Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 1 (2016)

Adapting books to screen is really difficult. Doesn’t matter if it’s movies, TV, or video games… there’s nothing easy about adapting books. So I have some respect for the people atempting it even if it seems like something that would be impossible to translate to screen.

Ladies and gents… “Hap and Leonard” season 1.

Texas, late 1980s. We follow Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams), two best friends. One day a woman named Trudy (Christina Hendricks), who turns out to be Hap’s old flame, shows up. The main reason why she’s there is because she wants their help (or at least Hap’s) to find some money that have been more or less lost for years. So now we have our caper. And it’s quite a good one. It has a very offbeat feel which makes it stand out compared to a lot of other crime shows of a similar nature. It’s also fairly unpredictable, suspenseful, and overall enjoyable. The only flaw I have is that the pacing in the first few episodes wavers a bit. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s definitely worth pointing out. So overall I’d say that the plot here is really good, with a few pacing issues mildly hurting it.

The characters here are fun, interesting, and very entertaining. Hap is this ex-con trying to live a quiet life, but his plans takes a bit of a turn when Trudy comes to town(?). And James Purefoy is really good in the role. Leonard is a black, openly gay, Vietnam vet, trying to life a quiet enough life, working, and hanging out with his best friend. And Michael Kenneth Williams is great in the role. Purefoy and Williams share a very likable chemistry, their banter and general dialog feels natural. Trudy, as previously mentioned, is an old girlfriend of Hap and it basically the reason for the plot happening. She’s sexy, smart, and pretty tough. And Christina Hendricks is really good in the role. Bill Sage plays a man named Howard, this hippie-esque character that is involved in finding this lost money. And Sage is really good in the role. We also have Jimmi Simpson and Pollyanna McIntosh as this crazy couple that shows up in town(?) and starts causing trouble. They’re a total wild card in this and they’re quite fun. Jimmi Simpson especialy, he totally stole every scene he was in. But both he and McIntosh were great in their roles. Really, this is overall a very well acted season of TV.

The score for the series was composed by Jeff Grace, and I think he did a great job here. This is another example of his versatility as a composer. He’s done the music for a couple movies that I’ve covered on this blog before, so I already knew that he could tackle several genres, making something that totally fits the piece of media he composes it for. And “Hap and Leonard” is no exception, he made a score that in some tracks works well for the rural Texas setting, and some tracks that fit the crime-drama side of things. And it all sounds great. There are also some licensed tracks use throughout the seaosn, and they’re used quite well. So yeah, this season has some great music.

This show is based on a series of novels by author Joe R. Lansdale, and was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici. Now, if those two names sound familiar, then you’ve been on my blog before. I’ve talked about movies they’ve been involved in (“Stake Land”, “Cold in July”, “Late Phases”) on this blog. Anyway, they also wrote the episodes, and Mickle directed a couple of episodes. And overall it is a very well directed show. The direction is tight and really helps make it feel fresh and tense. It’s also a good looking show. The show also has an element of dark humor to it that I think really helped it out quite a bit. Also, beware of bloody violence… just thought I’d mention that in case any reader out there is squeamish.

This show/season ha been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Hap and Leonard” season 1 is a fun bit of crime television. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. My only flaws with the season are those previously mentioned pacing issues, but even they aren’t too bad. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard” season 1 is a 9,11/10. So while slightly flawed, I’d say that you should watch it!

My review of “Hap and Leonard” season 1 is now completed.

If you’re looking for a binge-worthy show, this is it. Not only is it good, but it’s only six episodes, so it’s easy to binge through!

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2 thoughts on “Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 1 (2016)

  1. I started watching this a while back, and as you say about the pacing in the first few episodes, was a bit put off by it. The premise is good as you say, as are the characters. I like James Purefoy in most things and Michael Williams is pretty much awesome. It might just be time to take another look.
    Nicely done sir!

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