Monday, June 4, 2012

Longmire - The Premiere

"Longmire" premiered on A&E last night. I hope you all had a chance to watch and will weigh in on your thoughts.

With the exception of Lou Diamond Phillips, I was unfamiliar with any of the other actors - as most of you know, my television viewing is extremely limited these days so I'm not as familiar with actors as I have been in the past. But I think in many ways that helped me to be a little more unbiased. I didn't come in liking or disliking certain actors because of other roles they have performed in. That being said...

I have decided that I like the television show "Longmire" BUT I am going to watch it much the same way I have always watched "Bones." It is a separate entity unto itself. To try to see and make connections with the books "Longmire" is based on would only make me dislike the television show. The same is true for "Bones."

I also think I discovered why I don't watch as much television anymore. The lack of depth to plot has become disappointing to me. Obviously the television writers couldn't re-create the plot of THE COLD DISH in a one-hour show. And what they put together was very good, but it was very straight-forward and one-dimensional. One of the major reasons I love Craig Johnson's writing is that it isn't straight-forward and one-dimensional. There are layers and symbols and nuances and depth. You can do that in a 400-page book; a one-hour television show with commercials, not so much.

And that's where I'll stop my comparison with the books. As I said at the beginning, I'm going to view the show from here on out as a separate entity. So, let me run down a bit of what I really liked about "Longmire."

My favorite scene of the premiere was Walt handing "Branch" (a.k.a. Turk - sorry, I wasn't going to do that, right?) the HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and telling him he needed to work on his detecting skills.

The focus on the lack of a cell phone for Walt illustrated a lot about his character. Given that they've chosen to make Walt younger, I think that's an important characteristic to bring out in him.

I also like the fallibility of Walt's character. 

I love that Henry doesn't talk in contractions...although I did catch a "you're."

I think Cassidy Freeman as Cady is wonderful. Having seen just this first episode I would say she was the best cast character. Even though he was completely different from what I imagined and only showed up for a few seconds, I thought Omar (Louis Herthum) was great. And his short stint in this episode can lend itself to future opportunities with his character.

Those are my thoughts. Now it's your turn. What did you like or not like about the "Longmire" premiere? And if you're going to include any kind of spoiler in your comments please note that in all caps at the beginning of your comment, so if someone is still waiting to watch and doesn't want to know what happens, they can skip over your comment.


Lesa June 4, 2012 at 8:43 AM  

I'm not as critical of TV mysteries as others are, Jen, so I was happy with it, and I'll watch future shows. I'm not one of those people who complain that the episode didn't match "The Cold Dish". Liked it & I'll look forward to future episodes. I liked Cady and Vic best.

I agree with you. Liked the Hound of the Baskervilles scene. I also liked Vic's, "Hello, Cinderella." There were some very good lines in this first episode.

BLB June 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM  

I was really pleased with the premiere episode. I agree that the show shouldn't be compared too closely to the books but I do want the characters to be true to books in the way they behave or respond to each other and events. Walt was well played and Vic was great. I liked the little bit we saw of "the Ferg" as well. I hope we see more of Ruby (and maybe post-it notes) in future episodes.

le0pard13 June 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM  

I was happy with LONGMIRE. I think it kept with the spirit of the book series but still carving out a niche for itself. I definitely will continue to follow the A&E series. Thanks, Jen.

Naomi Johnson June 4, 2012 at 6:40 PM  

Like you, I don't watch much TV, Jen. I thought the show was okay, it got some things right and others not so much. I'm waiting to see the characters fully develop; as you say, a 400-page book can't be scrunched into a one-hour show, so I hope to see a gradual development in the future episodes. Nice to see that the ratings were so good, so at least the show should have a chance to develop!

Christine June 4, 2012 at 8:33 PM  

Overall, we were happy with it! There's some kinks to be worked out, but I think most pilots are like that. Need an episode or two to bring out more of the characters. Loved the look of it. We'll keep watching.

Bella June 4, 2012 at 9:03 PM  

I think I was anticipating too much for the show. I so love all the Longmire books that I just knew this was going to be a fantastic show. I have the show on DVR so I'm going to watch it again tomorrow with a more accepting attitude realizing the TV version is not the book. Overall I think it's going to be a good program.

Eileen K. June 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM  

I'm right there with you, Jen. It wasn't so much that the story didn't track the book--the books have revealed the backstory gradually; TV is too impatient for that. It's that the characters are nothing like the characters in the books. My view is also colored by my having "read" the books in audio, so the masterful readings by George Guidall put not only voices but whole characters in my head. And those in the TV version aren't even close. I also have no idea why they cast an Australian for Walt Longmire. And in casting Lou Diamond Phillips, did they think all Indians are the same? I will probably watch another episode or two, but I have to stop thinking about it as the Craig Johnson stories on TV. They aren't. I'm disappointed, but not surprised.

Kim Roberts June 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM  

I thought "Longmire" was EXCELLENT, very heart-warming and the characters were very true-to-form. I think it followed the book closer than any TV show ever has, and look forward to watching this series in earnest! I loved the way "Walt" and "Vic" acted just like they do in the books, and felt the show altogether was gripping and action-packed. GREAT DEBUT!!!

caite June 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM  

I liked the premiere! But then I haven't read any of the books, so I don't know how they compare. With tv shows or movies of a beloved book, it is always a problem...

Lara July 8, 2012 at 7:20 PM  

i agree with eilleen K - the characters are nothing like the books and though i know you can't reproduce a lovely layered and detailed novel in one hour, the basic characters should be built on the ones in the book.

we didn't have an american actor that could have played the role of walt?

robert taylor is wooden and there is NO chemistry with anyone in the cast. there is supposed to be this sexual tension between walt and vic but that is missing. that could have easily been built into the tv format.

and i would have been easy enough to use the post-it note bits in the show.

speaking of henry, puleeze, we didn't have a Indian actor that could have played henry, someone that closely resembles the character in the book? henry is supposed to be physically imposing. lou diamond phillips is not. and he is not indian. sometimes it's better to actually understand the basic underlying components to a story rather than take a generic western theme and then use only a vague outline of the published stories.

this could have been SO much better and still stayed within the constraints of television.

and the directing is amateurish at best. i knew we were in trouble when in the first episode walt was supposed to shed a few tears onto his boots, and about a cup of water landed on the leather. ok, maybe not a cup, but enough so i sat up and thought to myself "you've go to be kidding."

i guess more than anything, i'm bored by the show.

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