The contemporary Western TV series Longmire, which has been hosted by the A&E network since 2012, is looking for a new home. Despite averaging over 5.5 million viewers per episode in its recent 3rd season, A&E has cancelled the show. The cable network claims that Longmire’s audience was older than their desired advertising demographic and that they wish to avoid the cost of the scripted series. To date, Longmire is the highest-watched scripted series ever on A&E.
Currently, Warner Horizons, which produces the mystery series, is shopping Longmire to potential buyers such as Amazon and Netflix. The fan base for the show is very strong and those fans have deployed social media in support of the series. On September 24th, a campaign with the hashtag #LongLiveLongmire lit up Twitter. To this writer, those fans have a strong case for the show to continue.
Longmire is a singular TV show. Drawn from the original novels by author Craig Johnson, no other show of its profile on television portrays the contemporary American West in such a thoughtful manner. With a strong ensemble cast led by Robert Taylor, who plays title character Sheriff Walt Longmire, the series takes viewers into contemporary Wyoming and explorations of current issues such as fracking, Indigenous rights, and what it means to live a rural life in 2014. In one show this past season, Longmire truly captured the dangerous and religious-like fervor of modern-day survivalists who do not recognize the US federal government while ironically claiming to be “true Americans” (ignoring the fact that American identity itself is a federal construct).
Of particular strength, however, and an aspect that truly differentiates the show from anything else on its level, is its efforts toward a respectful representation of Indigenous peoples. Marcus Red Thunder, a friend of author Johnson, is both the inspiration for the Cheyenne character Henry Standing Bear (played by Lou Diamond Phillips) and a series advisor.
Whichever TV network or online streaming service lands Longmire for its 4th season will be a good home for the show. It will be a good home because it will have recognized just how singular – and dare it be said, important – a show like Longmire is in the current TV landscape.
(UPDATE: Longmire has now been picked up by Netflix, with a fourth season to be released in 2015).
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)