The Son, a new TV show based on Phillip Meyer‘s bestselling book, airs tonight on AMC.

The series stars Pierce Brosnan as Eli McCullough, a family’s steely patriarch who was captured by Comanches as a teenager in 1849 and later becomes a cattle rancher. The show is ridden with violent, vengeful characters, and has no clear “hero” or “good guy,” distinguishing it from many other Wild West stories.

Another thing which makes this show unique is that Meyer is involved in the production of the show down to the smallest details. He wrote three of the episodes in the first season, and rewrote the rest. Meyers was on set during filming to make sure everything was just right.

Critics have given the show mixed reviews so far. Many are not happy with the casting and the lack of likable characters. Some have called the show “promising,” saying that The Son is likely to get better with upcoming episodes.

‘The Son’ Review Roundup

“The characters get lost in a tale that meanders between violent episodes (beatings, scalpings, and the occasional ear removal among them), interrupted by dialogue that may have read well in the book, but clunks and sputters when spoken aloud.” – Robert Bianco, USA Today

“The opening episodes feature a lot of violence and not many characters you can latch onto… The female characters are not given much to do in early episodes other than have sex.” – Neil Genzlinger,  New York Times

“Two episodes don’t provide enough evidence to completely write off the beautifully shot series. The supporting acting is quite strong, and I really do want to believe there’s more to both stories than meets the eye… There’s potential here, but “The Son” needs to be a bit quicker on the draw.” – Ben Travers, IndieWire

“With his immaculately trimmed gray beard and dagger blue eyes, Brosnan almost instantly establishes himself as TV’s most treacherous Texan since J.R. Ewing — until he starts to speak. It’s at this point the soft lilting cadence of his native Drogheda, County Louth fights the south Texas drawl. Viewers will just have to pretend that this “First Son of Texas” emigrated from Ireland before he ran into the Comanches.” – Verne Gay, Newsday