Sunday, April 4, 2010

Justified

Broken, Busted, Bloody - 500 Miles to Memphis (mp3)
Booth Shot Lincoln / Newcastle - Christie Burns + Butch Ross (mp3)

I'm not sure how many Elmore Leonard books I've read. Five? Maybe six? Sometimes I get Leonard's novels confused with Carl Hiaasen's. Yeah, Hiaasen books are set in Florida, and they always seem to involve ecological corruption, while Leonard's focus tends to be dirtier cities like Detroit or Los Angeles. But other than a few minor differences in philosophy, I agree that their books kinda blend together at times.

Lots of people credit Leonard's skill with dialogue as the reason his books are so much fun. And that's kind of true. But what I think makes his books so damn fun is the extreme respect he shows for even the stupidest of idiots.

Some authors claim you have to love the characters you write about, but I don't really think that's true with Elmore Leonard. He doesn't love his characters. He doesn't even like most of them. He just wants them to be a little bit different.

If your standard crime novel is a traditional Disney cartoon, then Elmore Leonard is Pixar. There's a dimension and a vibrancy and an attitude that just doesn't quite make it into a traditional version of the genre.

Ergo, it's only fitting that Elmore Leonard is behind my newest favorite TV show, Justified.

Going in, I only knew two things about the show. First, it stars Timothy Olyphant, better known as Sheriff Bullock from Deadwood (which, no matter what that douchebag Bob says about 24, is the Greatest Television Drama Since Shakespeare Co-Wrote Season Three of Hill Street Blues). Second, it stars Walton Goggins, better known as Shane from The Shield, which is the closest thing TV ever got to crystal meth. (Even closer than Breaking Bad!)

Even if I didn't have a slight mancrush on Olyphant, and even if the two stars weren't from two of my all-time favorite shows -- (hell, I watch Castle just 'cuz it's got Nathan Fillion, just 'cuz he starred in Firefly, so there's no end to my loyalty) -- I also have a weakness for Westerns. So when I also found out it was inspired by characters from a Leonard short story, I knew I'd be all-in on this show.

Three episodes in, I have Kentucky shooting out of my bluegrass. It's downright giddy-fying.

Olyphant is U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. He's a badass. How 'bout I link you to a damn fine review (or another! or another!) rather than go through all that stuff myself, like any of it would be original?

Like all characters nowadays it seems, Givens has plenty of daddy issues, plenty of woman issues, and plenty of barely in-check misanthropy. But he's also something of an anti-Vic Mackey. Where Mackey broke any and all rules because he thought the ends justified the means, Givens keeps it legally between the ditches even if it means having to dig new ditches once in a while.

And being the fastest draw in the South ain't no bad skill for a lawman, neither.

If you like idiot criminals, or Westerns, or conflicted heroes, or just good fun television in general, then I suggest you grab your TiVo or DVR or whatever, and program it to record F/X on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. If watchin' that show don't make you start talkin' with apostrophes at the end o' your words and reactin' to things like you'd just gulped down a swig o' moonshine, then I reckon you don't gotta watch no more.

But if you don't like it, sumpin's wrong witchu.

2 comments:

Bob said...

Yeah, I choked a little. I didn't start watching Justified, thinking I would pick it up on Fancast, but it isn't on Fancast. I guess I'll just get the whole season and.....

Bob said...

I found the first three episodes on Comcast On Demand and watched them straight through last night. Yep, I can do this show.