When is a crime drama not a crime drama? Does it have to have a police person in it to be a crime drama? No, I don’t think so. I’ve purposefully stayed clear of superhero series like Jessica Jones and Daredevil, even though, essentially, they’re crime dramas. I’ve also stayed clear of current Norwegian series, Valkyrien, on Channel 4/Walter Presents, because it’s not quite crimey enough for me (although I may revisit this one). Crime drama – like crime fiction – has enormous breadth to it, because as soon as you introduce a crime (whether it be a murder or a kidnapping or even a loss because of a crime) you give characters conflict. And conflict in drama or fiction is always a good thing. So what do we think of Westerns, then?
Deadline reports that Hollywood director, Steven Soderbergh, is behind a new, seven-part Western series, called Godless, which will premiere on the streaming service on 22nd November.
Westerns, the great moral genre, have plenty of crime in them, and often hinge on character ambiguity and themes like redemption. So I’m carrying this news story, although it’s unlikely that I’ll review it.
It centers on notorious criminal Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his gang of outlaws who are on a mission of revenge against Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a son-like protégé who betrayed the brotherhood. While on the run, Roy seeks refuge with hardened widower Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), an outcast herself, in a worn-down, isolated mining town of La Belle, NM — governed mainly by women. When word reaches La Belle that Griffin is headed their way, the town bands together to defend against the murderous gang in a lawless western frontier.
That sounds pretty crimey to me.