American Gothic
American Gothic
TV-PG | 22 September 1995 (USA)

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    Save your money for something good and enjoyable

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    good back-story, and good acting

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    If the ambition is to provide two hours of instantly forgettable, popcorn-munching escapism, it succeeds.

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    The South Carolina town of Trinity is dominated my Lucas Buck, the town's sheriff. In the opening episode he goes out to the Temple household where the father appears to have snapped and attacked his children Merlyn and Caleb. Caleb gets away but Merlyn isn't so lucky. She isn't dead though… at least not until Sheriff Buck breaks her neck! As the series progresses he tries to take Caleb under his wing; something others who care for him, notably his cousin Gail who comes to town soon afterwards and Dr Matt Crower try to stop. It soon becomes apparent that things in Trinity aren't quite normal; Merlyn regularly appears to her brother, and sometimes others, like a guardian angel and it appears that Lucas has powers that aren't quite natural. These powers are subtle; those he helps think he is a good man and those who cross him are likely to suffer 'accidents'. Later it emerges that Lucas has a reason for taking an interest in Caleb; something that becomes more disturbing as we learn more.This was a really fine series; I enjoyed it when I first watched it on television and even more when I watched it on DVD. Talking of the DVD if you are preparing to watch the series one should be aware that the episodes are in the order they were broadcast which is not the correct order… I'd strongly advise watching them either in the order listed here or that on Wikipedia… they are almost identical just one episode switched; I think the latter is correct but wouldn't swear to it. Either way you'll finish on the final episode rather than ending up confused.The series contains elements of horror but it is fairly subtle; chilling rather than terrifying. That isn't to say there aren't any disturbing moments though. The story is well told with the main story being spread over the whole series. Individual episodes also contain standalone stories which usually illustrate just how dangerous Lucas is. The cast are great; Gary Cole dominates the series as Lucas Buck; he makes it believable that many of those who deal with him won't see just how evil he is. Young Lucas Black also impresses as Caleb Temple; a character who develops impressively over the course of the series. There are plenty of other interesting characters; Sarah Paulson brings an otherworldliness to the role of Merlyn's ghost; Brenda Bakke is delightfully seductive as Selena, school teacher and lover of Lucas Buck; Paige Turco as the relatively normal Gail and Nick Searcy as Deputy Ben Healy, a man who wants to do the right thing but can't stand up to his boss. It is a shame that the series ended after just one season but the ending is ambiguous in a good way so perhaps it is good that it ended while it was still good. Overall I'd definitely recommend this to anybody after a rather different TV series.

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    Lucas Buck (Gary Cole) is the revered sheriff of Trinity, South Carolina. Underneath the facade, he uses his dark powers to manipulate and blackmail the folks in this town. It's Caleb Temple (Lucas Black)'s birthday. His father kills his disturbed sister Merlyn Temple (Sarah Paulson) with a shovel. It turns out that it is all Lucas Buck's doing. He had raped Caleb's mother in front of Merlyn and he is Caleb's biological father. Caleb's mother committed suicide after giving birth. Lucas intends to take Caleb by becoming his legal guardian. Caleb's cousin reporter Gail Emory (Paige Turco) returns to town to oppose it. Dr. Matt Crower (Jake Weber) suspects Lucas of improper dealings. Selena Coombs (Brenda Bakke) is Caleb's mysterious teacher. Deputy Ben Healy (Nick Searcy) struggles in fear under Lucas' command. Caleb sees the spirit of Merlyn who battles Lucas from the grave.Gary Cole takes control of this series. Lucas Black gives it his all to play opposite him. I figured either Jake Weber or Paige Turco would be the star and the point of view for this show. However both characters become somewhat secondary. I would like less cheesy effects to denote the supernatural. Creator Shaun Cassidy is dipping his toe into this work and he shows some competency. It's damn good for an early effort.

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    I watched this show on the basis of it being told it was reminiscent of David Lynch's Twin Peaks - a show which I adore. The show quickly starts introducing us to the main characters and rather unusually the pilot episode is to me the best of the lot, its extremely dramatic and really gets out the whole evil side of the show ready to progress throughout the rest of the season. My one biggest criticism is I felt a little let down by the show - probably not through its own fault, as it got cancelled after a mere 1 season, it seemed to display show much potential and it deserved a lot better treatment than it got. The acting is excellent, and this show has some of the best characters (good and evil) in it I have ever seen that are well developed in a short space of time. There is the odd cheesy effect for the first 5 or ten shows which are a bit overly dramatic, but this is rectified as the season progressed. Well worth a watch, definitely something out of the ordinary!

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    I recently purchased the DVD set and I have watched it all the way through all 22 episodes in three days! I so wish there had been more season's! I have a huge crush on Gary Cole and his character Lucas Buck. What a wicked wicked man. Gota love him. There was everything in this series, love, hate, magic, etc. etc. It was very well written and the actors are so believable. How about coming back out with more season's now???? I know Caleb's character has grown up and everyone has gotten older, but it might make a great series still... This is a must have DVD collection for everyone who likes suspense and wicked characters, however lets leave Selena off the next season!!!

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