History Comes Full Circle As ABC Orders A Reba McEntire Southern Gothic Show To Pilot

01.17.17

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Back in the early 1990s, country music icon Reba McEntire released several songs that had accompanying videos that could be construed as “amazing stand alone stories about Southern women who take no s—t from anyone and defend themselves and their loved ones at any cost.” Or, at least, that’s how my child self-interpreted both her cover of “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and “Fancy”. Each song and video was a slice of Southern Gothic, focusing on betrayal, corruption, and revenge.

Seventeen years later, ABC has recognized Reba McEntire as the Southern Gothic queen she is and has ordered a pilot starring the red-headed songstress as a small town Kentucky sheriff who is thrown together with an FBI agent to solve a horrible crime. (The most recent information came out back on January 10, but in the era of Peak TV™ sometimes things slip through the cracks.) If I’d known ABC was reading my secret diary wish list, I’d have been paying more attention. The official synopsis, via TV Line:

“Ruby Adair, the sheriff of colorful small town Oxblood, Kentucky, finds her red state outlook challenged when a young FBI agent of Middle Eastern descent is sent to help her solve a horrific crime. Together they form an uneasy alliance as Ruby takes the agent behind the lace curtains of this southern gothic community to meet an assortment of bizarre characters, each with a secret of their own.”

The as-yet untitled pilot springs from the mind of Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), who referred to the concept as a “Southern Gothic soap opera.” Which means the show better open with McEntire pumping a shotgun while wearing an elegant evening gown. Details at this time are sparse, but I’m tentatively excited about this one. Aside from American Horror Story: Coven and the first season of True Detective, the Southern Gothic sub-genre hasn’t gotten much love in the last few years. It’s time for cypress trees and small town secrets, decaying old stately homes and powerfully mysterious women. Man, okay. Let’s all just watch “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and “Fancy” music videos again to get hyped.

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