This year, native Texans and Texpats alike can celebrate Memorial Day with a refresher on Texas history by way of “Texas Rising,” a miniseries premiering that day on The History Channel. The epic trailer for “Texas Rising” was recently released, and, as you might expect, it’s a two-minute clip packed full of gruesome imagery, galloping horses, and plenty of non-Texan actors wearing cowboy hats and slinging pistols.
The miniseries dramatizes some of Texas’s grisliest and most triumphant moments, from the Battle of the Alamo and the mysterious legend of the Yellow Rose of Texas, to Sam Houston becoming the first president of the Republic of Texas and the formation of the Texas Rangers.
Surely some extra drama will slip in. The San Antonio Express News hints that there will be an unlikely love triangle between Sam Houston, Santa Anna, and Emily West — the fabled Yellow Rose — but what’s a good made-for-TV miniseries without a little embellishment?
It is disappointing, though, that a series all about the rise of Texas couldn’t involve more native talent — the only two Texans in the central cast are Bill Paxton, who plays Sam Houston, and Kris Kristofferson, who appears as Andrew Jackson. Talk about a missed opportunity. Who wouldn’t tune in to see Matthew McConaughey grow out his beard to play the legendary Colonel John Coffee Hays, or Ethan Hawke play “Deaf” Smith, an even more Texas role than the one he played in “Boyhood”? But, alas, non-Texans will always want to play Texans. The same was true of the 1989 “Lonesome Dove” hit miniseries based on Larry McMurtry’s novel of the same name, which cast Tommy Lee Jones as the only Lone Star lead.
When it comes to re-living Texas history, we’ll let some non-native actors live vicariously through the rough-and-tumble antics and bravery of some of the state’s most legendary leaders, soldiers, and cowboys.