In watching a T.V. series for which I have read a book or books I find myself comparing the film version against the books. I try to simply view the series on its own merits but it never happens that way.
My copy of As the Crow Flies had a sticker referring to the “hit” T.V. series. As with all blurbs I automatically think it is hyperbole until proven to the contrary.
I have not often found American T.V. series or movies cast actors who fit my images of the primary characters. Thus my perceptions of Longmire are initially skewed.
I was happy with A & E chosing Robert Taylor to be Sheriff Longmire. He is big enough and weathered enough to be the Sheriff. While Taylor seems a touch young to play a character who served in the American Army in Vietnam his personality on the show is the understated Western American of the books. He is articulate but not given to speeches. I would never have guessed Taylor grew up in Australia.
Deputy Victoria Moretti, played by Katee Sackhoff, has the right size and spirit for the role but I would not know she is a transplant from Philadelphia to rural Wyoming. Her uniform is worn more casually than I would expect from the book. Her language has been cleaned up from print to screen.
Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear, is played by Lou Diamond Phillips. In last night’s episode his participation in the story was marginal. Of all the characters he was not my image of Henry. He does not the heft and size of Henry in the books. Fortunately, while one-half of his family background is Filipino he is one quarter Cherokee. I think it is important that the producers chose an actor with an Indian heritage to play the major role of Henry.
While I wish they had filmed in Wyoming rather than New Mexico the landscape was given an appropriate emphasis in the show. I remain puzzled about the producers not going to the area where the series is set to film the episodes.
The episode dealt with the investigation of the death of a Basque sheepherder. In the book, Death Without Company, there is a death involving a Basque sheepherding family but the T.V. episode did not follow the book’s plot.
The investigation was a team effort with the Sheriff leading his Department.
The episode had a nice pace unlike the frantic action of most American crime shows I have sampled in recent years. I was grateful the body count was low and the emphasis was on solving the crime.
There was less time spent on the personal relationships of the characters than in the books. I think the constraints of a one hour show, significantly shortened by an abundance of commercials, makes it harder to develop characters. I was favourably reminded of British series I have watched which do not have a thrill a minute approach.
I will be watching again next week. I believe my preoccupation with comparing book and television series has been satisfied and I can just watch the series. It is worth viewing.