The first episode of Back to Billy, a dramedy series centered on the West’s most famous outlaw, Billy the Kid, is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Filmed last summer around Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the show features an ordinary man who is obsessed with Billy the Kid — a fugitive gunfighter who shot eight men dead before being killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett near Fort Sumner at age 21.
The show has a twist: When the main character, New Jersey resident Martin Teebs, is visiting New Mexico with his wife to feed his lifelong fascination with the Kid, he travels back in time and learns he lived a past life alongside the outlaw.
In this former life, Teebs participated in the Lincoln County War, murdered a sheriff and left a romantic interest behind.
Michael Anthony Giudicissi, one of the filmmakers of what he described as a comedy-drama, said Teebs’ discovery stirs many questions: “Because the character has a girlfriend back in time, is that cheating on his wife he has today?”
And with the crimes he’s committed, “Does that mean he should be accused today?” Giudicissi asked.
“I hope [viewers] have fun with it,” he said. “It does give them some cause to think, ‘What if that happened to me?’ ”
Back to Billy is the brainchild of Giudicissi and fellow filmmaker Jason Hill. During production, the duo said they employed about 30 New Mexico actors and 20 crew members, including Scot Scurlock, an actor who plays his great-grandfather, Josiah Gordon “Doc” Scurlock, a member of the Regulators, a posse of young men involved in the Lincoln County War.
Using statewide talent, Giudicissi said, was critical.
“This is a story about a New Mexico legend, and for me it was really important to tell it with a New Mexico cast and crew in New Mexico, with creators from New Mexico,” he said. “We’re right here where this all happened.”
Giudicissi, who said Teebs’ story is, in many ways, his own — they both grew up in New Jersey and are enamored by old Westerns and the life of Billy the Kid — said he started brainstorming a novel similar to the series when he moved to New Mexico in 1996. Now, his 20-plus-year-old idea is finally in the making.
The series’ pilot is available on Amazon, and the remaining nine episodes are in preproduction, awaiting funding for their release.