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Longmire vs. Justified

(Let me start with an apology if the formatting of this post is wonky. I’ve been fighting it all day and finally gave up)

When I first talked about new shows starting for the summer, I mentioned that I hoped that Longmire would fill the gap left by one of my favorite shows, Justified. I mean, troubled lawman in a cowboy hat — sounds pretty good. Now that I’ve watched the first two episodes of Longmire, I’m ready to report.

Walt Longmire

First, Walt Longmire is a good looking man, but he’s definitely of the old West cowboy flavor. I’d much rather look at Raylan. Longmire does offer up a deputy, Branch, who I remember from Saving Grace, and while he’s yummy, I don’t like the character much, which takes away some of the pleasure from the eye candy.

Branch Connelly

Next, in looking at the characters, I think Walt could be almost as fascinating as Raylan. I remember way back in the first season of Justified, Raylan’s ex-wife Winona (ugh) said that he was the angriest man she’d ever known. And deep down it’s true; Raylan is an angry man. Walt, on the other hand, is a sad man. His wife died a year ago and he checked out. Although he kept his position as sheriff, he hasn’t much participated in life, and his deputies covered for him. Now, though, he’s coming back in. He’s decided that he wants to run for sheriff again, which puts him running against his deputy, Branch. One little quirk about Walt that I like is that litter drives him nuts. He’ll chase down a paper wrapper just so he can pick it up and get it off the street.

The last thing, and this is a big one, is dialogue. I wrote months ago about the superb dialogue in Justified. The dialogue in Justified reads they way we would all love to sound if we planned out everything we wanted to say, but it suits the characters, particularly Raylan, perfectly. After watching the first episode of Longmire, I thought maybe I hit another great example.

In that first episode, Walt stops and watches birds flying overhead. His deputy, Vic, says, “Hey, Walt. Wacha doin’?” His response?

“Thinking. I do that sometimes before I talk.”

No, it’s not the rambling God-I-love-this-dialogue speech, but this kind of line sums up who Walt is, much like Raylan’s commentary on his lack of “interest in shitkicker-on-shitkicker crime.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that same feeling about the dialogue in episode 2. While I still enjoyed the show and Walt is one of those intelligent, well-seasoned sheriffs that is often underestimated because he’s old school (doesn’t have a cell phone, doesn’t use a computer). I’m going to keep watching because my hope is that we’ll get more of that character-revealing dialogue.

I also think that the secondary characters, if they get a chance to be fully developed, will be interesting to watch. The one female deputy, Vic, is a transplant from Philadelphia where she was a homicide detective. We haven’t gotten her story about why she moved, but really, it has to be good, right? What could get you to move to Wyoming if you were a city girl? I think Branch running against Walt will make for good drama. They’re both good cops, but they antagonize each other. Lou Diamond Phillips plays Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear. I wonder how they became friends.

The last thing that makes this show watchable is the setting itself. The big open expanse of land is beautiful. From what I understand, the show is filmed in New Mexico, which disappointed me. I watched the first episode believing that I was seeing Wyoming. Either way, still beautiful.

Have you watched Longmire? What do you think?

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New Summer TV

So, last week I wrote about shows that are canceled that I’ll miss and the week before I talked about shows that are returning for the summer. Today, I’m talking about shows that are new, premiering this summer (some have already started).

image from imdb.com

First up, Common Law. This show premiered a couple of weeks ago on May 11. I’ve watched the first 2 episodes and I’ll continue because it’s pretty funny. The premise is that 2 cops, who are partners, are forced into couples counseling. Of course, the idea is ridiculous, especially when you take into consideration that everyone else in the group is married. But the main characters are fascinating. We don’t have all of the backstory yet, but it is unfolding. Wes is a former lawyer who became a cop because of something bad that happened that he feels responsible for. We don’t know yet what that thing is, but we know that the career change ended his marriage. (He has shared custody of the lawn.) Travis is a player. He’s slept with too many co-workers, which causes issues while he and Wes are trying to work. Travis grew up in a string of foster homes and because of this, he has a lot of connections that help solve cases. The banter is funny and keeps me watching.

Duets airs tonight, and although I can’t say that I’m really looking forward to it, my daughters are. They got so caught up in watching The Voice, that they can’t wait for Duets to start.

Longmire is a show that I haven’t heard much about, but I think I’ll give it shot. It airs on Sun 6/3. It’s a contemporary crime drama about a sheriff in Wyoming. He lost his wife a year ago, and he’s just starting to put his life back together, when one of his deputies decides to run against him for sheriff. I’m thinking this might fill the void left by Justified. Just check out the cowboy hat. 🙂

BBC America is bringing in a BBC show called Inside Men. BBC tends to be hit or miss for me, but I might watch this. It’s about 3 security depot employees who plan and execute a heist. The story is told from all of their points of view, so that’s interesting. This has a little Leverage feel to it, for me anyway.

TNT is starting 2 new crime dramas: Perception and Major  Crimes. Major Crimes is a spin-off of The Closer and my initial reaction was that I’m not that big of a fan to want to watch a spin-off, but the main character is Capt. Raydor, who played a by-the-rules bitch in The Closer, and I might tune in for her.

