Waco premieres January 24th on the Paramount Network.
By Kevin Levine
True crime television shows were never really my cup of tea. Actually, if I’m honest, television in general was never really my cup of tea. It still isn’t; I’m definitely a movie guy. However, it’s TV series like Waco that are slowly turning me into a television fan. As to avoid spoilers, I won’t get into any nitty-gritty plot details here, but let’s jump into my general thoughts.
As I briefly mentioned above, Waco is a true crime television miniseries. The event that this show focuses on is the Waco Siege of 1993 which centered around David Koresh – played by Taylor Kitsch in this miniseries – and his followers known as the Branch Davidians. The ATF believed that the Branch Davidians were some sort of religious occult and suspected they were breaking weapons laws and violations, thus leading to an intense siege, firearms battle, and multiple fatalities. The conflict between the two groups is the center point of the miniseries leading to an insane climax right at the end of the third episode that has me cliffhanging and waiting for episode four to eventually air.
What’s particularly great about TV miniseries, in my opinion, is they feel like extended cinematic films that are broken down into smaller parts for television so they can explore deeper details than a theatrical film could. There’s much more flexibility and freedom with a TV miniseries than there is with a theatrical film that would probably need to be capped at 135 minutes. Waco honestly looks like a theatrical film; the cinematography and effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a program that was made for TV. So much of the material, effects, and way different scenes were shot and framed reminded me of films such as Sicario, Bone Tomahawk, Wind River, and Hell or High Water. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was secretly written by Taylor Sheridan.
Finally, I can’t talk about Waco without raving about this stellar ensemble cast. When the opportunity to review this miniseries was offered to me, I was hesitant. Reading the names in this show’s cast was all the convincing I needed to jump at the opportunity to review this show. Taylor Kitsch. Michael Shannon. Melissa Benoist. John Leguizamo. Julia Garner. Andrea Riseborough. Rory Culkin. Paul Sparks. Shea Whigham. If you’re not convinced by now, then what’s wrong with you? Everyone in this ensemble cast gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from them, if not the best. Taylor Kitsch gets a lot of well-deserved crap from critics because of some of the films he’s chosen to be in (Battleship, John Carter, American Assassin, Snakes on a Plane, and more), but after his performance in Only the Brave and now Waco, I can say confidently that Kitsch is a good actor.
I hate giving grades when I haven’t seen all the material to review, but based on the three episodes provided to critics, I feel comfortable giving Waco a good grade based on stellar acting and the fact that I felt like I was watching a theatrical film instead of a TV show. Here’s to hoping the remaining episodes live up to my expectations and blow me away!
I give Waco a B+.