Tag Archives: Justified

Introducing The Racialicious TV Roundup

Courtesy Los Angeles Times

By Guest Contributors Kendra James and Jordan St. John and Managing Editor Arturo R. García

In case you hadn’t guessed, the TV Correspondents here at The R watch a lot of television. Unfortunately, not everything of interest makes it into article form and, with that in mind we present the weekly TV Roundup: a catch all of televised pop culture tidbits that might not warrant a full column, but you still want to know about. Big SPOILER ALERT in place for the items under the cut.

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A Black Woman’s Plea for Justified – The Red State Western You Should be Watching [TV Correspondent Tryout]

By Guest Contributor Jordan St. John

Since last year, I have been trying (begging) some of my fellow Black People (BPs) to watch Justified on FX. This season, I have redoubled my efforts. I follow my favorite television series with the dedication some people reserve for sports, weaves and tracking their loved ones on Facebook. Yes, I will still watch it if there is no one to discuss it with but it’s just not the same. Unfortunately, my attempts play out like this:

Me: Try one episode. You don’t even have to watch the first season.
BP: Girl, I don’t know.
Me. It’s got some of the best writing on TV. I mean, it’s based on Elmore Leonard characters
BP: Yeah … What is it even about? Isn’t Justified that ad with the man in the cowboy hat?
Me: Yes. Timothy Olyphant. He’s like a modern gun slinger in Kentucky …

That is about the time I get cut off with a look and we move on to other topics – the weather, Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen, etc. I admit a show whose theme song features bluegrass may be a hard sell but its Gangstagrass, dammit.

Apparently my uninterested friends are not alone. After a strong premiere, ratings for the show’s second season in the all important 18-49 demographic have slipped considerably. In other words, the young and middle aged viewers that advertisers covet are not tuning in and cable executives like what advertisers like. Justified still has pretty solid ratings for FX and managed to score a third season but the show isn’t pulling huge audiences. I don’t have a racial breakdown of the numbers but I can guess they don’t include a ton of black people.

The series follows trigger happy Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Olyphant) who is back in his native Kentucky after what he viewed as a “justifiable” shooting. He joins the local deputy team and quickly gets caught up in all the things he thought he left behind – his ex wife, his con man father, the Dixie Mafia, and a sordid cast of small town crooks. Yes, Justified is partly about a white cop in a cowboy hat shooting rednecks and sleeping with pretty blondes but what I appreciate is the fact it doesn’t use that focus as an excuse to neglect black southern experiences.

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White Supremacists Are Back (On Television)!

By Guest Contributor AJ Christian, originally published at Televisual

This post suffers from a disease characteristic of most lifestyle/entertainment news: two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.  Blame it on my past as a reporter. It’s an illness not easily cured.

I don’t know what caused it, but white supremacy is back on television! Of course, by “back” I mean white supremacists have returned as villains in several cable dramas, most recently on FX’s new drama Justified, another FX series Sons of Anarchy and in Martin Scorsese’s forthcoming – and extraordinarily expensiveBoardwalk Empire, premiering this fall.

Color me naïve — it’s a color I’ve worn before — but I always thought serious consideration of white supremacy was a no-go for television: it would alienate liberals and minorities and doesn’t win anyone else. But the search for more provocative programming to cut through the TV clutter, along with the general tendency among certain cable networks – the premium channels, along with FX, TNT, AMC, etc. – toward “cutting edge” narratives, has allowed some room for the KKK and their ilk.

It’s not for me to say what can or cannot be filmed or represented. If it exists in society – even if it doesn’t – there’s little reason to ban it in our media. But you do wonder what makes these “bad guys” so appealing to viewers.

Justified’s Supremacists Are Bumpkins!

Justified, the latest in a decade-long string of “renegade anti-hero” dramas on cable which began with The Sopranos, gives us white nationalists who are mostly idiots. The story in the well-rated pilot is simple: Raylan Givens is a US Marshall relocated by the federal government to his home state of Kentucky after shooting, under dubious circumstances, a gangster in Miami. Upon returning home he meets some old enemies, mostly a band of neo-Nazis. Their leader, Boyd Crowder, is the most sophisticated of the band of rebels, smart enough to nearly catch our hero in an impromptu duel (Justified is a neo-western).

We doubt whether Boyd Crowder is a true believer, despite the swastikas adorning his lair and his body. Our hero Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has us question his motives: maybe he’s just a guy who likes to shoot people and blow things up! Has our hate-mongering leader assembled a ragtag group of unemployed losers just so he has an excuse to create mayhem in eastern Kentucky? We don’t know yet. Continue reading