NBC has tweaked the title of its upcoming drama Odyssey less than a month before its premiere, renaming the show American Odyssey.
Though the network declined to comment on what spurred the name change, sources close to the production say the new title better reflects the arduous journey of protagonist Odelle (Anna Friel), an American soldier beset by enemies on all sides as she attempts to return to her friends and family in New York.
Of course, the more cynical answer is that NBC execs weren’t living under a rock in January, when American Sniper stormed the box office and racked up Oscar nominations. Renaming the show American Odyssey may make the series more palatable to the same right-leaning audiences that sent Sniper soaring.
The transformation in NBC’s advertising campaign, tied in with the name-change, is quite startling. Whereas Friel’s protagonist was before on her knees, with her hands bound, looking with terror at the camera, the new poster art has her standing tall, ably handling an assault rifle and ready to take on any opponents.
American Odyssey will premiere on April 5, following the debut of A.D.: The Bible Continues, a continuation of History’s hit miniseries The Bible, which aired last year. The show’s original poster art, and plot synopsis, is below.
From writer-director Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster (“The Following”) comes “American Odyssey,” a complex journey through global politics, corporate espionage and military secrets involving three strangers who only have one thing in common… the truth. In this “Traffic”-like action drama, an international cover-up explodes when the lives of a female Special Forces soldier, a disillusioned corporate lawyerand a political activist from a privileged family unexpectedly collide
After a team of American soldiers battles jihadists in North Africa, they’re shocked to learn that they’ve stumbled upon and killed Al Qaeda’s top commander. Sergeant Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel, “Pushing Daisies”), a soldier, mother, wife and the unit’s only female member, discovers computer files that prove a major U.S. corporation is funding the jihadists. But before she can tell anyone, her team is attacked and killed. The world is told that the unit was wiped out by enemy militants, but the truth is that Odelle survived and is the only witness to her unit’s true assassins: private military contractors – Osela (think “Blackwater”).
As Odelle struggles to survive and find her way home, in New York, former U.S. attorney turned corporate litigator Peter Decker (Peter Facinelli, “Nurse Jackie”) finds himself embroiled in a merger with the same company that funded the jihadists. As Peter begins to connect the corrupt dots of this company’s terrorist involvement, Harrison Walters (Jake Robinson, “The Carrie Diaries”), a political activist and trust fund kid, meets a hacker, Bob Offer (Nate Mooney, “The Riches”), who claims to have unearthed a massive military-industrial-complex cover-up. And Bob is right: he’s stumbled onto the same cover-up that Odelle discovered, which will soon become a national headline with lethal implications. The only way they’ll ever save their country, their families and themselves is by joining forces and exposing the people behind it.
The series also stars Omar Ghazaoui, Treat Williams (“Everwood”), Elena Kampouris (“Men, Women & Children”), Daniella Pineda, Jim True-Frost (“The Wire”), Sadie Sink and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Lost”).
“American Odyssey” is a Universal Television, Fabrik Entertainment and Red Arrow Entertainment production. The series was created by Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Adam Armus (“Heroes”) and Kay Foster (“The Following”). Mikkel Bondesen (“The Killing), Henrik Bastin (“Bosch”), Kristen Campo (“The Killing”) and Simon Maxwell (“Off the Hook”) serve as executive producers along with Horton, Armus and Foster.