inspiration, justified style
FYI I have my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, on a Goodreads Giveaway. And I’ve included international! If you are interested in a print copy of my book then hop on over to Goodreads and enter the Giveaway, HERE.
For the last few Thursdays Bites I’ve shared some of my paranormal TV faves. This week’s show isn’t paranormal, romantic, or fantasy, but I think it is so amazing, that I just have to share. If you are interested in the posts on other shows that I watch, you can check out my Vikings post HERE and the Long Island Medium HERE.
How can you not love that title. And the song that opens it up is so not my music, but I love it, too. It’s rap and hillbilly combined, perfect for a show about the darkest side of Kentucky hill country.
I’ve read stories set in rural mountains before. In, Christy, the very sweet school teacher come to the mountains to share her knowledge with the poor folk. The shadowy mysteries of Sharyn McCrumb combine death with a hint of supernatural and are well worth the read. But I’ve never read the books that inspired this series, by author Elmore Leonard, and now that I watch it, I want to. Oh, yes, I want to.
I’ve been trying to figure out what is it about this show that captivates me, and I’ve narrowed it down to a few things. One is the villains. They are so real. They are bad, very bad. In fact, this is not a show I let my kids near. But, if you want to see bad guys made not only real, but likeable, watch Justified. Every person has a dark side. Every person makes mistakes. But these guys do some horrible things. And you feel for them while they are doing it. All of the bad guys have soft sides. They have mothers who need to be taken care of, or they are in love with their girlfriends. They grew up abused and just want some of the good life. I have never seen a show, or even read a book, that takes as much time developing it’s villains as it’s heroes as Justified.
Maybe it’s Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (best name ever for a hero). Raylan is played by sexy (and Emmy nominated) Timothy Olyphant. If you want a deeply flawed hero, full of complexities, this is your show. Even when he’s making those bad, bad, bad choices, he’s motivated by the right things in life. Protection of children, women, and his family. His deep loyalty to his friends, the Marshal service, and the people of the area he grew up with, make many of his decisions conflicted. He knows they often have no choice but to live like they do. Or, that they don’t think they have a choice. Or, why should they? They always get screwed.
And of course there is Boyd Crowder (played by Walton Goggins). He’s both Raylan’s ex-best friend and the closest thing to family he has. We shouldn’t like Boyd, he’s got some terrible things in his past, and he does terrible things on a regular basis, but when things go wrong for Boyd I still find myself rooting for him. Why? I think, once again, it’s because the writers have done an amazing job showing his motivations. How do you make a drug-dealing murderer sympathetic? That is a tough order, but Justified has done it. I don’t think he’s right and I wouldn’t want to actually know him, but I understand him. He loves, he hates, and he’s not only trying to survive, but to thrive.
One of my favorite characters is Dewey Crowe. He is super pathetic. Nothing every goes right for Dewey. This season he was sent to kill a man who is one of his childhood friends, and it was painful to watch. And funny. It was while watching this horrible scene, and realizing it was funny, that I knew this show had true genius. Only Justified gives us slapstick comedy during such a dark scene as a man trying to kill an unsuspecting friend. It’s horrible, it’s amazing, and it’s something I can’t turn off. I think it’s because in real life, when things get bad, and I mean really bad, we still laugh. Dark laughter, without any real amusement, but it’s still there. Not many shows will go there. This one does.
I have a last reason why I think this show is incredible. I watch a lot of mysteries and suspense on TV. One thing you can count on is they won’t kill the kids or hostages. There will always be a satisfying ending. And the good guys win in the end. You will not have that watching Justified. Favorite characters are always at risk. They could kill off any one of them, with the exception of Raylan Givens, and the show would still go on. Just as in real life, the hero doesn’t always win, and when he does win, there is usually a price.
If you haven’t watched Justified from the beginning, I’m not sure you’ll be able to just jump in. I recommend getting on Netflix or Hulu and starting from episode one. I think it’s the type of show, that if you try to jump in now, not only will you be lost in the complex plot, but you will miss out on the building of these characters. I think it is well worth your time. But don’t be deceived. It is a violent, dark, extreme show. Don’t watch it with your kids. Don’t watch it expecting a glow. Watch it because you can’t not watch.
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