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LONGMIRE Renewed For Season 2 On A&E
A&E has rewarded its biggest scripted show of all time, the rural cop drama Longmire, with a second season. When Longmire debuted a month ago, it brought in just over four million viewers, making it the basic-cable network’s biggest debut for a non-reality show, not to mention cable’s highest-rated new drama for the year 2012 thus far. For a network that was once known as the World War II channel, this is a pretty big deal, and yet another mile-marker on basic-cable’s road to domination of original crime-TV programming.
These numbers as reported by Deadline don’t lie: Network TV and its grip on the hearts and eyes of the American TV-viewing public is on its way out when it comes to dramatic content. The spate of mid-season replacements brought in by the big boys have pretty much all bought the farm by now, and the old days of suffering through summer re-runs are a distant memory now that networks like A&E, AMC, and FX have sought to fill that void with quality programming, which often features a lotta cops and robbers.
Personally, I was a bit worried that Longmire might be put out to pasture prematurely, as my own grapevine within the crime-fiend community had been telling me that the show was found wanting. It’s near impossible to not make the obvious comparison with Justified, a fact I’m certain A&E counted on by running the first season during Justified‘s break. But the show is coming along very nicely in its own right, and while it’s certain to carry similar themes with that beloved FX show for the duration of its run, Longmire season 2 can well be the time the show establishes its own identity.
One thing Longmire has going for it that you don’t see on Justified, or indeed any current show that leaps to my mind, is the recurring theme of life on the rez. The tensions between the Caucasian community of Absaroka County, WY, and the citizens of the near-by Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation often seem to be lurking beneath each case Sheriff Longmire works, bobbing straight to the surface in last night’s episode, when three Indian boys placed in federal government care suddenly go missing. The subject of Native American rights is always a tricky one to me since I know comparatively little about it, so perhaps the perspective taken by Longmire is inaccurate, possibly even offensive. But even if that were the case, a major prime-time drama addressing such issues is at the very least putting the topic out there into the American cultural conversation, so that idiot palefaces like yours truly are at least thinking about it more than they normally might. This is a good thing.
Longmire is also a good thing. Here’s hoping season 2 will lead to season 3 and beyond.