My favorite television program is Justified. I don’t lament its demise because I watch TV programs on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I don’t need to be first on my block with an Apple watch, I don’t care about the Kardashians, and I never banter with co-workers. I’m retired and way past the age of needing to be hip, cool, with it, or whatever. (Thank goodness I write historical novels.)
Being out of fashion is liberating. I can wear clothes without an emblazoned logo, drive a 2000 model car, shun Instagram, and watch my favorite television shows whenever and however I want. My way is after the season’s over. I can binge-watch or spread them out, and I’m not even bothered with a need to fast-forward through commercials. Life is grand without a remote in hand.
All of this is to note that I’m in the middle of season 5. So please, no spoilers.
Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, and a host of other fine actors, is a character-driven modern day western based on a short story by Elmore Leonard. I believe bad guys and gals make heroes heroic, and Justified has a bevy of really bad characters. Our hero has sidekicks of course, but basically, it’s Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens against this cast of misfits, hoodlums, and felonious masterminds. Good actors portraying interesting characters in a tightly written drama presented with masterful storytelling. Who could ask for more?
If you haven’t watched Justified, you should. Here are a few links to articles about the program. The first consolidates all the professional reviews of the final episode. I glanced at it, but quickly closed my browser window before I happened upon a spoiler.
Episode Review: Justified Series Finale by Jason Dietz at Metacritic
Trigger-Happy by Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker
What ‘Justified’ Reveals About ManhoodRachel Lu at The Federalist
What ‘Justified’ Really Says About Modern Manhood And Westernsby John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist
The Literary Genius Of ‘Justified’ by John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist
John Daniel Davidson wrote some lines that seem apropos to Justified and westerns in general.
“an extended meditation on grand themes: the price of sin and violence, the ties of blood and kin, the difference between justice and vengeance.”
“the western is at heart about the tension between civilization and barbarism—and the interplay between the two.”
“Ford’s films, like the Greek epics from which they’re drawn, portray civilization as a fragile thing, always under threat and always in need of protection—a task that often falls to those willing to step outside of civilization and into a state of nature. Hence, heroes like Ethan.”