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The Coen Brothers Are Creating a Western Anthology Series at Netflix

Not too many filmmakers these days are keeping the Hollywood tradition of the Western alive. If it’s not Quentin Tarantino doing revisionist history, or random Ti West movies that feel way more like comedies than Westerns, then you’re sort of out in the weeds. But even though they’ve only made one traditional Western, 2010’s True Grit, Joel and Ethan Coen have made a number of movies that definitely feel like Westerns, from the more obvious No Country for Old Men to neo-noirs like Blood Simple and Fargo. So the fact that the Coens are going to make a Western anthology series for Netflix feels like the perfect, perfect choice.

The news broke on Wednesday morning that Annapurna Television would be producing a six-episode anthology western series called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, starring O Brother, Where Art Thou‘s Tim Blake Nelson as the titular Buster Scruggs. Given that this is being billed as an anthology, I’d imagine Buster Scruggs will be a framing story, not unlike the Crypt Keeper, or maybe even a character who wanders through various, unrelated stories set in the Old West. The Coen Bros will write and direct the anthology as well as serve as executive producers. Their statement about the Netflix project is–and I’m not joking–“We are streaming motherf***ers!”

It’s exciting to see what the Coen Brothers can do with six complete stories to tell under the banner of a single series. The dialogue alone in True Grit makes me particularly interested to hear how people talk in Buster Scruggs. We’d imagine with the success of Noah Hawley’s episodic take on their material–Fargo, naturally–Joel and Ethan saw how well their darkly comedic tone can translate to TV, and being on Netflix means they can have all the swearing and violence they want. Win/Win/Win. (That third win is us. We win.)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will come to the streaming service in 2018.

For more about Westerns, read reviews of The Hateful Eight and In a Valley of Violence, for more about the Coens, read our Top 7 Coen Bros Movies, and for more about Netflix, read what we’d like to see from their Millarworld acquisition.

Images: Paramount Pictures, Working Title

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He writes the weekly look at weird or obscure films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!

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