Perception is about a neuroscientist with paranoid schizophrenia who helps the FBI solve crimes. The thing is, he sees things that other people don’t. Seriously, sometimes he hallucinates. I might watch just for the crazy factor.

Finally, TBS is airing a new comedy called Sullivan & Son. Now, if you’ve paid attention to my viewing habits, you’d notice that the comedies are almost non-existent. It tends to be a timing thing. This one caught my attention because it’s about a guy who goes home to visit and ends up taking over the family bar. Since a family bar is the setting for a couple of my books, I think I’ll watch just for inspiration. Plus, I was always a fan of Cheers.

What new TV show are you most looking forward to?

Don’t forget the Diamond Jubilee blog hop and raffle are still going on. Click below:

Friday Favorites – Dating, Writing, and TV

Busy week around here again. I’ve been saying that a lot lately it seems. Between Trouble’s birthday and RT and getting my revision letter from my editor, I’m a bit crazed. By the time this posts, I’ll be back at RT for a full day of workshops and fun. I’ll get another post up about it next week (or earlier if I’m really ambitious).

On to this week’s list of favorite blog posts. I bet you’re wondering how I managed to read all of these posts (and maybe even question if I did actually read). I read some throughout the week as I discover them on Twitter. Then I sit down with my Google reader and scan everything I’m subscribed to and pick the best. So really, in addition to these, I’ve read lots of others.

Dating and Love–

image courtesy of recruiterpoet.com

Ingrid Schaffenburg has another post to partner with the one I linked to last week about finding “the one.” This week she talks about finding your type (or not). As I said last week, I married my opposite and it’s worked out pretty well for us.

Jenny Hansen is participating in the A-Z blog challenge, which means she’s blogging every day in April, working her way through the alphabet. This week for H, she wrote about being a hussy and online dating. This is yet more evidence that I should never again enter the dating world. Have a laugh.

Finally, this post is great and it shows exactly why I love Romance Man. He writes about how men have to put in effort to make marriage work. Excellent advice that should be shared with men the world over.

Writing–

Angela M. is also doing the A-Z challenge and has a post about Alpha males that I wanted to include because I love Alphas.

Both Jami Gold and Kristen Lamboffered posts this week about finding your voice in writing. I kind of stumbled into my writing voice. When I started writing romance, I

image courtesy of lifeislifeislife.blog.com

followed the old saying “write what you know.” I read romantic suspense more than anything else. It’s a genre I feel I know and understand well. My first 2 manuscripts are both romantic suspense and will probably never see the light of day. About halfway through the second one, I knew it wasn’t working, but couldn’t figure out why. When I had the idea for my third manuscript, I realized it could be nothing but contemporary romance. I dove into the subgenre and read and read and read. Then I wrote and found a natural fit for my voice. That is the book that will debut later this year.

Chuck Wendig has one of his list posts this week called 25 reasons I hate your main character. Must read.

Elena Aitken has a post about her new release and the soundtrack she made for it. It really makes me wish I had created a playlist for the book I’m working on now.

TV–

As a quick follow-up to my post and link to others about the anti-hero, Sonia Medeiros continues with another post about Dexter, everyone’s favorite anti-hero.

Tiffany White covers Bent, which is a show I talked about when it premiered. I haven’t watched comedies in a long time, but this one attracted my attention (probably after Tiffany mentioned it on her blog). But I am a sucker for a man in a toolbelt. It’s a fun, campy show, but Tiffany brings up some good points.

One of my favorite shows, Justified, ended for the season this week. It seems like it crept on me too quickly and I’m not quite ready to let go. Adam Bellotto has a good recap of the last episode.

Allison Brennan did an excellent post on her hatred for Raylan’s ex-wife Winona. I hadn’t thought much about it, although I never really liked Winona. Allison makes fabulous points about why she hopes Winona is gone for good and I’m inclined to agree. Allison wrote this post before the season finale and it’s probably good because at the end of the show, Winona is so slow on the uptake when Raylan is telling her about all the bad shit, that I wanted to slap her. So clueless (and not good enough for Raylan).

Last, but not least–

Emma Burcart writes about the old adage “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” This expression has always bugged the shit out of me. Yes, I was a teacher. No, I am not less than other people because I chose that career. Teaching is damn hard work and all of you should go out and thank a teacher for helping you get where you are today.

What expression or adage drives you a little batshit?

(I probably won’t get around to responding to comments until this weekend but I will get to them – promise)

Dialogue in Justified

image taken from Google images

Even if you’re not a Timothy Olyphant fan  (I think you’re a little nuts if you’re not), you need to be watching Justified. The show does everything right. The characters are believable, relatable, and real — a huge range of characters from all walks of life, but as a viewer, you buy into them.

But the real pleasure in this show is the snappy dialogue. You don’t have to understand much about the characters to see the beauty in this quote. Raylan, U.S. Marshall is threatening Boyd, childhood friend, adult frenemy. Theirs is an odd relationship, but for the purpose of this quote, you only need to know that Raylan has just found out that Boyd used Raylan’s aunt’s house as an Oxy clinic. In addition to the other problems in his life, this makes Raylan a bit uptight.

