Teddy Roosevelt To Get the Series He Deserves on Showtime

Teddy Roosevelt

Source: Library of Congress

Of all the presidents in the history of the United States, very few quite measure up to the life that Theodore Roosevelt lived. Before he even assumed office, he was a war hero as the leader of the Rough Riders. For his time as president, he established the National Parks system, was the driving force behind the Panama Canal, put forth legislation to restrict corporations from contributing to campaigns, and in the midst of all this survived an assassin’s bullet to the chest. His accomplishments didn’t stop after he left office, spending his “retired” years exploring the jungles of the Amazon.

With a life as well-lived as Roosevelt’s, it’s more than a little surprising that it’s taken as long as it has to commemorate it on-screen. There’s more than enough material to make a TV series out of his life, and that’s just what Showtime will (finally) be doing. The proposed project is as ambitious as it deserves to be, billed by Variety as a “‘brilliant take’ on Roosevelt’s life, presented as a big epic.” Currently, there’s no lead actor attached to the project, but with American History X screenwriter David McKenna at the helm, we see only good things coming out of this one.

Anyone wondering what a “big epic” entails for the story of an American president need only do some cursory reading into the life of Teddy Roosevelt to understand. This is a man whose life was so thoroughly amazing, that no one novel has had enough pages to tell the whole story. Dozens of books detail the various stages of his life, ranging from his early days in the military, to his latter years spent as an explorer. “Epic” barely scrapes the surface of Roosevelt’s impressive life, making a series on Showtime the best possible venue to tell his tale.

Any stage in Roosevelt’s life alone would make for an amazing series. His days as the leader of the Rough Riders were highlighted by the now famous Battle of San Juan Hill. For his days as President, the list of accolades is extensive: He was the first president to fly in an airplane, regularly skinny-dipped in the freezing Potomac River, was a black belt in jiujitsu, and after being shot in the chest during a campaign speech, declined treatment and insisted on finishing (the bullet had gone through his 50-page speech that was folded in half in his breast pocket).

Following his presidency, Roosevelt took it upon himself to lead an expedition through the jungles of the Amazon, becoming the first person to ever successfully travel and map the treacherous and deadly River of Doubt (now named the Roosevelt River in honor of this accomplishment). On that expedition, he wounded his leg, and insisted his team leave him behind to die in order to save themselves. They of course didn’t heed this request, but it’s indicative of just how much the story of his life will make for some amazing television.

We can only hope that Showtime’s series manages to properly do justice to one of the greatest Americans to ever live. If it’s truly as expansive and “epic” as we’re being promised, it’ll finally give us the Teddy Roosevelt story that’s sorely in need of telling. Now all we need is for Nick Offerman to get his mustache primed for a role he was pretty much born to play (at least that’s our first choice for casting). There’s no solid premiere date yet, but you can read more on the specifics in Variety‘s exclusive on the news here.

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