Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day One Hundred and Seventy-six - Longmire: Pilot, "See this, Umpteen Generic Network Procedurals... THIS... is how you do a cop drama."

Of course, that's not fair... I've seen plenty of and reviewed several actually decent procedurals, no small percentage of which are actually available on Netflix right this very moment. It's just that I get so bitter and cynical over titles like BONES that I can't help but jump up and down and wave wildly at good catches like Longmire.

Sure, it has a fair share of it's own cheese, be it the kooky Rez vs. Whitefolk conflict and Lou Diamond Phillips as the debonair Tonto to Longmire's Kemosabe, but there are far too many pluses that cancel out said minuses.

For one thing, it's got a great supporting cast in the Sheriff's Office, including Katee Sackhoff, Bailey Chase, and Adam Bartley, who all insert just the right amount of grit, pluck, and naivete that make for a great, combustible combination.

For another, series lead Robert Taylor is perfect as the gruff cowboy sheriff with hidden depths. Whether its his obsession with his wife's ashes, the measured way he annoys his subordinates to try and bring out the best in them, or just his general swagger, Sheriff Longmire is the perfect protagonist to carry a modern day western. I honestly think only Jeff Bridges could do it better.

The pilot episode revolves around a murder discovered when Longmire's deputy, Vic (Sackhoff), calls him in for a dead sheep. From there the main mystery expands into a tale of prostitution, fatherhood, and jumps to conclusion that threaten Longmire's relationship with his best bud, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips).

LDP definitely annoys me the most in this role. He has too much presence to be a supporting actor in this way, being much more suited to a lead gig. It's just too distracting to have him as the convenient foil for Longmire.

Of secondary issue are the tribal parts. Whether they're the tribal police, the bus boy, or the gun dealer... most of the Native actors feel a bit under-prepared for their roles. It's distracting, to say the least.

Granted, it could be much worse (see pretty much every other mainstream depiction of Native Americans in just about all media. There are quite a few exceptions out there, but I've yet to see it here in Longmire.

If you're a fan of Westerns or well done Cop Dramas, I think you're pretty safe with Longmire. I look forward to checking it out more as time goes by.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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