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With as lengthy and varied a bibliography as anyone else currently writing, author Stephen King has seen many of his novels and short stories brought to life, and both the TV and film sides are developing projects at a rapid pace. Mr. Mercedes is the latest TV show to be adapted from the published side of King's imagination. (Read what we thought about it.) But while much of the King of Horror's time on TV has come via broadcast and cable channels, that's not the case with Mr. Mercedes, and if you were wondering were to find it, look no further than Audience Network.
A intense and thrilling crime drama that earns its share of laughs (both good-natured ones and gallows-esque ones), Mr. Mercedes fits in nicely with Audience Network's other original scripted series -- which includes dramas Kingdom, Ice and Rogue, among others -- and is hopefully a sign of what's to come from the lesser-mentioned outlet. Audience Network isn't currently available for anyone with a cable/satellite subscription, as it's the property of AT&T, and is thus exclusive to customers of DirecTV and DirecTV Now, as well as those who use AT&T U-verse.
In that way, it's similar to high-profile dramas from Netflix and Amazon, as it's as much a carrot to dangle in front of potential customers as it is a prize for those who've already signed on. Admittedly, it takes a lot more than just a single TV show to get people to upend whatever TV service(s) they're tied to, but Mr. Mercedes is definitely the kind of show that could cause such an upending. And guess what? Audience Network knows nobody likes to blindly go into those kinds of decisions, so it put up the first two Mr. Mercedes episodes up for anyone to watch FOR FREE, without the need to buy into anything. That's pretty awesome, as the second episode hasn't even aired live yet. Admittedly, it takes a lot more than just a single TV show to get people to upend whatever TV service(s) they're tied to, but Mr. Mercedes is definitely the kind of show that could cause such an upending.
Based on Stephen King's trilogy-starting novel from 2014, Mr. Mercedes features an intentionally stereotypical set-up that gets pulled apart, with the ever-stoic Brendan Gleeson portraying the liquor-loving Bill Hodges, a former detective who was driven to retirement by an unsolved case. The crime in question involved someone driving the titular vehicle into a crowd of people, and the sick bastard behind the murders isn't keen on letting Hodges forget that justice hasn't prevailed.
The story doesn't put viewers in Hodges' shoes, as far as keeping the killer an unknown entity. No, Mr. Mercedes introduces everyone to Harry Treadaway's mentally disturbed Brady Hartsfield, an electronics whiz whose upbringing seemed tailor-made to bring pain to others. He lives a migraine-filled life with his mother, played by Kelly Lynch, and their relationship is...unique, to say the least. This cat-and-mouse tale actually works like a cat-and-cat story, with each man seeing who can break the other one first, with Brady often having the upper hand.
While Brendan Gleeson and Harry Treadaway would be solid enough a draw for Mr. Mercedes, the show is as stocked talent as any of Audience Network's original series, both on the screen and behind the scenes. It was developed for TV by Ally McBeal and Boston Legal maestro David E. Kelly, and the series also co-stars such names as Weeds vet Mary-Louise Parker, Cristela's Justin Lupe, Moonlight's Jharrel Jerome, Jag's Scott Lawrence, Two and a Half Men's Holland Taylor, UnReal's Breeda Wool and Dennis the Menace's Robert Stanton.
Though The Dark Tower's long and winding road to feature filmdom may not have been worth the wait for all fans -- something that apparently hasn't eliminated people's hunger for a Dark Tower TV show -- there's no lack of Stephen King adaptations on the horizon, from Mike Flanagan's Gerald's Game for Netflix and Andrés Muschietti's theatrical take on the terror-filled IT, and tons more. (We're especially excited for Hulu's Castle Rock, too.) But while none of those projects are here just yet, Mr. Mercedes arrived last week and it's ready to drive you mad with suspense in only one place.
Tune into Audience Network every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, and you'll be set for one of TV's best new dramas of 2017. Or if you're not a customer yet, go check out those two first episodes for free, and you can get a peek at what to expect on the trailer on the next page. If you're in need of more new and returning shows hitting the airwaves later this year, head to our summer premiere guide and our fall TV schedule.