Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) A Letter to Michael B. Jordan A Letter to Michael B. Jordan Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' Top 10 Takeaways:  'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million Top 10 Takeaways: 'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Inside the Directors Guild Awards Inside the Directors Guild Awards Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' How Quentin Tarantino Resurrected Ultra Panavision 70 for 'The Hateful Eight' How Quentin Tarantino Resurrected Ultra Panavision 70 for 'The Hateful Eight' What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt? What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt?

TV IS THE NEW CINEMA - Meat & Potatoes

Thompson on Hollywood By David Chute | Thompson on Hollywood September 4, 2013 at 1:29PM

The satisfying contemporary Western procedural "Longmire" (A&E), from the novels of Craig Johnson, managed to squeeze a second season-ending cliffhanger out of the very same underlying mystery it turned to last year, the questions surrounding the death of the title character's beloved wife. If 'hangers are mandatory, you make use of what you've got.
1

Robert Taylor as Sheriff Walt Longmire
A&E Robert Taylor as Sheriff Walt Longmire

The satisfying contemporary Western procedural "Longmire" (A&E), from the novels of Craig Johnson, managed to squeeze a second season-ending cliffhanger out of the very same underlying mystery it turned to last year, the questions surrounding the death of the title character's beloved wife. If 'hangers are mandatory, you make use of what you've got.

That on-going thread, like the shorter one, in the second season just ended, about a campaign for re-election that pitted small-town Wyoming  Sheriff Walt Longmire against one of his deputies, are used to loosely stitch together a show that is not fundamentally serial, not a "novel for television." Rather, this companionable show is a solidly produced and well-acted crime-of-the-week anthology series of stand-alone stories -- "The Casebook of Walt Longmire."

Lou Diamond Phillips, Katee Sackhoff
A&E Lou Diamond Phillips, Katee Sackhoff

And we're comfortable with that. Not every program needs to be a Third Golden Age classic, a "novel for television." 

Most of the shows people like best resemble baggy old flannel shirts that in spots are almost worn through. The iconography of "Longmire" is deeply familiar: dusty pick-up trucks and broken-in boots, rim fire cartridges and the thorny politics of the local Rez. New Mexico stands in handsomely for Johnson's Wyoming and makes a spacious backdrop for the relaxed authority of series star Robert Taylor, new to us but a well-worn veteran actor in his native Australia.

The ace supporting cast includes "Battlestar Galactica" valkyrie Katee Sackhoff (who slouches even more eloquently than Taylor) and the lean and stalwart Lou Diamond Phillips, the Native tavern owner who is Walt's oldest friend. Ratings have risen steadily and "Longmire" has been renewed for a third season. Every show on TV should be at least this good.


This article is related to: TV, TV Reviews, Television, Reviews, Reviews, TV IS THE NEW CINEMA


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH



Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.