Emily Blunt's The English: 5 Thoughts I Had Watching Chaotic First Look At Amazon's New Western

Lady Cornelia Locke in jacket in The English
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Between The Boys' madcap superhero satire and its various action-dramas centered on badass characters named Jack, Amazon Studios and Prime Video are well-versed in giving viewers binge-worthy genre fare. And with the ongoing success of Kevin Costner's Yellowstone and other Taylor Sheridan originals, the streaming service understandably opted for some western fare of its own. First with Josh Brolin’s thought-provoking sci-fi series Outer Range, and now with Emily Blunt’s long-awaited series The English, which unveiled a hyper-hectic first look teaser that instantly had me transfixed. If also wildly stressed out. 

Take a gander at The English’s violence-laden video below, and read on to see if we shared the same mindset while watching.

Dubbed an “epic chase Western,” The English hails from Black Earth Rising’s Hugo Blick, and centers on Blunt’s Lady Cornelia Locke and the Pawnee ex-cavalry scout Eli Whipp (portrayed by Chaske Spencer) joining the same blood-soaked path across 19th century America on the way to a mysterious destination in Wyoming. There, the two characters will find themselves at the center of a bizarre murder investigation, where they’ll discover shared histories and other information that will both physically and psychologically push them to the brink. There’s a lot going on here, on top of all the racial and cultural themes and undertones involved with any historical look at this country. Now let’s take a closer look at the biggest thoughts that came to mind while watching the above. 

The English Looks Like 1883 On Tainted Cocaine (In A Good Way?)

Given that it takes place in the 1890s, The English obviously looks far more like Yellowstone's prequel drama 1883 than the mothership western itself, and I could easily see Tim McGraw's James Dutton and Sam Elliott's Shea Brennan getting caught up in this mess. Only, Emily Blunt’s new show would be a version of Taylor Sheridan’s universe that took a huge honking snort from a line of cocaine laced with psilocybin and powdered nightmares. It may look like a traditional frontier town where you wouldn’t need to worry about stepping on tiny bird skeletons with feathers reattached, but no, you DO need to worry about those little bones. As well as men with bloodied faces barking like rabid dogs. 

Chaske Spencer Has Come A Long Way Since Twilight

The English is filled with talented stars such as Rafe Spall, Toby Jones and Ciarán Hinds, but Emily Blunt will presumably be spending the most screentime opposite co-star Chaske Spencer, whose breakout role was the shapeshifting Sam Uley in the Twilight franchise. Granted, he's acted in a variety of projects in the interim, from Banshee to Longmire to Jessica Jones (and an upcoming MCU role in Disney+'s Hawkeye spinoff Echo), and this looks like it coule be as memorable a performance as anything else in his career. The actor, whose heritage comprises multiple tribes, will be holding his own against much excellence in the streaming western, and I can't wait to see it.

Looks Like The English Will Go Hard On Making Characters Suffer

I'm going to take it as a less-than-optimistic sign that the few people who are willingly smiling in this trailer are the least savory souls. And that there are so many instances of torture-y violence on display in footage that only spreads across 35 seconds or so. From being strung up upside-down between trees to being dragged across the ground by roped ankles to being slumped across a barb wire fence to that guy clearly aiming to shoot himself...it's kind of a lot. And that's not even mentioning how the teaser uses gunshots as its tension-building percussion .

I Don't Even Want To Know How Those Scars Happened

Just when the thought of tiny bird skeletons had leaked out of one's brain, and was replaced by the notion that we wouldn't see anyone with vicious scarring across her scalp and surrounding her eyes, this happened:

scarred character in The English

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Part of me wants to theorize about that ghastly scar on her head being from a crown of thorns, another part of me would like to never see or think about this freak show ever again. It's unclear what the hell is up with this character, as portrayed by Nichola McAuliffe, and that's actually okay with me, because whatever story accompanies all that is not going to be a fun and fancy-free tale. And probably isn't short.

Emily Blunt Should Be In Way More TV Shows

While Emily Blunt is obviously best known for her work on the big screen, from Edge of Tomorrow to The Quiet Place films to Jungle Cruise, I think many fans would love more instances where we can watch her build up a character across several hours of episodic TV. (Not all of them need barking bloody men, to note.) She was recently cast in the cinematic adaptation of the TV show The Fall Guy, opposite Ryan Gosling, but that’s obviously not the same thing. And I'm not saying I want to see another Fall Guy TV show, in case is is a monkey's paw kind of situation. I just want more Blunt on TV. 

The English is set to arrive for Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. starting on Friday, November 11, with all six episodes available to stream. Check out everything else Emily Blunt has been up to in film and TV, and head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way soon. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.