TV Review: Longmire

Longmireby 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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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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12 Responses to TV Review: Longmire

  1. Kathy says:

    Hi, Brad,

    thanks for the review and yes, indeed, there are many of us who are listening, desperately, for hopeful, reasonable, conservative voices. And you are one of those voices! Sometimes I want to shout “just tell me the truth!” Trust me enough to let me figure things out, just tell me what’s what.

    So happy July! The battle continues….


    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Kathy. One of the aspects I like best is being a cultural commentator. I’ve pretty much turned off the TV in regards to prime time. But if I find a decent show on Netflix, I’m not above “watching my soaps.” And many of these types of shows are just glorified soap operas.

      It took a few episodes to warm to “Longmire.” It’s not that it started out slow. It’s just that, like so many series, you tend to get the good writers for the first few episodes. Then they hand them off to the undergraduates, if you will.

      But after watching two full seasons, this is certainly a show I can recommend for the non-ADHD crowd. If one needs f-bombs galore and a car-crash-a-minute, this show isn’t for you. But if just simple, and mostly wholesome, family entertainment suits you, then I can definitely recommend “Longmire.” If someone doesn’t like it, then fine. We all have different tastes. But my point was this show wasn’t caste from the same polluted mold as so many others are.

  2. libertymark says:

    Love Longmire! Couldn’t wait for S3, for the reasons you list. Good (i.e. worthwhile) TV. Great role for Lou Diamond Philips. Protagonists you can relate to.

    FYI, Katie Sackett took some heat earlier this year when she tweeted a mildly pro-gun message in response to a gun debate. The Libs tore into her.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Ah!!! There is a voice of sanity out there.

      I’m all for turning off the boob-tube. But there’s nothing wrong with a little harmless entertainment. And “Longmire” is one of those shows that is not part of the kulturesmog.

      And that’s definitely points in Katee’s favor personally if she tweeted a pro-gun message. Imagine the kind of emasculated people who get their panties in a bunch over such a thing. Way to go, Katee.

      • libertymark says:

        Forgot to say, thanks for reviewing this show. There IS good TV out there. There is awful TV, too, but that’s about the only good thing about Cable, there is a vast competitive (almost) free market for commercial dollars.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Thanks, Mark. As I was telling some good soul the other day, I exist for spreading some of the good aspects of our culture. And it tickles me (well, not pink…maybe a more conservative and manly color such as red, maybe blood red) . . . it tickles me blood red to find someone else who either shares the same opinion or is notified of an aspect of our culture that they can enjoy without having to take a shower afterward.

          Another series I just started exploring is “The Paradise.” It’s about England’s first department store. Yes, there is a chick-flick aspect to this. But as I was just telling my younger brother, it has actually more of a “Masterpiece Theatre,” anglophile aspect. If you like “Downton Abbey” there is a chance you will like this as well, although it’s nowhere near as good, of course. But I’m about three shows into it and it has a reasonably good cast of characters and reasonably good plots. The first season is available for streaming on Netflix. If it holds up after one season (eight episodes), I’ll do a review.

          • libertymark says:

            I will check it out.

            I would proffer Falling Skies on TNT for a back atcha. Improbable SciFi project of Noah Wylie with financing by Spielberg. A patriotic (yes, patriotic) group of Americans fight an invasion by aliens (ahem!) to save America. A history professor (Noah Wylie) leads an improbable group of humans against a technologically superior alien invasion.

            In the last episode, the Wylie character was scribing the Founding documents into the walls of his cell from memory. Go figure…

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Someone needs to ask Steven, “Who are you, and what have you done with the real Steven Spielberg?”

              I’ll see if I can find some back episodes of “Falling Skies.” It sounds good.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Good news. Longmire has been picked up by Netflix and is now a Netflix production. They now feature a fourth season available fro streaming on Netflix. Whether there will be a fifth season, I do not know.

    This is good news. For those who bemoan the loss of good programming in the face of degraded and infantile tastes, this is a victory. And after having just watched the last episode of the fourth season, the quality, generally speaking, has remained very high.

    My only caveat is that the last three episodes of the 4th season are trying a bit too hard to build to a cliffhanger. A number of characters have been sock-puppeted (inappropriate behaviors stuffed into them to support plot points). But that’s a relatively minor point. The episodes before this were as good, if not better, than the previous three seasons.

    This is a show that will separate the attention deficit disorder people (or those whose tastes have become democratized) from those who like good character, reasonably intelligent plots, and a zeitgeist that allows for quiet moments and feeds more often on understatement than over-the-top hyperbole.

    This is about as good as it gets for a generally wholesome program that isn’t degraded by endless f-bombs nor is it a gore-fest (but nor is it free from a little blood and violence). It’s so relatively good that it can’t last for much longer, so do enjoy it while you can.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This is a Longmire Alert

    Season 5 has just come out on Netflix. It’s now (or still is…I don’t remember who produced season 4) a Netflix production.

    For those who complain that our culture is going to hell…you’re right. But quit your bitching, form your protective bubble, and put Longmire inside that bubble. Let the dweebs and those with no taste watch The Big Bang Theory. And if you like The Big Bang Theory then it’s time for a reassessment of your conservative bona fides.

  5. Steve C says:

    Katee Sackhoff character: Vic Moretti is a cancer. I hate her and her part in the great Longmire series. Seasons 4/5 were wonderful except I keep having to mute or skip away from the ‘Vic’ scenes…hate her that much. I know its her character but its a show killer for me. Just wished they had killed her off instead of the Branch Connally part. Keep the whore, destroy the show…ugh

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      This is an interesting perspective. I thought Katee Sackhoff was truly horrible in the Battlestar Galactica remake where she played Starbuck, a character originally played by Dirk Benedict. It was painful watching her trying to play a man. I had the exact same reaction to her in this series as you do in Longmire.

      Strange thing is, I like her in the Longmire series. She’s not trying to play a man nor is she a ball-buster. She’s a deputy in some backwoods district with a couple problems she’s trying to find refuge from. She’s generally dependable, loyal, and competent.

      I’ve soured a bit on the latest season now showing on Netflix. Instead of Walt-vs.-the-criminal-world its bogged down in a subplot about his legal problems. Also, I thought a *bit* of his daughter, Katie, was okay. But as more emphasis is given to her character the less I like that character.

      Even thought the plots and stories have been notably unremarkable, they have not at least changed the character of Walt Longmire. Walt is still Walt. But they’ve lost a great deal of the homespun wisdom and country-dirt appeal they used to have. I’ll have to get back to it and try to finish the season. But I just don’t care about the legal trouble storyline or his idiot daughter making stupid decisions and, basically, going native in her own way.

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