The Best Show You’re Probably Not Watching is Officially Coming to an End
Source – It’s FX’s day at the Television Critics Association press tour, which, as always, brings with it a load of news about new shows (Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis are developing a comedy for Galifianakis to star in), new deals (the FX Now streaming app is finally ready to launch, if your cable system cuts a deal with FX), and on returning shows. On the latter case, the biggest news was official confirmation that “Justified” will end after next season, the show’s sixth. (The second episode of the fifth season airs tonight at 10; I’ll have a review up later, but it’s a good one.)
In the middle of his executive press conference (Fienberg has all the details on it in his live-blog), FX president John Landgraf called “Justified” one of his favorite shows, and would have gladly kept the show around for several more seasons. Instead, creator Graham Yost and star Timothy Olyphant said they felt the story was winding down.
“We talked about it a year ago and they felt that the arc of the show, and what they had to say, would be best served by six seasons instead of seven,” Landgraf said, “so regretfully I accepted their decision.”
Yost, Olyphant and the rest of the “Justified” gang will also be here for a panel, and I imagine they will have a lot more to say about the decision then. But I’m fine with it. “Justified” is one of the best shows on TV, but for the most part, TV shows shouldn’t run forever, and too many shows in this golden age suffered from sticking around past their creative expiration date. If Yost and Olyphant think they’ve only got one more year of good stories after this one (just as Terence Winter apparently felt about “Boardwalk Empire,” which will end after its next season), I trust them.
What does everybody else think? Sad our time in Harlan is running out, or do you agree we’d be risking diminishing returns if it ran much longer?
I’ve never had as much trouble finding a fellow fan of a TV show than I’ve had with FX’s Justified. For those who don’t watch it (which in my case, is just about everyone I’ve ever talked to) Justified’s plot would suggest it’s a drama, but it’s charm comes from the southern style of comedy that is splashed all over every episode. Our “hero” Raylon Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is a U.S. Marshall who gets his worst case scenario assignment: back to his corrupt hometown of Harlan County, Kentucky. Raylon spends most of every episode dealing with thugs, rednecks, drug dealers or a weird combination of the three. While Olyphant is terrific, my favorite part of the series is the unstoppable combination of character actors and actresses the show has plugged in along the way. Let’s start with the series semi regulars. Ava (Joelle Carter) is a southern belle with a shotgun. She’s been in all but 2 episodes of the series, and it’s a delight any time she turns up on screen. Raylon’s boss and fellow U.S. Marshal’s, played by Nick Searcy, Jacob Pitts and Erica Tazel, respectively, have solid chemistry, both with Raylon and each other. I’ve always been under the impression, whether it’s in film or TV, that the pulse of a movie or show is in the hands of the bad guys. That’s where Boyd Crowder comes in. Crowder (Walton Goggins) is far and away my favorite character. Goggins is severely underrated as an actor (go back and watch another FX show, The Shield, if you don’t want to take my word for it) and he plays the drug dealer turned preacher turned drug dealer Boyd Crowder perfectly. He’s been phased out in recent seasons, which I can only imagine is going to lead to one last showdown with his best pal Raylon. The rest of the cast fills out with a who’s who of “I know that person from somewhere” actors. Mike O’Malley, Neal McDonough Michael Rappaport and Margo Martindale all play some bad asses, with McDonough taking the title of “ultimate deranged bad guy”. Patton Oswalt even got in on the fun last season, playing a bumbling constable. Every character in this show hits it out of the park, and that’s a hard thing to do with a cast as deep as Justified’s.
There’s a silver lining to the announcement that Justified will end after next season. In an era where so many shows and stars hang on far too long, it’s nice to see Justified choose to bow out while the storytelling is still so good and the characters are still so fresh. So many shows drag stories on and give their fans a mediocre ending. I can’t see that happening with Justified. There is still a lot of life left in this series, and the people in charge still seem to be on top of their game. That combination should equal a memorable spring of 2015.