Hit or Miss: 'Godless'

Done with Stranger Things? How about Mindhunter? Well, if the answer to both those question is yes, you’re likely looking for a new Netflix series to binge over an entire weekend in an unhealthy manner. The good news is you won’t have to wait long, the new series Godless drops on November 22nd, just in time for Thanksgiving, when you’re looking for any excuse not to converse with your weird relatives. The new series focuses on a small New Mexican town of La Belle, a small mining community where all the men perished in a terrible accident. Now, the town is completely populated by women, but don’t worry, these ladies aren’t lifeless sex-bots like on “Westworld”, they’re feisty and perfectly willing to shoot on sight.

These female gunslingers come under danger when a band of outlaws, led by Jeff Daniels, turn up searching for an ex-member, played by Jack O’Connell, who’s been hiding out there. Among the ladies includes actresses such as Michelle Dockery and Merritt Wever. The series come to us partially by Stephen Soderberg, whose lent his hand to two great series recently, The Knick and The Girlfriend Experience. However, the show’s chief architect is actually Scott Frank, who is probably most known for lending his writing skills to the last couple Wolverine movies, including this year’s Logan. Scott wrote and directed much of the series and he has definitely got all the makings for an entertaining Western here; the open landscape, colorful characters, and explosive violence. Most importantly there’s a sense of grit and griminess that’s important to believing these people are on living on the razors edge of civilization and lawless wilderness. The trailer’s use of the song “Bang Bang” by Nico Vega is also a perfect touch, hearkening back to it’s iconic use another female lead action picture, Kill Bill.

But, you know what has me more excited than anything? It’s only seven episodes! Yes, Godless is actually a mini-series rather than the start of some entirely new show. That’s not just good because I can’t imagine adding a new program to my already exhaustive list of shows to keep up with, but it allows this program to potentially become a conversation point in the way many other Netflix series simply don’t.

The “drop everything at once” streaming model has been great for allowing consumers to watch at their own pace but it’s also taken a lot of the water cooler talk out of TV. Series such as Mindhunter or Stranger Things can take the cultural conversation due to them only being in their first couple seasons and therefore not having as many episodes for viewers to sift through. Yet, if you think about it, no one really discusses Orange is the New Black or House of Cards the way they do something like Game of Thrones because everyone is watching at a different pace. With a mini-series, it’s easier for word of mouth to spread and conversations to start generating because the material is a single, confined story.

Think of it as a seven-hour movie. Here you can add greater depth to characters and a chance to dive deeper into a world than you could in a theater. Plus, you also get a kind of tightness that normal television simply doesn’t allow. So yes, I’m ready to sit down with some leftover Turkey and enjoy this raw, gritty looking western. It’s hard to think we haven’t gotten an excellent series in this genre since Deadwood but Godless looks to be a worthy successor, even if it is only for a limited time!

Godless premiers November 22nd on Netflix