James Patrick Riley and Jonathan Wilson, apparently undeterred by the limited success of the last entertainment venture aimed at Tea Partiers, have teamed up to make Courage, New Hampshire, a one-hour drama about Colonial America that premieres Sunday in California.
The show takes place in New Hampshire in 1770, and in the first episode, called “The Travail of Sarah Pine,” a woman accuses a British soldier of fathering a child out of wedlock. According to the show’s site:
They were a sturdy lot of men and women who dreamed of a city built on a hill. Their struggle to create that city and to sustain a republic dedicated to the rare notion of individual freedom and “unalienable rights” has outlived them, but there’s a side of their story we don’t often study: what made them strong enough to fight?
“I’d like to concentrate on some of the regular folk who made the Revolution possible,” Riley said, and “mix the narrative tension of The Sopranos and the redemptive, heroic American exceptionalism of Frank Capra.”
Sample dialogue from the preview: “God’s ways are mysterious. We can’t know the particulars, just the broad strokes.”
Wilson, according to Paul Bond of the Hollywood Reporter, “started in Hollywood as an assistant in ICM’s motion picture literary department and became director of development for Peter Hyams, working on films like End of Days with Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Wilson formed the Pasadena chapter of a Tea Party group, and brought on Riley, “an experienced Patrick Henry impersonator,” to perform at an event.
“I was surprised to learn how many Tea Partiers there are in Hollywood,” Riley told THR. “Most won’t talk about it, though.”
The pair’s production company, Colony Bay Productions, put together the first Courage episode, which Wilson funded with $120,000 of his own money. He also offered up the apple and pear farm he owns, Riley’s American Heritage Farm, as a set. Though Colony Bay is trying to find a distributor, reportedly talking with Glenn Beck’s GBTV and Kelsey Grammer’s Right Network, for now the show is going straight to DVD.