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Saints & Strangers Preview

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

In recent history, the tarnish has come off the American Thanksgiving origin story, and this weekend, National Geographic gets into the thick of it with a two-night scripted miniseries that stars a slew of familiar faces.

The four-hour event, which filmed in South Africa, has an extremely large cast that includes Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Ron Livingston (Boardwalk Empire), Ray Stevenson (The Divergent series), Natascha McElhone (Californication), Brian F. O’Byrne (Aquarius), Anna Camp (True Blood), Tatanka Means (The Night Shift), Kalani Queypo (Aspen the Series), Michael Greyeyes (Klondike), Raoul Trujillo (Salem), and Barry Sloane (Revenge). I’m particularly chuffed about Sloane because his surprisingly compelling summer series, The Whispers was one and done when ABC opted against a second season. Click here for a rundown on who’s who.

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Here’s the formal synopsis: Saints & Strangers goes beyond the familiar historical account of Thanksgiving and the founding of Plymouth Plantation to reveal the trials and tribulations of the settlers at Plymouth: 102 men, women, and children who sailed on a chartered ship for a place they had never seen.

Of this group, half are those we think of as “pilgrims,” religious separatists who abandoned their prior lives for a single cause: religious freedom. The other half, the “merchant adventurers,” had less spiritual and more material, real-world objectives. This clash of values created complex inner struggles for the group as they sought to establish a new colony, compounded by a complicated relationship with the local Native American tribes. The conflicting allegiances among these groups culminated in trials of assimilation, faith, and compromise, that continued to define our nation to this day.

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Photo Credit: National Geographic Channel

Saints & Strangers airs Sunday and Monday nights at 9/8c on National Geographic Channel. Here are a few sneak peeks.

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