The Coen Brothers’ Western Anthology ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ Heads to Netflix

     August 9, 2017

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Production has already begun on the Coen Brothers’ first foray into TV, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, with Annapurna footing the bill, but there was no word yet on who would be scooping up the high-profile production. It will not surprise you to learn that Netflix will play home to the Western anthology.

The streaming service sent out a press release announcing they’ve got the worldwide distribution rights to the upcoming anthology, which will “feature six tales about the American frontier told through the unique and incomparable voice of Joel and Ethan Coen.”

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Image via Universal Pictures

Back in June, we got details on the six stories the Coens would be exploring:

  • “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs” follows a singing cowboy.
  • “Near Algodones” is about a high-plains drifter whose own fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving.
  • “Meal Ticket” follows an actor and impresario of a traveling show.
  • “All Gold Canyon” is about a prospector who happily finds a gold seam but then unhappily finds an evil encroacher.
  • “The Gal Who Got Rattled” follows two trail bosses on the Oregon Trail and a woman on the wagon train who needs the help of one of them and who might be a marriage prospect for the other.
  • “The Mortal Remains” follows five very different passengers on a stagecoach of mysterious destination.

Presumably, Netflix will release all six stories at the same time, and I’m curious to see if they’re each an hour in length or if, as was previously reported, this is more like a feature-length omnibus where each tale could be its own film.

For its part, Netflix simply refers to Ballad as a “western anthology” that they plan to post in 2018. Additionally, while other casting has been rumored, the only actor that the press release confirms is Tim Blake Nelson in the role of Buster.

While I do have my issues with Netflix, I have to admit that I’m glad that the Coens next piece of work landed on a subscription service I’m already subscribed to. If they ended up at Starz or Epix or something, I would definitely be paying for whatever service they went to.

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