"Justified," the new FX series based on crime novelist Elmore Leonard's character U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, premiered last night.

I really enjoyed it. The show felt stiff in the first half of the episode, but more than made up for it in the second.

Don't bother comparing the TV Givens to the book Givens. Outside of the cowboy hat, spaghetti Western code of ethics and general kick-ass/take-names paradigm, TV Givens is a far cry from book Givens. The fact the FX version is a series and not a direct screen interpretation of Leonard's work has something to do with it.

In case you're wondering, the name "Justified" is different from what the show was originally titled, "Lawman." Steven Segal messed that up with his "reality" show of the same name. "Justified" is OK, but "Lawman" has more of a crime novel feel to it. It's forgiveable though.

But that doesn't mean it isn't worth a watch. FX has a history of cranking out quality grit ("The Shield," "Rescue Me," etc.), and "Justified" should be another.

What did you think of the show?

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I wish I could see it. We don't get it in Canada until April.
It didn't grab me the way "The Shield" did--that one had me by the throat from the first 20 minutes and didn't let go until the end of season 7. But I enjoyed the episode, liked the performances and the script, hated some of the lighting. Really dark TV shows are just wasted on me, maybe because I'm not watching on a plasma screen or something, but I lose so much detail it's hard to know what's going on. And this one had a lot of strange eye-and-teeth lighting.

I'll keep watching, at least for a while.
There's a "Shield" alumnus on this show. Forget his name, though.
Walton Goggins. I think he was a one-time appearance, though, as he looked pretty dead by the end.
Guess I spoke too soon... it looks like he'll be a recurring character (since he's not credited along with the regulars). Glad to see it.

I liked last night's episode a lot, too. Think I'll be sticking with this one for a while.
He's too good of a character to bump off in the first episode. So I was glad to see that, too.
I finally got a chance to check it on the DVR last night, and likes it a lot. I always pictured Raylan Givens as older, but Olyphant pulls it off well, with humor and an undertone of menace. The dialog for the premiere was spot on, though they had Leonard's original to work from this time; we'll see how it holds up.

The highest praise I can send is to pass along a comment the Beloved Spouse made about halfway in, referring to Raylan: That man's got some hard bark on him. Classic Leonard line, and the show brought it to mind without using it. Well done.
Stumbled on that line last night while reading "The Hot Kid." It made me think "Hard Bark" would be a great name for a Leonard biopic.
Leonard likes that line. The first time I ever heard him use it was in HOMBRE. In the movie, Richard Boone hollers up to Paul Newman, "Mister, you got some hard bark on you."

And you're right; that would be a good title.
Tonight I will watch the season-ender on FX. I think it's been a great series. The first half of the year there were separate stories, but lately each episode gave us more of Coggins and a story arch that boiled to a head last week. Tonight is the big showdown with Raylan, his incredibly unpredictable father, Coggins, and Coggin's father, who is head of the local drug business. Automatics, bazookas, and armies of meth-fed crazies are choosing sides. I can't wait.

Leonard is an executive producer on the series, and I thought Raylan was classic Elmore. He loves dragging rude people to the Explaining Department.
They capture the tone of Leonard's writing better than just about everyone, too. The Beloved Spouse and I are psyched about tonight's episode. (Which we'll watch tomorrow over dinner, as neither of us can be relied upon to stay up that late.) I haven't enjoyed watching a television show this much since THE WIRE went off the air.
Good Stuff. I will be happy to see the next season.


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