Geoffrey Wiseman

Justified and Long Hard Times to Come

I'm nearly done watching Season 4 (iTunes, Amazon) of Justified, which I still really enjoy. Although it has clearly amassed enough of a following to make it through four seasons, and pick up some Emmy awards, almost no-one I know watches it, which is a shame. I'd like to change that.

Justified is set in Kentucky, mostly the hill country around Harlan, and Lexington. I really enjoy the style and flavor they take from that setting, even though I have never been to Kentucky, and can't argue its authenticity. To be honest, I don't really care if it accurately represents Kentucky and Harlan, I just really enjoy the style and the characters that they derive from the setting, real or fictional.

The main character, Raylan Givens, a US Marshal, also adds a great deal to the show. He's a bit of a hard case, good at his job but not particularly good at following the rules or getting along with anyone. The character sounds a little clich├ęd, but they do a great job with giving him some depth and dimension despite that, and I really like Timothy Olyphant, both in this role and in his relatively similar role in Deadwood. He's the cast standout, but the rest of the cast is generally very solid.

In essence, it's a cowboy drama in present-day setting, Deadwood brought forward, and moved into a setting that is both reminiscent of the wild west (small towns, big characters, limited law) and yet modern.

The title song, "Long Hard Times to Come" by Gangastagrass (iTunes) is also a good choice; I almost always watch the credits, because they're well made, and I appreciate the snippet of the song even after having heard it now more than fourty times just from watching the credit sequence. Here's the whole song on YouTube, with some snippets from the show:

I thoroughly recommend it.