Damn that Gerald McRaney! Evil as the late Branch Connally’s father – and we’re pretty sure he killed his own son to save his own skin as Longmire came to its cliffhanger ending on A&E last year? (Does anyone disagree that A&E makes dumb programming decisions?) Hard to see McRaney be evil (although he is pretty convincing as a scheming, conservative businessman and/or politician later in his career – earlier as Major Dad and one of the Simon brothers in Simon & Simon, he usually played someone else – usually someone else who had been a US Marine).
Happily, thanks to Netflix, we do not have to live with that eternal cliffhanger. A&E cancelled Longmire after three successful seasons – not because it had a small audience or because it was critically panned but because they did not like that the respectable audience Longmire attracted skewed too old. Are you fucking kidding me? The biggest population with the most money (to which advertisers should be catering) is the Baby Boom generation – and who is the coolest cat of this generation than Sheriff Walt Longmire as played by Robert Taylor? (Or Gerald McRaney’s character for god’s sake!).
There’s a bit of something for everyone in Longmire – Baby Boomer characters, a rich variety of characters with interesting back stories, mystery without being a standard cop/law and order show, wry and understated sarcasm and humor alongside some light cowboy-in-Wyoming goodness as well as some focus on contemporary Native American issues. And Wyoming itself – America’s least populated but an undeniably beautiful state, and almost entirely invisible apart from the fact that a tiny part of it touches Yellowstone National Park. Do we ever hear about Wyoming on TV except in Longmire, which is set there, or in Hell on Wheels, which tells a wild, wonderful tale of the westward building of rail lines?
I really wanted to focus on some work and other projects but Netflix had to taunt me into binge watching – once again. I reluctantly waltzed several years ago into watching the first season of Longmire. Like everyone else, I didn’t assume I was the target demographic – and a “cowboy cop show” theme didn’t hold much promise for me. But, if you know me, you know I check out a lot of things to which I initially declare “never”. A stellar cast sucked me in – this includes Lou Diamond Phillips (someone my brother, in childhood, once claimed he’d like to invite over for Thanksgiving?!) and Katee Sackhoff (and let’s face it – as a Battlestar Galactica junkie in withdrawal, I kind of watch anything with any of the former cast, which is usually very much a waste of time – see Killer Women with Tricia Helfer or much of what Jamie Bamber has done since, while Sackhoff has made some solid choices. And I started watching Hawaii Five-0 for Grace Park but stay for the Danno and McGarrett love story). Then the writing in Longmire has been swift, clever and engaging. It’s hard to find something not to like, even if you don’t find a passionate affinity for the show.
But I found my affinity and will binge my way through season four tonight. I suggest to anyone in doubt to do the same (or at least sample it and see). A&E might have abandoned the show because the people who watched it were too old for their liking, but luckily Netflix is not as biased or short-sighted.