The Paramount Network — which officially launches Jan. 18 as the rebranded version of Spike TV — has chosen wisely for its first scripted drama. As seen in the exclusive clip above, Friday Night Lights alum Taylor Kitsch stars as David Koresh in Waco, Paramount’s six-episode series about the true story of the deadly 1993 fire and shootout between the FBI, ATF, and Koresh at Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
In a scene from the series premiere, Koresh bursts into a gathering of his fellow Branch Davidians — a religious movement spun off from the Seventh-day Adventists — and talks to them about the joy he has found in their off-the-grid community. They don’t have running water or a lot of “stuff,” he points out, but everyone there, from a Harvard Law grad to a professor who left a beach house in Hawaii to relocate to the compound, has found happiness in their Texas plains home.
“Joy doesn’t come from havin’ somethin’ or bein’ somethin’,” Koresh says to his rapt followers. “It comes from becomin’. Becomin’ more than you are today.”
Koresh, along with dozens of men, women, and children who lived at the compound, as well as four ATF agents, were killed in April 1993 after a siege that began when the government suspected the Branch Davidians of weapons violations. The series covers all the facts of the controversial case — some which remain in dispute — including charges of abuse of the compound’s children and claims that Koresh engaged in sex with some of the minors.
The series’ stellar cast also includes Michael Shannon, John Leguizamo, Andrea Riseborough, Rory Culkin, Melissa Benoist, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham, Camryn Manheim, and Julia Garner.
Waco is one of several buzzworthy series Paramount will launch in its first year; others include a dark comedy series adaptation of cult-fave movie Heathers and the family drama Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner and created by Hell or High Water’s Oscar-nominated screenwriter (and former Sons of Anarchy co-star) Taylor Sheridan.
Waco premieres Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. on the Paramount Network.