For Game of Thrones-level violence and depravity, the September 15th premiere of FX’s The Bastard Executioner is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
Fresh from his “triumph” glorifying mass-murdering, drug-running bikers on the (thankfully) concluded Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter moves to a new series: a thinly-veiled rip-off of HBO’s Game of Thrones titled The Bastard Executioner.
Indeed, it’s difficult not to believe that Sutter created Executioner simply because he could. Seeing the acclaim the HBO series received, and admittedly jealous of the show for winning Emmys when he never has, Sutter likely decided, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” And such a project was ideally suited to the showrunner’s temperament, since a medieval setting offers ample opportunity for depictions of graphic violence, explicit sex, and degradation of women which were de rigueur on Sons.
In the first episode alone, The Bastard Executioner forced every cable and satellite subscriber in America to pay for scenes like the following:
- A man tortures a prisoner shackled to the ceiling by flaying the flesh off his back.
- Lord Vintris’ army attacks a village. When the villagers resist, Lord Vintris uses a knife to slit a boy’s throat. His men graphically massacre the villagers. A close-up is shown of a woman being stabbed through the head.When Lord Ventris’ collector objects, he orders Wilkin to kill him. Wilkin impales the man with his sword.
- An unseen assailant approaches Petra and stabs her in her pregnant belly. The sword is seen penetrating the various layers of flesh surrounding the baby. He dips his gloved finger in the stab wound and draws a cross on her forehead in her own blood.
Subsequent episodes have contained similar scenes of murder and mutilation, including Wilkin cutting off Nia’s nose and holding it in his hand.
Of course, such violence has become typical on programs like Game of Thrones. But Game of Thrones is on HBO, where viewers must pay a premium fee to watch it. If FX wants to show similar violence, that network should also move to a premium tier, where only viewers who actually want to subsidize grisly violence and sadism will do so.
For forcing Americans to fund graphic gore, FX’s The Bastard Executioner is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
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