History has always been a top stop when it comes to documentaries, but it’s only been in recent years that the network has delved into original scripted dramas. The network found success in mininseries such as Emmy-winner Hatfields & McCoys and Sons of Liberty, but the only ongoing scripted series on History has been Vikings. With that drama going into its extra-large fourth season, news that History has greenlighted new originals Knightfall and Six proves that the network is ready for a big push toward scripted dramas.
Knightfall will chronicle the mysterious yet truthful accounts of the elite Crusade-era warriors known as the Knights Templar. This is the group that inspired such stories as the Knights of the Round Table of Arthurian legend and the Jedi Knights of Star Wars, and the series will cover everything from great secrets of the brotherhood to the loyalty that bonded the warriors together on the battlefield to the dark events that would immortalize Friday the 13th as a day of dread in popular culture.
The Knight’s Templar series has been ordered for a ten-episode Season 1, while is set to premiere in late 2016. Avengers star Jeremy Renner is attached to the project via his production company The Combine, and he’s expected to guest star on Knightfall.
For its second new original scripted series, History will be jumping ahead several hundred years to the 21st century for Six, a military drama inspired by current events told through the lens of the Navy SEAL Team Six. The plot will be loosely based on real missions handled by the Navy SEALs and will go into the effects of their high-octane heroics on their personal lives and relationships. The show is designed so that each season will cover one major mission, then switch to a new mission in a different theater of war for the next season.
Season 1 will run for eight episodes and follow the six SEALs on a job to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. The mission goes awry when they discover that a U.S. citizen is working with the terrorists. There’s no news just yet of when exactly Six will hit the airwaves, but it certainly won't be soon enough.
It's encouraging to see that History is not necessarily playing it safe with these new series; with the successful Vikings as the channel’s only ongoing scripted drama series, sticking with originals of the same genre or type might have been tempting. Knightfall and Six seem to differ wildly from Vikings as well as from each other. Hopefully, the variety of original programming that will be available on History will attract enough viewers to encourage even more scripted creativity in the future. After all, there are only so many episodes of Ancient Aliens that a person can watch without going crazy.