'Justified' premiere: Did it justify your time?

What did you think Justified‘s premiere episode? Was it a relief not to have to see any more of FX’s 3,428 commercials for Justified and finally see the thing itself?

Justified worked on just about every level for me. Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens is both an idealized and a realistic man of action. That is, the character isn’t like so many TV and movie heroes who make threats and intimidate thugs with smartly-phrased but empty threats. Instead, Raylan empties his gun into them.

And wild-eyed villains don’t get any better when Walton Goggins plays them. You also believed the bond between these two men, that they could have emerged from the same hardscrabble background and have arrived at very different places in life.

You can read my full review here, as it appears in EW.

As much as I liked it, I do think Justified has some challenges in building an audience. First, and I’m only half-kidding here, there’s the hat: Raylan’s big cowboy hat bellows “Western!” to casual (young?) (female?) viewers who may not be all that enthused about what could be perceived as a modern-day Western.

(Even Elmore Leonard isn’t all that fond of the hat: Read this very entertaining interview Leonard gave to TV critic Alan Sepinwall here.)

More important: Unlike other FX audience faves such as Sons of Anarchy and, before that, The Shield, the show is primarily about one man, not a team or an ensemble. Which means, if you don’t think Tim Olyphant’s character is the bee’s-knees, there aren’t a lot of obviously prominent characters surrounding him to latch onto. (Though keep a close eye on Jacob Pitts’ sharp-shooter Tim Gutterson and Erica Tazel’s Rachel Brooks as increasingly vivid presences.)

Also, the tone of Justified is very intentionally low-key-wry. That’s in keeping with Elmore Leonard’s prose, but it doesn’t always make for the kinds of explosive arguments and tension that, again, SOA and Shield possess in high-octane amounts. The quietness that can erupt into danger at any moment is a story-telling atmosphere that really hooks me; I think it’s a quality Justified shares with everything from The Sopranos to The Rockford Files. (Okay, I just happened to pick two David Chase-associated shows. But you get my point: This is TV with one foot in The Tradition and one in The Anarchic.) You have to get into the rhythms of Justified to take its ride.

Me, I’m in the car for as long as Timothy Olyphant wants to drive it.

How about you?

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For more:  Timothy Olyphant talks Justified

Comments (131 total) Add your comment
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  • paul

    I liked the show. Timothy Olyphant is an underrated actor.

    • Daniel

      It’s great to see Walton Goggins back on an FX series, doing what he does best, playing a creepy mind game playing psycho… Kudos to FX :-)

  • Salome Arsinoe

    It was great. A very well written show. I liked all the characters, even the bumbling nazis.

  • alia

    Olyphant was fantastic! I’ll be watching for a while, at least… even though this time slot is triple-booked for me. Oh, and mark me down as a young(ish… 26) female who LOVED the modern western feel of the show. And Timothy’s hat.

    • llevinso

      Yes I’m also a youngish female (26 too!) that liked it. And I think Olyphant looks damn good in that hat.

      • Meg

        21. Female. Loving it.

      • Kel

        I think this show was great. I can’t wait to see more episodes…and I’m a young female as well(21).

    • Megan

      I agree with you too I know Ken Tucker was kinda joking but Im a 24 yr/old and I also liked the hat and western feel. But i also liked Deadwood, which is Olyphant was too!

    • ann

      Timothy Olyphant looked damn good in those jeans too!

    • MommaB

      Give me Tim in a cowboy hat anytime and my heart just melts – the opening scene when he was just standing there with that Bullock grimace – EYE CANDY!!!!!

    • Jennie

      Clearly Ken doesn’t realize that women go gaga for the cowboy look. Tight jeans, big hat, and Olyphant’s smile make me swoon.

  • Jason

    Was a really good premiere. Will definitely be tuning in again.

  • tellusataletunes

    It’s not available at hulu, so I will have to wait until the first season comes out on dvd. Too bad, as Raylan Givens is one of my favorite Elmore Leonard characters…

    • Terry

      You may want to check fx’s website in about a week. That’s how I watched Rescue me last summer. They usually held the episodes back a week.

    • alia

      Last night, at least, FX repeated the episode at eleven. I hope they continue to do that, as it’s probably the only way I’ll get to watch it (unless they put it on hulu).

    • Seany

      You can watch it via TV Shack.

