The Checklist: Hap and Leonard (S1 Ep1) “Savage Season”
More often than not, television shows come and go before I ever get a chance to see them. In fact, I had seen a trailer and the poster for Hap and Leonard when it first started and quickly put it in my mental queue for a later date. Well, it seems that later date was actually July 9th and I’m not at all angry about it.
The Checklist was a way that we could comment on some television shows without having to watch an entire season and give a recap. It’s also a great opportunity for me to watch a show and see if I like it enough to move forward. That is the entire job of the pilot episode, isn’t it? To grab me and make me want to watch more. I wonder if Hap and Leonard got it right? Let’s find out with the newest edition of The Checklist!
1. Are Hap and Leonard as charismatic as I hope?
They don’t get much more charismatic than Hap and Leonard. They’re a couple of down-on-their-luck guys who start the season picking roses on a rose farm and eventually take a gig searching for some hidden heist money. This kind of job seems right up the alley for the duo as they don’t appear to be the type of guys who can or will hold down “normal” jobs. Looking for some hidden treasure, no matter how stereotypical that might sound, is a really cool way to introduce the two guys and it gives them plenty of opportunities to be and say cool shit. 1/1
2. The show is set in the 80’s but is it really the 80’s?
The episode starts off with some amazing music. It’s not from the 80’s but anytime I hear CCR I get more interested. The music in the entire episode is less centered on the time frame itself; there isn’t any Whitesnake or KISS, but instead on the characters and the setting. That is great because it allows the show to tell us about the characters without wasting more time. All of the characters mention the 60’s at some point. Whether it was because Leonard fought in Vietnam or because many of the other guys were protesting the war, it’s still a subject that gets lots of attention and helps set the tone. The vehicles are old enough and I’ve already noticed them using pay phones a few times. The fact that the show is set in the Deep South makes it very easy to hide the year its set in because 1988 and 2017 aren’t too different the further south you go. 2/2
3. Are there any good cameos?
The leads are played by James Purefoy (Rome, The Following) and Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) so there is already good reason to watch the show if you’re a fan of them but the first episode also gives us Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Jimmi Simpson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Pollyanna McIntosh (The Walking Dead). Some of them are most definitely set up to be in a few episodes moving forward and their talent is an added benefit to the already excellent cast. 3/3
4. Does the pilot set up the season well?
I’m not sure if the entire first season is going to be one long storyline from this pilot but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. It’s only 6 episodes so I’m holding out hope that we’ll get to see these characters for at least the first 6. This first episode does a lot to introduce the characters and their motivations while ending with quite a bang. 4/4
5. Every show has to have one thing to make it special. Does this have it?
This show has a couple of great performers in the lead and it shouldn’t surprise you to know that one of them is gay. Hell, they mention it about every 2.5 minutes so it really feels like it’s shoved in your face. Does it really matter if one of them is playing for the other team? No. He’s the most masculine character in the whole show so the writers must have thought they were being clever. Is it that one thing that makes the show stand out from all the other shows like it? I don’t think so. But I do think that this show could be something special and I’m going to bump it up a few slots on the queue. 4/5
- Final Score 4/5 (80%) I graduated college with this type of score so don’t look at it as a bad thing. If anything, the show does enough to make the characters interesting. That should be the goal of all these shows. Once you have characters that people want to see then you can put them in any situation and they’ll watch. I’m really looking forward to season 9 when Hap and Leonard go to Space! It would be a truly 80’s move on their parts.