Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Really Good Show You're Not Watching. Unless You Are.

"Justified" is an FX show based on a book called "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard. I have not read the book, though I would like to, as well as the others featuring the character of Raylan Givens.

The show is set in Kentucky, where Givens has been relocated after spending a few years in Florida. Givens is a Federal Deputy Marshal, who grew up in the coal-mining country of deepwoods Kentucky, in Harlan County, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Marshals' office where he is assigned, unearthing a series of Givens' complicated relationships, including his ex-wife, his ex-con father, his boss (played ingeniously by Nick Searcy-- who threatens to steal every scene he appears in) and the men and women he grew up with, who operate on various sides of the law.

In the TV show, Raylan is played by Timothy Olyphant, who succeeds at being tough, fearless, humorous, sexy and emotive all at once. Raylan is an extremely quick draw, faster with his gun than any of the baddies he ends up fighting, and the depth of the character's development is surprising.

The only thing I hate about this show (other than the fact that once begun, I have trouble not watching 4 or 5 episodes at a time) is the opening credit music, Gangstagrass' "Long Hard Times to Come", here: It's pretty awful, but I've come to love/hate it, because it indicates good TV viewing approaching...
I'm currently about halfway through the second season and this is one of those shows that just gets better and better. The evolution of Boyd Crowder's character has been outstanding. Expertly played by Emmy nominated Walton Goggins, he began as a baddie I loved to hate, but over time has become a character with such depth and unexpected developments, that I can't wait to see what he'll do next. And I find myself liking him in spite of his lawlessness.
"Justified" has a unique western-but-not feel to it. Set in the deep South, peppered with neo-nazis and moonshiners, it's definitely not set in the wild west. Raylan's cowboy hat and boots and action-packed, quick-draw shoot-outs, combined with that slow southern drawl is a captivating mix of flavors.

Oh, and lest you think "Justified" is exclusively filled with men, I should mention how incredible the women are. They really are. The whole cast is fantastic, very believable and the writing is clever, full of unexpected twists and the directing is tight. Oh, and it's been fun to watch "Lost"'s Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett. Brilliant bit of casting.

I hope Netflix picks up the show soon, because it really is great, and it's hard to find. Seasons 1 and 2 are out on DVD, and 3 will be soon, I'm sure. I assume Season 4 will begin soonish..

Sensitivity Warning: This show is quite violent; occasionally I end up cringing with my eyes and ears covered in anticipation of a violent act, like someone's hand being smashed with a hammer, but usually it's just gunplay or fist-fighting. Also, they are fond of the s-word and sometimes use religious swears. And there are random sexy scenes as well, though not too graphic. This show is definitely not for young people or children. Or uber-sensitive adults. :) Consider yourself informed.

UPDATE 9/3/12: We just finished Season 3, wherein the writers & director upped the ante on the sheer wickedness of the baddies and the gore, a bit. I hope Season 4 doesn't try to top Season 3 or I will have to stop watching. There was one character in Season 3 that was shockingly evil and it was not enjoyable to watch. Just sayin'. Although the climactic final episode was satisfying, it was unpleasant getting there.

UPDATE 3/25/15: The show is in its final season, and I stayed with it. With the exception of the nastiness of the bad guy in season 3, I have LOVED every bit of this show. I'll be sad when it ends!!

No comments: