Getting into a new television series can often be a troubling task. It may be hard to start a series from the beginning, especially after just getting over your last binge watch. Meeting a completely new cast of characters, immersing yourself into a brand-new storyline and ultimately dedicating the time to watching can all be reasons enough to take a rain check.

But all it takes, sometimes, is an entirely original idea that catches your eye and, in the process, guides you to different perspectives about society that can potentially be powerful. In that case, the show is worth a look.

AMC’s new comedy/drama series “Lodge 49” looks to be anything but uninteresting. The show follows a young man named Dud who finds himself in desperate need of help. His father recently passed away, leaving just him and his sister, Liz, alone and without much direction in life.

Dud’s life isn’t going anywhere — or at least anywhere good — at the break of the series. He’s down on himself and legitimately in need of a connection to give him meaning in life.

After stumbling across a mysterious ring on the beach, he finds himself at the doors of Lodge 49, an ominous fraternal organization that seems to emerge out of nowhere and right in the heart of Dud’s very own hometown.

From Long Beach, California, Dud fits the profile of a lazy degenerate surfer with a not-so-firm grasp on life. He’s in desperate need of a change of pace. Portrayed by Wyatt Russell, who ironically played the party-happy college quarterback in the comedy “22 Jump Street,” Dud fits the profile for a young potential initiate in “Lodge 49.”

Desperately seeking a sign of really anything to pull him out of this rut, he reluctantly joins this mysterious fraternity. His life quickly seems to have changed and, as Dud would hope, in a positive way.

Now, a television series about a fraternal organization, on the surface, can inherently attract some negative overtones. Over the past several years, college fraternities across the country have been consistently in the news and, for the most part, it’s not good news.

Revealing typical and deeper meanings behind fraternity culture, “Lodge 49” is AMC’s new comedy/drama series. (Image via AMC)

In an increasingly progressive world, the customs and traditions of longstanding fraternities are being changed constantly just to ensure that they can still be accepted. Heavy drinking, hazing, wild parties, blatant disregard for proper behavior and so many more aspects kind of just go hand in hand with what today’s fraternities are perceived to encompass.

Society has also seen a spike in a number of movies that each deal with college fraternities and seemingly every stereotype in the book.

Whether it’s a raunchy comedy like “Neighbors,” which jokingly brings the absurd Greek life stereotypes to the forefront, or an intense drama like “Goat,” which highlights real life issues facing college campuses today, it seems as though the subject matter is worthy of the story.

“Lodge 49” is going in a different direction. Yes, it’s a comedy about a fraternal organization, which on the surface is nothing new, but society has seen that all too many times.

This show brings a lot more to the table than overly simplified stereotypes and predictable situations. Dud is lost, and he’s desperately looking for a connection — something that can turn his life around give him some meaning.

He finds this and more from joining the ranks of Lodge 49.

As a comedy, obviously the show (and proven by the trailers) will feature stereotypes of Greek life. Drinking, hazing and powerful bromances are all on the horizon.

In recent years, the ever-changing American society has pointed to the negativity of Greek life more so than ever before.

Now it’s 2018. As the years roll on one can expect these negative connotations to continue in the same direction.

Or, maybe there’s more story to tell. Maybe “Lodge 49” is looking to tell the story of the good that an organization like this can accomplish. It’s boldly going the direction where nobody would think a fraternity-based series could go.

Perhaps instead of hazing some pledges and partying till the break of dawn, this organization could maybe be a positive outlet for a lost soul like Dud.

“Lodge 49” can do something that many would think a fraternity couldn’t do: Help instead of hurt.

Instead of just being a place to go get wasted with some mutual friends, Lodge 49 offers a deeper connection to its members.

“Do you really think that they can help you,” Liz asks Dud in one of the trailers. Clearly, Dud has a lot of questions in life and, being a part of something like Lodge 49, he might be able to find answers.

Perhaps the underlying themes of “Lodge 49” can shine through and defeat these connotations by truly featuring the best fraternal traditions have to offer.

For starters, the lodge itself is anything but typical. Shrouded in mystery, “Lodge 49” introduces a different angle. While the drugs and alcohol may still be very applicable, this lodge’s main focus seems to be the real world trials and tribulations of life in general.

Revolving around a pair of distraught siblings picking up after their recently deceased father, “Lodge 49” brings a new taste to AMC. (Image via AMC)

The lodge itself is portrayed in a way that presents a seemingly new world. It absurdly highlights the fact that everything can be seen in different perspectives.

Like a different space completely closed off from society, it invites audiences to experience life in an altered capacity from the norm alongside the soul-searching main character, Dud.

The story, based off of released content, will feature a plethora of issues that can anyone of all ages can come face to face with. Loss, fear, anger, fate and complete confusion are all staples that really any person can connect with. As young adults finding their way through college, these things can resonate.

But what’s most important about “Lodge 49” is that the overarching focus is positive. The focus itself may not be entirely unique, but everyone seems to be familiar with the aspects that fraternities deal with, whether good or bad.

“Lodge 49” has potential to be a special story because it doesn’t just stop there. It provides more depth, shedding light on the comedy of life itself in today’s world.

Twisting the tale of so many negative connotations in our society, “Lodge 49” looks to showcase some of the good things that a group like this can accomplish. It highlights the extremely positive ways that comradery and life mysteries can affect someone.

With an emphasis on sheer absurdity and confusion, the series will see more relatable issues that many people face in their everyday lives, rather than surface level comedy and raunchy shenanigans.

AMC picked up the show for a guaranteed 10-episode opening season slated to premiere on Monday, August 6. Just a few weeks away from airing, more information about the show and conversation surrounding it will surely spike in the near future.

With a talented cast and unique focus, AMC’s “Lodge 49” has all the makings for a story that can resonate with audiences.

Writer Profile

Joey Cunningham

University of Arizona

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