Buds and Spuds

Justified is a well written and acted show that is fun to watch.  It is no small feat to pull off the story and character beats the show has over the past four seasons. For all its dramatic acumen it is not a show that stays with me.

It is also one of the more over-praised shows on TV right now.

With each successive season the show’s shortcomings become more and more apparent. Beyond Raylan Given’s boss Art we still know very little of the rest of the Marshall office’s staff.  Tim and Rachael have been given little to do.  Justified also proves that a protagonist is only as good as their antagonist.  Season 2 brought us Mags Bennett and her boys and the tension through that season has yet to be attained or surpassed since then.  Seasons 3 and 4 have had their moments but the villains presented since then have been of lessor stature.

The show is shackled on two fronts.  First,  keeping Boyd Crowder as an ongoing character hobbles every confrontation he and Raylan have.  Which is a shame because these two men are so alike but on different sides of the law.  The show would be better for having a final confrontation between them and moving on.  It would also solve the aforementioned problem of freeing up precious screen time to flesh out the other Marshalls.

Secondly, Raylan Givens is not a sympathetic character.  So any empathy we are supposed to feel on his father’s death has to come from our feelings about our fathers because the show has never shown us any positive moments between the two.  Raylan is a chip off his father’s shoulder even though he would vehemently deny it.  Empathy for Raylan is a hard commodity to come by because the very things that make him a good cop are the very things that prevent him from living a normal life.

Sorry Raylan but you reap what you sow.

~~~

White Collar is one of those ubiquitous USA network shows that is breezy, fun, and yet ever so slight.  If Justified flitters away from thought shortly after it airs, White Collar is gone from mind even before the end credits roll.  USA prides itself on shows with characters and White Collar certainly has those.  I started watching the show because of Matt Bomer – who was on Chuck and Tim DeKay from the criminally cancelled in midstep HBO series – Carnivale.

The two leads have great chemistry but the blue skies mentality behind USA shows means that the basic configuration of the show is never going to change even when the characters have grown to a point where the original premise is showing signs of strain.  This strain has been compounded by the show that sets up game changing finales as season ending cliff hangers only to restore everyone back to their original state an episode or two into the next season.  Factor in a series which has no overarching storyline and the rinse and repeat nature of the stories has diluted my enjoyment of the show to the point that I am no longer interested in watching it.  Interestingly enough the same thing happened for me with Burn Notice.

~~~

Stomping Tom Connors passed away at the age of 77.  A Canadian icon he eschewed any thoughts of seeking his fortune outside of Canada and berated the Junos – the Canadian version of the Grammys – for honoring Canadians who had attained their fame outside the country.  A northern version of Johnny Cash, Stomping Tom was a one man act who performed without a dedicated back up band.

His songs such as An Okie From Muskokie and Bud the Spud captured the Canuck spirit so very well.  His, ‘Good Ol’ Hockey Game,’ was the Canadian equivalent of the American, ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame.’  It became a standard ritual for the rink crowd to sing along to Tom’s hockey game song.

So long Tom!  You were one of a kind.

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