too far away. I’m not sure which would be preferable. They are still better than poverty, pograms, and political oppression in the homelands, but not much.
So how is the show? Not bad. Ain’t no western, that’s for sure. The acting is good, though, the plot is interesting, and the anachronisms not too bad. It manages to have an Irish character without Irish nostalgia, a rare feat indeed. If anything, an hour of watching the vile corruption in a place where the taint of aristocracy won’t die and capitalism stomps the downtrodden unchecked sure makes you respect the purity of a Utah canyonland.