Check this guy out.
For those of you have haven't been privileged to meet him yet, that's Raylan Givens, federal marshal relocated to Kentucky from Florida after he shot a man there (the shooting was justified, but nonetheless Raylan was sent back home for it). Raylan comes from Kentucky, and knows a lot of people there, including his ex-wife Winona, and Boyd Crowder, criminal turned evangelist whose daddy Bo is still a crimelord in those parts. This is the background against which Justified is set. Justified has completed its first season, which is now out on DVD (my copy of which is even now on its way to me), and the new season begins on February 9th. I am way excited for this for many reasons. I almost didn't give Justified a chance, as I am very selective in my TV viewing, which is close to non-existent. But I saw some promos for this at the theater (and it's impossible to fastforward through those, so you either watch and listen, or tune them out). First I tuned out, but then I began to watch and listen and I became interested, and now I'm hooked.
Having watched the first season, I was unaware until recently that Raylan began with a short story. His creator is none other than Elmore Leonard. You may know him for many reasons, among them being Get Shorty and Be Cool. The original story is called Fire in the Hole, and I recently read it. You can read it before you watch the series, or after, bearing in mind that transferrence from one medium to another generally involves change, and this one is no exception. Justified is full of humor, action, and plain good ol' fashioned fun. The characters will hold your attention, and Raylan is definitely my favorite, although Boyd is an interesting case study, and Dewey Crowe - well, there are not adequate words to describe that boy. Do yourself a favor, check it out when it returns February 9th, and then catch up on the first season. If you like what you see, find more of Timothy Olyphant. I did - Hit Man (which I reviewed here), Die Hard 4 and Catch and Release.
A new show premiered on F/X a couple of weeks ago. Being pleased with Justified, I checked it out, and I'm glad that I did. Lights Out is about a boxer who left the ring five years before, after a title fight which he, and a lot of other people, think he was robbed in. Since that time, things have gotten rough for him, and he's been reduced to such things as calling bingo games and appearing in cheesy ads to make money. He has a large home to maintain, a wife and daughters to support, but times are tough, and a real estate investment he sunk a lot into isn't materializing quite the way that he'd hoped. His brother is his business manager, and he does what he can, while his dad (former Papa Titus Stacy Keach) helps out at Lights' gym. But when he is compelled to help with collection of a debt, and resorts to violence, and then ends up wailing on a loudmouth at a bar - well, he's sinking fast and it looks like his only way out is the rematch of that title fight which the winner is clamoring for, cause he's tired of hearing that he robbed Lights. To complicate things, Lights has been diagnosed with pugilistic dementia.
I like this already, after only two episodes. It's character driven, and well written and acted, and I think it has potential. F/X is doing good. I would be happier with them if they hadn't let Terriers get canceled. I understand that it was a bad time slot, but it could have been moved to a different one. I recorded it anyway, so it didn't matter to me when it aired, but it was good, and its cancellation is our loss.
So what else is going on in my TV land? Hawaii 5-0. I watched it for Alex O'Loughlin, but there is more to it than him (though if you only watch for him, you won't feel shortchanged, I assure you). If you'll recall, he was vampire Mick St. John in Moonlight, which died far too soon, after only one season. Blame the writer's strike. I do - for that and for the demise of Deadwood, but that's another story. Hawaii 5-0 is beautifully shot, the acting and the writing are first rate, the scenery is magnificent, and it's a refreshing update of the old series. The stories are all good, the last one, which actually aired last night, after the football game, was about a killer tsunami hitting the island. If you haven't seen it, check it out, you'll be glad you did.
******potential spoilers ahead******
A few weeks ago, Californication returned for its fourth season, starring that sexy sex-addicted bad boy Hank Moody (David Duchovny). I have liked this show from the start, never missed a one. It's still got the kick it had when it began, and it never disappoints. If you'll recall from the first season, Hank had sex with a girl he picked up at a book signing, who punched him during their coitus, and who turned out to be only 16, but he didn't know. Later, after a dry slum of non writing, he wrote the story of what happened, under the guise of a novel, called it Fucking and Punching. The girl in question, whose name is Mia (Madeline Zima, also of Heroes) found the manuscript, stole it, and published it under her own name. Ye gods! It gets worse. She's a sudden instant hit, feted and touted for her writing, to Hank's chagrin. But how can he reclaim his own material without his long time girlfriend discovering the truth of what happened (it's a very complicated situation). Well, last season she found out and the shit hit the fan, and now this season - the fallout. Hank is still Hank, and he's still got his sleazy but cute manager Charlie Runkle, as well as the regulars. This season's guests so far include Rob Lowe and Matt LeBlanc. If you haven't seen it, you should. Be warned that there is a nude or semi-nude David Duchovny in almost every episode, not to mention a great deal of language and sexual situations. Not everyone's cuppa tea, but definitely mine.
Enough about my shows - let's hear about yours. Ever watch something, get totally hooked and have the network yank the rug out from under you by cancelling it? I think we've all been there done that. Ever written a letter of protest? I'm not sure if those even help, but I hear they do. The one time I tried was years ago when they canceled Matt Frewer's show Doctor, Doctor (pre Max Headroom). It didn't help. I also wrote last year to the writers of Vampire Diaries telling them their stories were horrible and the writing had slid downhill by the end of the first season. It's gotten better this season, but that could be a coincidence. They never replied, so who knows if they even read my letter.
Who are your deepest regrets from the TV graveyard? What shows did you love that died without being allowed to properly wrap up their storylines? Do you regret that they left the castaways on Gilligan's Island and only came back to them in movies years after the fact?
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That's all for now!