Thursday, January 10, 2013

Justified 4.1: Literate Boyd quotes Asimov and Keynes

I've been quietly watching and much enjoying Justified on FX the past few years - it's that kind of show - but decided it was time to bestow a review upon it.

I picked a good time.  The first episode of the 4th season had Boyd Crowder (played by the brilliant Walton Goggins of The Shield fame) delivering not one but too sage literary allusions, both from among my all-time favorite writers and thinkers.   Isaac Asimov got a Boyd shout-out about death being nothing - Asimov of the Foundation and robot series (and, in my view, the best science fiction writer in history) - followed by quote from John Maynard Keynes, whose economics (government spending is the way out of recession and depression) I and nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman very much agree with.  Krugman, by the way, is also a big fan of Asimov's Foundation series, and while I'm at it, I should mention that another quote from Keynes - "when the facts change, I change my mind, what do you do, Sir?" - is among my all-time favorite quotes.

See, that's the kind series Justified is.   You can get a universe of profundity and allusions in just a grain of a scene or conversation.  Boyd's erudition is approaching that of the legendary drug boss Stringer Bell on The Wire (who had Adam's Smith's Wealth of Nations on his book shelf).  And Boyd's relationship with Raylan Givens (well played by Timothy Olyphant) - Boyd's a white-knight with dark surges criminal and Raylan, his cousin, a US marshall - is one of the best two-sides of a coin relationship in TV drama today.  In fact, family is the primary mechanism of Justified, with Raylan's father and on-again-off-again wife also propelling the show.

As with previous seasons, the plots at the beginning are diffuse and gradual.  There's not much point in my even telling you about them.  But like tectonic plates, you can rest assured that they will come together with explosive power by the end of the season to make a uniquely satisfying piece of television narrative.

Hey - here's a postcard Isaac Asimov sent to me when I sent him an essay I had written about the Foundation series in 1979:

And here are two of my own science fiction novels:

"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"There's a delightfully old-fashioned feel to The Plot to Save Socrates. . . . Levinson's cool, spare style reminded me of the writing of Isaac Asimov. . ." - Colin Harvey, Strange Horizons
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