City Primeval Wasn't Anything Like Justified, and That's Great Actually

City Primeval Wasn't Anything Like Justified, and That's Great Actually

7 min read

After getting yelled at extensively on the Internet, I've come to determine there are three types of fans:

Type 1 fans want new stories to resemble the thing they first loved. They may not come out and say as much, but it's pretty easy to read between the lines. Since my first language is Star Wars, here's an example: the people who couldn't deal with a broken Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi fall into this category. There's nothing wrong with questioning why Luke would fall into squalor and disrepair, or having an issue with how it happened. But when Luke didn't fit into the mental model they'd spent 20+ years nurturing—in Luke's words, when he didn't "walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order"—the movie was wrong-bad.1

Type 2 fans are just happy to be there. They might idly acknowledge obvious flaws if forced to reckon with them, but in the next breath they'll express their undying love for the franchise, which supersedes everything else. Again, in Star Wars parlance—these are the fans that love anything with Wookiees and lightsabers, even if the Wookiees are shaved and the lightsabers are double-ended, purple dildos.2

Type 3 fans are miserable bastards. They may be swayed by the old, familiar totems, but above all, they want good stories. Sticking with Star Wars as a metaphor, Type 3 fans are Anakin Skywalker—it only takes a single push to tip them into darkness.

I used to be a Type 2 Star Wars fan. I loved it unequivocally. I even managed to convince myself the Prequels were good movies.3 But then I started branching out into other, often better, stories. Over time, the lightsaber dimmed. These days, I'm a Type 3. Still vulnerable to the tractor beam pull of the Star Wars brand, but damnit, I need Star Wars to meet me halfway. Mixing metaphors is always fun, so how's this—Type 3 fans are a bit like Gollum; drawn to the Precious, consumed by it, destined to be betrayed by it.

This bucketing exercise might make it seem like I'm suggesting one type is better than the others. That's not the case. There's no wrong way to be a fan of something. These types amount to little more than differences of opinion. You might disagree with someone, perhaps vehemently, but that doesn't make them wrong.4 As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, it all comes back to point of view.

I know what you're thinking right now: What in God's green earth does this have to do with Justified: City Primeval?

I am a huge fan of Justified—which, if I'm being honest, is really just an extension of my esteem for Timothy Olyphant. Justified is a bit of everything I love: witty dialogue, smart writing, morally ambiguous characters, random quirkiness, unexpected hilarity, cowboys, gunplay. I also have a sommelier's refined appreciation for superior badassery, and in that regard, Justified is a choice vintage. Consider this short scene, which remains the most incredibly badass thing I have ever seen.

For 6 seasons, this is the kind of content Justified conditioned us to expect. And I think, quite naturally, people expected the City Primeval spin-off to be more of the same. After all, Olyphant would be reprising his role as quick-draw, quick-temper U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens. That City Primeval would be set in Detroit instead of Harlan just seemed to mean there would be even more gunfights; the one thing most people know about Detroit is that it's statistically one of the most dangerous cities in America.5