TV In Review: Longmire

With word coming down that Longmire is officially getting a season five, H takes a look at the series so far. 

"No. You may not call me
Marlboro Man. "
The term “binge watching” is a relatively new one. Never before have people had an opportunity to pick a television show to watch in its entirety. Before Netflix, Hulu, and other instant streaming devices, you had to watch a show week by week or wait for it to be transferred to DVD or for the older folks reading, VHS and even then, not every single episode was available. We live in a time where virtually anything is at our fingertips. I, for one, am blown away at how far technology has come and cannot wait for what the future holds. Netflix has changed the game for television. Not only have they started making television shows of their own (that are much more boundless in terms of content than the FCC allows on regular TV), but they also swoop in and buy network television shows that get canceled, like Longmire.

Longmire got its start on A&E, a cable network channel back in June of 2012. While it was well received and continued on A&E until August 4, 2014, it was announced that the show would not be renewed for a fourth season. Netflix picked it up and continued the masterpiece, airing season four on September 10, 2015 with no end in sight, as of yet. A little backstory, if I may. Being a huge fan of the Battlestar Galactica reboot in 2004, I grew to adore actors from the show and liked to keep up with what some of them are doing in and out of show-biz—Katee Sackhoff being one of them. I saw a video interview of her with Paul F. Thompkins a while back, and she spoke about a number of things, but mostly about a show she co-stared on called, Longmire. Forgetting about it completely, I booted up my PlayStation 4 one day this past September and started the Netflix app. When something new comes to Netflix, it is highlighted and the first thing you see upon starting. Longmire was all up in my face screaming “WATCH ME!”,  and the interview with Sackhoff popped into my head. Not only does she seem like the sweetest, coolest, nicest, badass chick ever, but she is a phenomenal actor so, of course I hit “X” to start episode one. Right away I knew that I wouldn’t be leaving my couch until I had watched this entire show.

"Damn straight. I came back from the dead."
Season one introduces you to Walter Longmire (Robert Taylor), Victoria ‘Vic” Moretti (Katee Sackhoff), Branch Connally (Bailey Chase), The Ferg (Adam Bartley), Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), Walt’s best friend, and Cady Longmire (Cassidy Freeman), Walt’s daughter. As season one went on, I took note of everything. The show had me hooked for so many reasons and after finishing the entire series, I felt lost without it. The first thing that struck me was the environment. Filmed in Sant√© Fe New Mexico, Longmire is set in a fictional Wyoming town called Durant, which is where Walter Longmire, Sheriff and his deputies call home (based on the real life town of Buffalo, Wyoming where writer Craig Allen Johnson developed his Sheriff Walt Longmire novels). Longmire depicts Wyoming perfectly with its vast openness and mountain ridges, right down to the farming population that are still in production today. The cinematography is stunning. The camera work exudes tone perfectly and with the exemplary acting—you get lost in the moment, but are completely conscious of everything going on in the show. Every single person in this show, big and small, acts their asses off. The performances given in Longmire surpass most Oscar winners. I was stunned by how each player provided such flow to the series. This could not happen if the writing couldn't pull its own weight, but it’s flawless. Like most crime dramas, it has a formula. Longmire is your typical “monster of the week” show, but season one has the cover of a great murder/mystery drama and when you read (watch) between the lines, you begin to see that Longmire’s story has a deep and dark undertone.

By season two, not only are you craving to know how this story is concluded, but you’re genuinely invested in each character and hope for the best. Longmire had some thought-provoking themes I stood firm with, allowing me to experience different point of view. The only other show that could do this was 2004’s reimagined Battlestar Galactica. There is no argument in saying Longmire is on par with BSG (for those of you that have not watched BSG, I implore you to do so. It will change your life). The character arc of Branch Connally has to be one of the most intense stories on television in the past decade. You are consistently on the fence about him and just when you feel it’s comfortable to choose a side and get down, you see something that shakes you up. The dynamic between Connally and Walt alone makes for good TV, but all of the characters have their own personal ties with Walt, furthering your deep admiration for them. Even Ruby, Walt’s secretary, plays a major role in Walt’s life.

"Yes sir, bad ass all around."
What I love about Longmire is its core. At first glance, you see cowboys, you see guns, you see trucks and farms, and think, “Eh, I’m not one for Westerns”, but the guts of this show is a pure murder/mystery drama with realistic cases you hear about all the time and convincing characters you may know in your everyday life. Each season stands strong on its own, but together an empire was built with stand-out performances all around. It’s hard to believe this show hasn't garnered any awards. Just watch it. I guarantee you will be floored by its ability to move you.

A quote from Peter Weller's character says what I cannot about Longmire. “The cowboy has always been a dying breed, but he takes his dying slowly, perched upon his steed. The prairie is his prison, his church, his wife. And if you take away his sky, you take away his life. Yet where does he go when the ranges all have closed? Does he retire in his bunkhouse in depressed repose? No, he climbs back in that saddle, if just to bide his time. The cowboy knows…a good death…is hard to find.”



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