Netflix just keeps racking up points and wins in the on-going small screen streaming wars. One day after it was announced that Disney was planning on parting ways with the streaming giant, Netflix announced it was partnering with Joel and Ethan Coen on their upcoming project The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It’s the Coen Brothers first foray into television. The brothers have had limited involvement in Fargo, the FX series loosely based on some of their films. They will be significantly more involved with this show.
The brothers seem pretty excited about the move to streaming based on a statement they released.
“We are streaming motherf***ers!”
The show, six stories about the American frontier, will be somewhat of an anthology-style series, with each episode telling a different story. Tim Blake Nelson, who starred in the Coen’s film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, will star in the series, playing the title character Buster Scruggs. The show is expected to be available on Netflix in 2018 and will be written, directed and produced by the award-winning duo. The Coens have taken home multiple Oscars, most notably winning Best Picture in 1996 for Fargo and in 2007 for No Country for Old Men.
Moving from feature films to television isn’t nearly as taboo as it once was and in recent years a handful of talented and big name directors have dabbled in the long form story-telling television allows. Steven Soderbergh made the move in 2014 when he produced and directed The Knick, a period piece about a drug-addled doctor played by Clive Owen, for Cinemax. The Knick was unceremoniously cancelled after two seasons, but despite it’s short run, it really was beautiful to watch. Soderbergh is returning to theaters later this month with his anticipated caper comedy Logan Lucky.
Ava DuVernay, who directed Selma, as well as the 2016 documentary 13th, runs Queen Sugar on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, while David O. Russell and Woody Allen are each working on projects for Amazon. The minds behind The Matrix Trilogy, the Wachowski sisters, are working at Netflix, having created Sense8, which was cancelled earlier this summer after two seasons. Netflix will air the show’s finale sometime in 2018.
For their part, Netflix is pleased to work with another set of talented, film-making siblings.
“The Coens are visionary directors, masterful storytellers, and colorful linguists. We are thrilled for Netflix to become home to the full range of their talents,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix.
Over the past couple of years the Coens have remained active in movies, despite maintaining a relatively low profile. They were nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Bridge of Spies in 2016 and that same year they released their most recent film, Hail, Caesar!, which featured possibly the most entertaining two minutes of the entire year.
The Coens’ most recent project was writing the screenplay for Suburbicon, a comedy starring Matt Damon and George Clooney, which is set to be released this fall.