What is the greatest audible in television history?
What writer/director/actor just took the script, threw it away, and made a good show great? This is a serious question, because I don’t know most of the stories behind shows. But I do know the story behind Justified, and it’s the great audible I know of. Justified has a mere two episodes left until it disappears from the air, and has been one of my two spring-time shows for the last few years.
Why? Justified’s writers understand, deep in their marrow, two things:
- Gunfights (explosions, etc) don’t create tension. Waiting for the inevitable gunfight creates tension.
- The world needs more Elmore “God-damn” Leonard (who sadly died last year). The man could write, and this shows has roughly one great line per act.
There’s also comic relief, will-they-or-won’t-they, great actors (Character Actress Margo Martindale’s Emmy) criminals ranging from “eternal survivor” to “brilliant mastermind” to “crazy psychopath” to the (frequent) “average stupid guy who can’t stay out of jail.”
And Justified, to my knowledge, has the greatest audible in TV history … not killing Walton Goggins in the pilot, but keeping his character (Boyd Crowder) as the frenemy and dark mirror to Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens. I’d never seen Goggins before, but I went back to watch The Shield (the other major show he’s been in). Goggins is good, but Boyd commands the screen — the articulate hillbilly former preacher with neo-nazi tattoos whose love of explosives took him from the mines to the army and back to crime.
Dear Lord, before we eat this meal, we ask forgiveness for our sins. Especially Boyd, who blew up a black church with a rocket launcher, and afterwards he shot his associate Jared Hale in the back of the head out on Tate’s Creek Bridge. Let the image of Jared’s brain matter on that windshield not dampen our appetites, but may the knowledge of Boyd’s past sins help guide these men. May this food provide them with all the nourishment they need. But if it does not, may they find comfort in knowing that the United States Marshal Service is offering fifty thousand dollars to any individual providing information that will put Boyd back in prison. Cash or check, we can make it out to them, or to Jesus, whoever they want. In your name, we pray. Amen. — Raylan Givens