While many television show and film producers prefer to put their faith in something that comes out of comic books, older franchises, or foreign ideas, novels converted to the visual medium are experiencing a resurgence as well. This is largely due to the awesome success of Game of Thrones on the small screen and Harry Potter on the big screen in recent years. Longmire is based on a novel about a cowboy sheriff in Wyoming and the show seems to follow it closely. The settings are unmistakably country western.
Yet this is no low-budget, high-cheese Walker: Texas Ranger. As @Longmire has high production values, stunning expansive cinematography, and a serious tone, it is more akin to No Country for Old Men if it is to be compared to contemporary westerns. Robert Taylor dons a gravelly, low voice in the style of Clint Eastwood and plays an intense Sheriff @Longmire. This serves him well, as he can just as well use psychological pressure to get his man as his elite gunslinging ways. Many of the plots of the show are dark in nature, with #Longmire investigating murders, rapes, and a similar ilk of heinous crimes in his jurisdiction of Absaroka County, Wyoming, as well as on a nearby Indian reservation.
A&E made the baffling decision to cancel #Longmire during season 3 despite strong ratings. This was an odd move, considering the fact that the channel had been drifting in a rural direction for almost a decade with shows like Duck Dynasty, Country Bucks, and Escaping Polygamy. Couple this with the fact that they air syndicated crime shows in the CSI franchise and it would seem like Longmire was a perfect fit for their portfolio, being that it’s a cop show set in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. After being kicked about in limbo for a bit, Netflix decided that it didn’t have enough programming targeting the central US demographic and gave it a new lease on life online.
While Netflix doesn’t reveal ratings, A&E does and Longmire proved to have a very devoted core of fans. Every season that aired on the cable network maintained about 4 million viewers on average. It is unknown how many of these people were comfortable with the shift to the online world, but the chances are that they took it well as Netflix has been running the show for two seasons now.
4 million isn’t a spectacular number, even when compared to other police dramas, and many a show has been wrecked with fan bases of similar size. Furthermore, this show isn’t one that’s going to appeal to the mainstream. The western genre has its ardent supporters, but people outside of the circle are wary of getting involved with a genre that is popularly seen as lacking novelty and harkening back to a time period of cultural conservatism and dull rigidity. This is unfair, of course – contemporary western girls have been displaying astounding vigor, from the morally plot of No Country for Old men to the unhinged violence in The Hateful Eight. Yet it seems that westerns are having trouble shaking off their old reputation as pulp entertainment.
Yet no one can deny that western fans know who they are and know where to get their cowboy fix. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the ratings online. Longmire has a Metacritic score from critics of a little fewer than 70 percent. This is probably fair. It has good action, good acting, and good scenery. Nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s executed well enough and comes in what can be considered new packaging with the setting. Fans, on the other hand, have been waiting for just this setting. Metacritic voters give the show a very strong 9.1 out of 10 and 94% of viewers like it on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDb gives it a little less acclaim at 8.3 out of 10, but this is still considered to be very high on that site. These ratings are no surprise. The only people who will watch the show are those who are attracted by the western aesthetic. Those who don’t probably won’t even bother to give the series a chance, meaning that naysayers won’t have any interest in even rating it.
There are no signs that the show is slowing down. In fact, it is picking up the pace. Season 5 sees Sheriff Longmire going up against a heroin epidemic, the Irish mafia, corruption, and the legal system. The plot is thickening without resorting to repetition or cliché. The fact that the show is named after the lead character reminds one of the style of superhero movies. Like a superhero, it looks like Sheriff Longmire can get himself into any variety of situations limited only by the imagination of the writers’. We’ll probably be seeing more of this one for season 6 and beyond.
Of course, we don’t know that for sure yet, since Netflix has its lips sealed. But when we do know, you’ll be the second to know after us if you sign up
How are you enjoying Longmire’s adventures? Do you think the show has changed direction since it went on Netflix? Who is your favorite criminal on the show? Let us know your opinions down below.