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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The hype is Justified

     I had already read several glowing reviews about FX’s new drama Justified before it aired.  That, combined with the fact that it is set in Lexington, Kentucky, where I currently reside, got my excited for a show that didn’t look like my cup of tea.  The third thing it had going for it was that it was based on a story by Elmore Leonard, author of stories that were made into films, such as Get Shorty and Be Cool, both excellent films.  Luckily, the good things said about it turned out to be completely true.

     There is no better word to describe the main character, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, Damages, Deadwood) than cool.  The opening, set in Maimi, Florida, was so exciting and intense, I was immediately drawn into the world.  And he maintained that personality all though the story, despite his challenges.  It is also clear that Raylan is a true action hero, the likes of which only come along every once in awhile.  It isn’t possible to overestimate his skill.  Think Jack Bauer in a cowboy hat, but he would rather kill than torture.   And he handles smaller scale problems.

     The supporting cast is much less-defined in the pilot episode.  Raylan’s friend who has gone astray, Boyd, (Walton Goggins, The Shield) gets plenty of screen time in his show down with Raylan (guess who wins?), but ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea, Dirty Sexy Money) appears in just one scene of consequence.

     The pacing is tight, the setting feels authentic, even if it wasn’t filmed here, though producers have expressed an interest in coming to location if the show is picked up for a second season.  Which, hopefully, it will be.  It is fresh, original.  It’s sort of a Western, which is rare for television these days, and hasn’t been seen on broadcast networks since Firefly.  The humor isn’t there much, but the drama and tension is done well. 

     Justified airs Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX.

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