by Brad Nelson 6/30/14
I’ve been struggling over deciding whether to review this or not. One, this series is good, but not great. Two, is anybody out there? Can anybody hear through the din of democratic mediocrity? Is there anyone out there left who has a taste for less than the bombastic?
In the end, having viewed the first two seasons on Netflix, I decided that this series is good enough to review on its merits, regardless if few others can see through the kultursmog.
Longmire is outstanding if only because it is a show that the whole family can watch. Besides a few murders here and there, it’s a fairly squeaky-clean show. It has that old sense, like one used to know, of sitting down with old friends who you enjoy being with. Most of prime time TV, on the other hand, is shock therapy to the sensibilities.
Robert Taylor plays Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming. He is assisted in his duties by his deputies, Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) and Vic Moretti (Katee Sackoff). Rounding out the main cast is Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear and Cassidy Freeman as Cady Longmire, daughter of the sheriff.
This is a delightful cast, never over-acted. Never are they trying to be larger than life. You can imagine that these people really exist somewhere in the United States upholding old-fashioned justice in a world driven more insane every day by political correctness.
Longmire plays a John-Wayne-like character. He’s the strong and somewhat silent type. He’s slow to anger. He’s cool in most situations and can’t be baited. And his integrity and sense of fair play is beyond reproach. Forget sheriff, a man like this ought to be president.
Branch, on the other hand, is more of an opportunistic rival. In the first two season, he’s running against Longmire for sheriff of Absroka County and integrity is not necessarily his middle name. Complicating this picture is that he has an on-again, off-again relationship with Longmire’s daughter, Cady.
What should have been the bane of this show (Katee Sackoff in what at first seems like an affirmative-action nod to “diversity”) turns out to be a strength. Unlike her truly horrid and miscast performance as Starbuck in the new Battlestar Galactica sci-fi series, Katee fits in well as the tough, but not uber-feminist, sidekick to Walt.
Much more than Branch, Vic (Victoria) is on the same wavelength as Longmire and evokes a subtle and likable realism in her character, quite in contrast to her over-the-top, try-too-hard, obnoxious performance in Battlestar Galactica. I’ve thoroughly taken Katee under my TV-viewing wing and have forgotten all about that other series.
Some episodes are better than others, but there are enough good ones to keep you going. This series is more reminiscent of a 60’s western. There is very little political correctness in it, although I would by no means call it a conservative show. You certainly do get multiculturalism thrown at you. Longmire’s county abuts an Indian reservation, which causes no end of problems and the various Indians will quickly remind you what victims they are of the white man.
Keeping this show from falling into obnoxious multiculturalism is the character of Henry, played beautifully by Lou Diamond Phillips. He’s Walt’s friend and campaign manager. And through his eyes we see the issues of the Native Americans. But not all of the Indians are “noble savages.” There is no shortage of criminals among the tribes.
All in all this is a series that requires just a bit of patience. It’s not 1000 cc’s of adrenaline rush. But it is a decent program (in more ways than one) that will grow on you. It’s streamable on Netflix.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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