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Sons Of Anarchy Creator Kurt Sutter Has New Netflix Show In The Works That Sounds Excellent

As one of TV's rowdiest creators and showrunners, Sons of Anarchy mastermind Kurt Sutter will always have a welcome place on the small screen, and it sounds like he's setting up his next non-feature project as a streaming series at Netflix. Spoilers: it's not going to be a Cocomelon spinoff aimed at preschoolers, even though I'd love for Sutter to bring his dark sense of humor to such a project.

Rather, Kurt Sutter is working with Netflix on a mythology-heavy western series that's currently going by the working title of The Abandons. Considering Sutter is well-versed in craftly western-ly outlaw characters, this sounds like a perfect genre fit. With another period piece already happening at Netflix in the form of the monster drama This Beast, Sutter explained to Deadline that he's had an idea for a western series building up even before Sons of Anarchy entered the mix, but Deadwood came along with all of its badassery and muted those urges.

Then, as the pandemic wore on, the writer and director revealed he attempted to secure rights to an unnamed western IP, which didn't work out, and so his ideas and inspirations eventually took hold all on their own. Here's how Kurt Sutter explained the project's origins:

I’ve always been fascinated with the origins of La Cosa Nostra, how these Sicilian peasant families were being more than marginalized by the land barons and the aristocrats. These families banded together to defend themselves from these abusive land barons, and from that taking those matters into their own hands, La Cosa Nostra was born and became the authority and the law and the order of the land. There are other influences. Over the pandemic, I was watching reruns of Bonanza, and first of all, it completely holds up. I remember watching it as a kid, but I just remember there’s an episode where somebody gets killed, and Hoss just wants revenge, and I mean, like, dark fucking revenge. Ultimately, it’s a Sunday network TV ending, but I just realized that the Cartwrights were a bullet away from being outlaws, right, and I loved that it all came from that deep sense of loyalty to the family, the land, the town. Those were the origins of this, with the working title The Abandons.

The project's chances of coming to light were helped along after a former FX exec, Danielle Woodrow, took a position at Netflix, where western fare is popular but not necessarily in large supply. Such is the streaming service's eagerness for an Old West project that Sutter claims it was the quickest show-development process he's had yet. It probably helps that he's already got an outline in mind for how The Abandons' progression would go from season to season. In his words: 

That whole first season will be about the evolution of them as, you know, turning into outlaws, in a period before all the iconic outlaws that we know, like Jesse James and Billy the Kid. All those cats didn’t happen until after the Civil War, but the Pinkertons were around, so you know there were outlaws. So, it’s sort of like the precursor to the James gangs and other sort of iconic outlaws that we associate with the Wild West. So we might wink at history, say in Season 2 or 3 crossing paths with an 11-year-old Billy the Kid, and yet still be able to play in the fictional world, to me, is cool. And it helps me avoid the gunfights in the street, and experience the Western while I get to lean away from some of the expected tropes.

If Kurt Sutter can bring the same energy and world-building to The Abandons that he did to a project as expensively lofty as The Bastard Executioner, with Netflix backing the budget, then this could easily be the best western fiction this side of Sons of Anarchy vet Taylor Sheridan's expanding Yellowstone-verse and Scott Frank's Godless, which is already on Netflix. (There's almost too much assumed testosterone in this paragraph, so we have to move on now.)

Kurt Sutter's most recent TV co-creation, FX's S.O.A. spinoff Mayans M.C., is still airing and is heading for its fourth season, though Sutter stepped down as co-showrunner after Season 2, and before he was fired outright by FX for behind-the-scenes issues. Here's hoping everything goes smoothly as possible with The Abandons, and that its production process kicks into gear just as quickly as the pitch meeting. 

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.