Edgar Teleplay Nominations: 40% Holmes

The EdgarsThe Edgar Award nominations were announced by the Mystery Writers of American this week, and both current Sherlock Holmes adaptations were included in the TV Episode Teleplay category:

“Pilot” – Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (A&E/Warner Horizon Television)
“Child Predator” – elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake (CBS Productions)
“Slaughterhouse” – Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan (Sony Pictures Television/FX Productions)
“A Scandal in Belgravia” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece)
“New Car Smell” – Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm (Showtime/Fox21)

In addition, Justified is of course based on Elmore Leonard’s work, and Longmire is based on Craig Johnson’s mystery series that starts with The Cold Dish. (And off the top of my head, there are movies in the works based on at least two of the Best Novel nominees, Gone Girl and Live by Night.)

News Briefs: Fleming, Pride & Prejudice, Taming of the Shrew, X-Men, Dan Brown

Justified: Where’s Waldo?

My favorite thing about this week’s episode of Justified, “Where’s Waldo?”, was probably its focus on Raylan’s boss Art. He’s usually a pretty understated character, and that works well, but it’s nice to see him come out of the background every once in a while. I loved the scene in which he broke down exactly how dysfunctional his office and agents are, because that’s one of those things that’s easy to forget about watching week to week. We love these characters, and obviously we’re basically on their side, but when you stop and think about it, they would not be easy to deal with in real life. It speaks to their talents (or, you know, the magic of TV) that the office is generally so successful in spite of everyone involved being so messed up.

It was also delightful to see Art out in the field – again, that’s something that I don’t think they should overuse, but I wouldn’t mind it happening slightly more frequently. The group’s trip to see the Truth (of course! what a name) family did a good job of being a one-off scenario that tied into the larger mystery we’re following this season; they didn’t find Waldo, exactly, but they got some much-needed information, and things are eking along. Hopefully the show’s tendency to play out a larger mystery through these small set pieces will save it from some of the inevitable fan objection to things being too drawn out. (Personally, I like the longer mysteries, in general, though I tend to adore this show’s cases of the week.) And the Truth family was so ridiculous and fun that I’m a bit sad we’re not likely to see them again. (Well, maybe. Who knows?)

On the other hand, Preacher Billy and his sister are characters we’re likely to see again, and I’m glad, because the use of religion on this show is always fascinating. Boyd and Billy’s confrontation was probably my favorite single scene of the episode; Boyd’s relationship with religion is so complex and compelling that I’m glad they’ve found a way to work it back into things without rehashing the “Boyd starts a church” story. I am, of course, suspicious of Billy and his sister, but that may be mostly just the show’s (and the actor’s) ability to put me firmly on Boyd’s side even though he’s objectively pretty terrible.

And oh, hey, I realized I’ve barely mentioned Raylan. I love him “working” in the bar; so far this season he seems to be quietly unspooling but somehow he’s lighter and happier than he’s been before at the same time. I don’t have much of an impression of Lindsey yet – she seems fine, I guess? – but of course she has a husband. I’m happy to see how that all plays out, but I also hope we see more about Winona and the baby soon.

Justified Season 4 Premiere: Hole in the Wall

Justified, based on Elmore Leonard’s character Raylan Givens, returned for its fourth season on FX last night. This show has an interesting relationship with Leonard’s work: It was based on one of his short stories, “Fire in the Hole,” and Raylan appears in a few of his novels.* And Leonard serves as an executive producer on the show, though I’m not sure of the extent of his day to day involvement. But after the show became a hit, he published the novel Raylan, with a picture of series star Timothy Olyphant on the cover. Elmore Leonard is obviously a great mystery writer in his own right, so this is no schlocky tie-in novel, but at the same time, he’s been marvelously upfront about the way the show has informed and evolved his thinking about his own characters. The book is even dedicated to Olyphant and showrunner Graham Yost.

One of the more novelistic aspects of the show is the complex nature and evolution of the central character; Raylan is somehow both understated and over-the-top all at once, and it’s thoroughly fascinating. “Hole in the Wall” sets up season four Raylan to struggle laconically with both his father’s betrayal and his child’s impending birth, all while dealing with his job, his new relationship, and everything else. (I kind of love that practically everyone on the show owns and/or works in bars now.) And this season, the show will also more closely resemble a novel in that it will be exploring one mystery almost all season. The mystery set up in last night’s premiere is, according to Yost, based on the Bluegrass Conspiracy, and it will be interesting to see how the characters all tie into this framework.

One more random bookish note: there was a fun shoutout to spy novelist Alan Furst at the end of the episode. There was also a hilarious and unexpected mention of furries as well as this delightful moment, as told by Vulture:

Boyd Crowder English Language Triumph of the Week: Boyd said this week that he’s been nonplussed by Johnny’s lack of motivation. YES! “Nonplussed”! Used correctly! Boyd Crowder, you can basically do whatever you want. You have our full support.

I’m going to try to check in on this show weekly, as I’d like to follow this larger mystery across the season, but if you’re looking for good weekly reviews I recommend Alan Sepinwall. Here’s his take on the premiere.

* Full disclosure: I’ve read the original short story but not the novels, yet. I should get on that.

(Image courtesy of FX.)

Justified Returns to FX Tonight

U.S. marshal drama Justified, based on the works of Elmore Leonard, has its season four premiere on FX tonight at 10/9c. Here’s a trailer for the intriguing new season:

And some pre-premiere reviews and coverage:

I’ll have some thoughts on the premiere tomorrow. Will you be tuning in?

Links: The Godfather & Little Women, Justified, The Great Gatsby, & More