  • Jen

    I’m young and female. The issue for me isn’t the hat, or the “Western” concept, but that Parenthood and Southland are on at the same time, and my DVR is booked. Something’s gotta give, so I’m going to catch the repeat of the pilot later this week, and if I think it’s better or more intriguing, I’ll substitute it in for Southland…maybe.

    • Shelly

      Jen, the Justified episode repeats right after at 11:00PM, just DVR it then. I too watch Southland at 10,

    • TheObserver

      I’m young and female as well and I loved it. The Good wife plays at 10pm as well…who knew tuesday nights could be so interesting? Justified which I liked alot plus Southland (which I must watch like I must breathe) and The Good Wife.

      • ceejay

        If you have Time Warner Cable, a lot of these shows can be seen on Primetime On Demand. Thank goodness The good Wife is one of them. I’m hoping Justified will be as well. Seems like any time something good comes along they always put it opposite other good things….it’s frustrating, but, primetime makes it easier.

    • modernfamfan

      Count me in as one with a traffic jam in the timeslot, but it’s worth the stack up on the DVR.

      The hat may be a bit much, but I think the females can see right past that hat to Olyphant’s uber-hotness. He’s even hotter here than on Deadwood. He can really act to boot, even if he’s often playing a version of this same character.

      • simpsonite

        Yup — the hat is but a little distraction to watch Timothy Olyphant. He can wear whatever….

    • Dani

      Agreed and bemoaning the embarassment in riches @ the Tues 10pm slot… Definitely enjoyed the Justified premiere, but my first choice goes to the awesomeness that is Southland. Last night’s episode rocked!

  • jenna

    I liked it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was good.
    I had the same problem Jen did, but noted that the show repeats itself later(as does Southland), so you record the later airing of one or the other. I also like The Good Wife, and will catch it or Parenthood on line. Busy night!

  • Tif

    I watched last night..really enjoyed it..will keep watching it.

  • Melissa

    I loved loved loved the show. I could not peel myself away from the TV, even during commercials as I did not want to miss a thing. Tim’s character is sexy, wild, slick, yet smart. You can’t help but watch and be attracted to his swagger. FX has not failed us yet and I can’t wait to see the rest of the show!

    • llevinso

      Yes, Raylan definitely has this cool swagger that attracts you to the character. And his chemistry with Crowder (Goggins) is really great. I’m worried though that Goggins is only a guest star and won’t be sticking around much longer.

      • AmeliaW

        i hear that goggins plays a big part in this series but its not for a few more episodes. i also hear he’s decided to stick around…should be really great!

      • llevinso

        Well that’s good to know AmeliaW. I looked on IMDB and it has him listed in a lot fewer episodes than everyone else, which is I guess how the rumor started of him not being a recurring character. I would have no problem with him going away every once in a while but always coming back. Like never being really gone, you know? Because he’s a great addition to this cast.

  • Josh

    FX is coming out with some really good shows like this one and sons of anarchy.I’ll Keep on watching justified until the sons come back.

  • M

    Fabulous! Timothy rocked it!

  • wombat

    i’m in the car too. i didn’t see the 4 kazillion commercials for the show because i only watch fx for rescue me. so i didn’t really know what to expect. and it was good!

  • azzplay

    Awesome character. He reminded me of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone. I love this show. Cable has SOA, Breaking Bad and this… never again will I watch network TV.

    • Jaye

      Did you notice there was a Tombstone poster on the boss’ wall in Kentucky?

      • Josh

        Yes, I did and I thought it was fitting. Now it had a different title than TombStone, I think it said US Marshals, but yes I did notice that, I kept thinking “I will be your huckleberry.”

  • Brad

    Natalie Zea is in the show playing his ex-wife who re-married. She was one of the best things about Dirty Sexy Money. And as for characters, I think the woman who plays Ava is a pistol as well also.

  • tickles

    I kind of thought this was a throw back to Walker Texas Ranger in an odd way. First off the kid is basically doing the job of 10 men all by himself. He had a very down home vibe and you could kind of write him off as a cowboy hick at first. But he got the job done. Main difference is that Walker never pulled his gun and this guy does. When I first heard his boss speak I wasn’t looking at the screen and I thought to myself that sounds like C.D. I did like it.
    I also really liked this guy in Hitman. Wondered why he hasn’t blown up big yet. I guess it’s because he is not flashy.

    • tickles

      Almost forgot the best thing about the show…”Do you think you can rack a load before I put a shot in you?” that line was great!!

      • pnwskier

        Actually, it was “put a hole in you.” It was such a great moment, I’ve watched it 3 times on my Tivo.

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