Why I’m Justified

We’ve talked about the new FX show “Justified” a little bit already, but now that I’m addicted to it like hillbilly heroin I thought I’d try to justify my obsession (so to speak). As has been said, there’s the great writing, which infuses all aspects of the show, but there are other appealing elements as well. To enumerate just a few:

1. The theme song: There haven’t been many great TV theme songs lately (I guess they waste precious advertising minutes), but this is definitely an instant classic:

This comment, from a YouTube user who was apparently frightened by the new genre that this song seems to spring from, is priceless:

Holy fat hogs in the sun! I am going to start drinking right now and it’s only 8:40 in the morning. Please tell me this won’t be the new wave. Gangstagrass? If? ol Snoop starts ta playing a banjer (not banjo) I will start drooling from my feeble brain. The banjer is a deadly instrument that causes mind rot and soul shivers. Run for the hills when you hear the plinky plink.

Awesome.

2. The villain: Boyd Crowder has to be the most intensely bizarre villain ever created since Jason Compson (for evidence, see the clip at the top). It’s still not clear exactly what his game is, but there are some twisted things going on in his brain, you can bet your pick-up truck.

3. The women: Joelle Carter and Natalie Zea as Ava and Winona are smokin’ hot, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These women are deeply complicated, intelligent and interesting characters with plenty their own plans and they’re only telling the guys about half of it. The start of the series roughly coincides with Ava’s decision to end her abusive marriage via deer rifle just in time to meet up with Raylan, newly reassigned back to the place of his youth. Winona is Raylan’s ex-wife, whom he met in a bar in Salt Lake City, and who is now a court reporter in the same town. Unresolved feelings and crossed motivations abound.

4. Tim Olyphant: There are a lot of great members to this cast, but Olyphant, as Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens, pretty much needs to carry the show on his shoulders if it’s going to have much success. Luckily, he’s up to the job. He’s a little bit of Nathan Fillion in Firefly and a little bit of James Garner in the Rockford files and a little bit of James Arness in Gunsmoke and a whole lot of his very own thang. Bottom line: he’s in no hurry, he’s not scared of much, and he makes it fun to watch.

Let me know what you think.

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22 thoughts on “Why I’m Justified

  1. Yeah, thanks to Kulturblog, I watched the first 6 episodes in, like, 4 days. And now I check the computer every couple days to see if the next episode is up. The acting and the writing are great, and the theme song, seemingly so out of place, fits the show perfectly.

    I love how the show progresses (even though most episodes stand on their own), but nobody’s in any hurry to get to the endgame, because what happens between here and there is worth the time it takes.

  2. I don’t know if it’s my favorite show on right now, I still have a soft spot for FNL, but I really look forward to it each Tuesday night, probably more than even Lost at this point.

    Olyphant has this incredible ability to instantly create chemistry between his character and his boss, fellow marshalls, villains, etc. It’s just fun to watch the way he interacts with everyone.

    Also love the music that ended that scene. It was used heavily in Public Enemies and can be heard here.

  3. Walton Goggins, who plays Boyd, is truly gifted actor. Boyd, however, isn’t nearly as twisted as the character he played on The Shield for seven seasons, one Shane Vendrell.

    Amazing. I’m a Justified fan, but The Shield was so damn cool.

  4. It’s my favorite show now — Boyd is just magnificent, and while part of that may be residual man-love from The Shield, I still thing Justified is great.

  5. I wish I didn’t find nearly everything about this show annoying, but I do. I can’t last more than 10 minutes trying to watch it.

  6. That’s not it. I love hillbillies…I’ve only been in California almost six years. I lived in a small town (pop. 4,000) for five.

    I don’t think the whole modern western thing that they’re going for works, among other things.

  7. Sure, its easy to say you love hillbillies, but unless you’ve made love in the back of a pick-up truck while drinking moonshine out of a mason jar, it’s all just talk.

  8. That’s funny Susan, as the “modern western” is what I find works so well. I think it’s hard to pull off but they managed. There are a few things I don’t care for too much. (I loved this week’s episode – but what was up with the camera work and lighting? — did they fire their cinematographer or something?)

    Is it my favorite show? Not as long as Lost is on. But I was trying to think of an other show I like better and I couldn’t think of one. I used to love Burn Notice but it’s been getting stale. I can’t think of an other show that really connects with me like that one. There are a few shows I enjoy (Fringe, House, Chuck) but I wouldn’t feel bad if I missed them. With Justified I think I’d feel bad missing it.

    Now if only Dish could put FX up in HD. They advertise on their website it’s available in HD but thus far they aren’t broadcasting the HD version.

    BTW – as I mentioned in the other thread I’ve been reading the books the show is based on. The “prequel” to the show is Pronto and is worth reading. I actually liked the show better, honestly. I’m hoping to read the short story “Fire in the Hole” that the pilot is based on soon.

  9. I love how the show progresses (even though most episodes stand on their own), but nobody’s in any hurry to get to the endgame, because what happens between here and there is worth the time it takes.

    I think this is a great thought. There are so many things still happening that have yet to be resolved; Givens and his father, the Crowders, Ava, the fallout from the Miami shooting, etc., and yet they only touch on a couple of these things while concentrating on a self-contained episode.

  10. I’ve had a man-crush on Timothy Olyphant since Deadwood. I’m about as far away from “cowboy” as you can get, but dude can seriously rock a cowboy hat. And he does the square-off/gun-fight thing better than Eastwood. Just bad ass.

    Ava’s nice, but put me down for Team Winona.

  11. Ava’s nice, but put me down for Team Winona.

    My fashion-maven wife repeatedly comments how nice she looks in a skirt. Nods head.

  12. Ok I was inspired to catch up on my saved episodes last night. Man that show is good. I loved the episode a couple of weeks ago with the convict and the hostages in the station. One of my favorite things about the show is how erudite and well spoken all these supposed hillbillies are.

  13. Well, exactly, Geoff. Boyd especially seems to have a truly wonderful relationship with language. The conversations between Boyd and Raylen in prison are great examples of that.

  14. It’s really amazing how well they do dialog. Almost as good as Tarantino. They’ve really done the books’ dialog justice – and if anything improved on it.

  15. Geoff hit upon my favorite aspect of the show: they actually show 3 dimensional “hill billy” characters outside of the standard dumb red neck. Now there are plenty of dumb rednecks in the show, such as the “guide” that the Miami blue tooth wearing asassain had. But the marshalls, criminals of the week, the female leads, and Crowder clan are so much more. Its refreshing to watch a show where most of the characters have southern accents and depth.

  16. I watched a part of the first episode and wasn’t sure what was so great about this show – but it’s getting enough rave reviews here that I’m going to give it a new try.

  17. Danithew, that’s how I was. After watching half I wasn’t sure I was going to watch the rest. By the end of the pilot though I was loving it.

    I just started reading Riding the Rap which is the sequel to Pronto. Quite different from the show. (After the shooting he’s still in Miami) but lots of little vignettes from the show are lifted directly from the book.

  18. I watched past the initial scene from that first episode – and it really started to get my attention. I’m going to be watching more of these.

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