“You want to run your hillbilly heroin fiefdom up here, that’s between you and the great state of Kentucky. I got no interest in shitkicker-on-shitkicker crime. But you will not drag me into this. The next time you set up any operation in this county or anywhere else it better not have my god damn family name on the deed or so help me God, I will lose this star and the dance we do subsequent to that will not end with you finding Jesus in a hospital bed.”

That right there is why I watch the show. If you want to see Raylan deliver this speech, you can find the clip at the bottom of this page. You’ll find it under ‘Selected Scenes.’ It’s well worth the minute and a half.

Those lines are so well-crafted, it’s amazing. Really, the entire episode, while not as exciting as many of the others has so many hidden gems in both characterization and dialogue.

A lot of writers struggle with dialogue. Part of the reason I was drawn to poetry as a teen was that I never had to write dialogue. I sucked at it because I tried writing the way people talked.

Over years of reading and writing, I discovered that writing good dialogue means using regular language, natural stuff for the characters, but you have to cut the junk out. As people we say a lot of junk. The junk is boring.

Look at that quote again. That’s not how most people talk. Most of us would use much shorter sentences and pause more often. But then, the words would lose power. As a reader and viewer, we’re sucked into the power of that quote because it’s well-crafted. I think as writers we need to find that balance between natural speech and craft.

Although this quote is too long, I think, for most people to memorize and spout off, it is definitely memorable.

What are some of your all time favorite movie or TV quotes?

The Return of Old Friends (and they’re not all cops)

Ahh…now that the holidays are over, we get back to the important stuff: good TV. 🙂 Of course, many of our regular shows will pop up with new episodes (I’m looking at you, Castle). But for me, I also look forward to the  return of some favorite mid-season shows.

First up, Southland. I really thought this show had gotten canceled. It started out on network TV and was cut. Then TNT picked it up. In case you’ve never seen it, the show’s about LA cops (big surprise, right?). What makes this show unique is that it isn’t about one department or division solving a big crime each week. It follows a few detectives and a few uniformed cops. We get snippets of their personal lives, but because it’s such a big cast of characters to follow, you don’t spend a lot of time with any one character. Mostly, we get to see what being a cop does to these people. We see them doing the boring parts of the job as well as the exciting parts. While I do watch this show every week, and I look forward to its return, I can’t say I’m excited. Kind of like when an old friend is coming to visit; you’re happy to see him, but you don’t get all hot and bothered over it.

Now, Justified, on the other hand, really heats things up. The show is based on an Elmore Leonard story, so you know its roots are solid. Raylan Givens (played by the very sexy Timothy Olyphant) is a U.S. Marshall with a hot temper. He has a habit of shooting people who come up against him. Every shooting, though, turns out to be justifiable, hence the name of the show. During season 1, Raylan was transferred

back to Kentucky where he grew up. He has strong ties (not necessarily good ones) to Harlan County. The cast of characters is diverse and real, but it is Raylan who brings me back each week. He’s a damaged hero, but you don’t know that right away. He seems pretty put together on the outside, but his ex-wife pointed out, “You’re one of the angriest men I know.” And it’s true. That anger pops out and although he doesn’t turn into a raving lunatic, you see it in his eyes. Not a man I’d want to cross. Putting all that aside, the plot lines are drawn from real life. Real people trying to survive in small towns in a crappy economy — drugs, gangs, and coal mining.

The show that I am really excited about is Shameless. This is another show that we Americans stole from the Brits. I’ve only caught part of one episode of the British version, so I can’t say whether it’s any good. I am totally in love with the American version, though. I love this show for so many reasons: 1. It takes place in Chicago (who doesn’t like to see their hometown on TV?) and the producers do it right., 2. It’s about the Gallaghers, a large Irish family (you remember my post on Blue Bloods?), and 3. The family is so real, yet unique and damaged that you want to see what will happen.

William H. Macy plays Frank, the good-for-nothing drunk father. Mom took off a long time ago, leaving eldest child, Fiona in charge. Fiona is in her early twenties and she’s become mom to this group, at the expense of her own life. Lip (Philip) comes next in line. He’s a genius, but doesn’t even seriously consider furthering his education to make life better, mostly because he has no role models to look to. Ian is next. He’s ROTC and gay. He hides being gay because a white Irish boy on the south side of Chicago isn’t supposed to be that way. Debbie wants a normal family; Carl is a serial killer in training; and Liam is a biracial baby. What I love most about this family is that they’re not just dysfunctional. They are a hot stinking mess, but they have great coping skills. They make life work. Every time it looks like something will finally go their way, it seeps from their grasp (usually because of something Frank does).

This season the episodes are all supposed to take place over the summer, which should make things even more interesting. Last year it was winter in Chicago and the kids had school. Winter in Chicago is pretty yucky, but summertime is great. Plus, the episodes are going to air while it really is winter here. I can’t wait.

(Video not safe for work)

What returning shows are you most looking forward to?