Hap and Leonard: All Episodes
April 19, 2016 6:43 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

James Purefoy ("Rome," "The Following"), Michael Kenneth Williams ("The Wire," "Boardwalk Empire") and Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men") star in a six-hour adaptation of novels by Joe R. Lansdale. Down on his luck after losing his job, '60s activist/ex-con Hap Collins can't help but listen when his seductive former wife Trudy -- for whom he still pines -- resurfaces with promises of finding a sunken treasure in the Deep South. Joining the adventure is Hap's unlikely buddy Leonard Pine, an openly gay black Vietnam War vet with a bad temper and little use for Trudy's feminine wiles. Soon enough the simple get-rich-quick scheme snowballs into bloody mayhem.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One of the things I like about this show is that the characters are funny, but more in a realistic people who happen to make jokes sometimes way than a tv-writers-serving-up-zingers way. I attribute that to these being based off of books.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:58 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

If it does nothing else, I hope the show gets people to read the books. I like the show a lot, but the depth of the characters is really only alluded to, and frankly the books are funnier. There are lines in the show that, if they aren't from Savage Season (it's been too long since I've read it for me to say for sure), definitely capture the tone of it: "Goddamn madman loved putting his head on fire," for example.

The novel this season is based on is pretty short, and could have been a perfectly satisfying 90-minute movie. Going the six-hour route led to some interesting choices. There are numerous scenes that don't and couldn't exist in the novel -- namely anything that takes place outside of Hap's POV. The new scenes build tension (showing us Angel and Soldier's reign of terror) and add a great deal of nuance and agency to Trudy, who could have been a much simpler femme fatale. The deeper background we get on Leonard's personal life will pay off if the series continues, but here seems a little bit sideways to the main story. I think all the material about Hap and Leonard first meeting is from a later Lansdale piece; its inclusion here is welcome, although I feel like Hap's dad taking him to a minstrel show is a little on the nose. The casual racism of Hap's dad, who realizes he has to go back and help the stranded black motorist because he's got a kid in the car, is a very realistic depiction of the fucked up mental gymnastics happening in the average bigoted brain. It doesn't need any embellishment.

The runtime also allows for an entire episode devoted to the Desperate Hours scenario at Leonard's house, which worked astonishingly well. In a movie, this may have been a breathtaking ten minutes. Letting it play out for an hour completely shredded my nerves. It played so well that I think it's easy to overlook how hard it is to sustain that level of intensity that long.

I hope it comes back! But like I said: I mostly hope it gets people reading the books. They're fantastic.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:08 AM on April 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh hey it's the guy I always mistake for Thomas Jane. This looks great, wasn't aware of it at all!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:00 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had never heard of Hap and Leonard, and then got a couple of volumes of their stories as part of a recent Humble Bundle. I really enjoyed those, and when I googled for more information I learned that S3 of a TV series was just about to begin. A few days later the earlier seasons showed up on Canadian Netflix. So, serendipitous. Anyway I enjoyed this season. The sociopaths were very creepy.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:51 PM on April 1, 2018

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