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Friday, 28 September 2012

Franchise Fallout - The Lonesome Dove Saga Part two

Chronologically the second story in the Lonesome Dove series, but actually filmed and broadcast last - the first thing I would like to say about Comanche Moon is that the casting of Steve Zahn in the role of Gus is absolutely spot on, and you can really believe this is a younger version of the Gus that Robert Duvall played in the much loved original mini-series, Lonesome Dove. Not so much with Karl (Judge Dredd) Urban's version of Woodrow McCall I think and I much preferred Jonny Lee Miller's take on the character in Dead Man's Walk. I'm not saying Urban is bad because he isn't - he's a fine actor and plays the role well - it's just that Jonny Lee Miller's take on the character was close to definitive; perhaps second only to Tommy Lee Jones' depiction of the character in the original Lonesome Dove mini-series.

It was nice to see Ray McKinnon back as Long Bill - and although his story arc is smaller than that in Dead Man's Walk it is incredibly powerful - I won't go into this in too much detail as it would be a major spoiler but it's a heart rendering story arc that effectively realizes the thinking and attitudes of the time and place. Other quality turns include Val Kilmer's Captain Scull who shamelessly chews the scenery with his turn as the borderline insane Texas Ranger.

The story itself gives us our first look at Lonesome Dove - described here as a half town it is nothing more than a few half constructed buildings in the wilderness. We also see the birth of Newt, Cal's maybe son. Everyone else is convinced that the baby is indeed Cal's son but given that the mother Maggie is a whore, Cal refuses to fully recognize the boy as his blood.

This time around the mini-series is not so much plot dependent as driven by the characters and it is Gus and Call that we care about the most. Steve Zahn is, as I've said, exceptional and he truly does come across as a younger Robert Duvall - hell, he even gets the voice spit on. There are some oddities in this one because towards the end  Maggie dies in Austin,Texas and yet in Lonesome Dove which is set some sixteen years later it is clearly stated that she died in the town of Lonesome Dove itself, but this and the odd historical mistake does not detract from what is another quality entry in an excellent western series.

If you ain't seen it, then go get it.

Next up Lonesome Dove


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