I didn’t like Godless at first. In fact, I stopped watching half-way through episode two. I was bored and confused and nothing made any sense. Scenes felt too convenient and stereotypical. I was disappointed. It’s an all-star cast and I was expecting something much better.
Then I took a bit of a break and decided to try again at the beginning. And you know what? I started enjoying the limited series.
Here’s the thing. The trailer, while well-made, is crap.
Don’t watch the trailer. Hey, what are you doing? I said don’t watch it. Okay, well, you’ll be sorry later.
I don’t even know why they made that trailer or wrote such a misleading synopsis and a tagline lie. My best guess is a writer somewhere complained, but you can’t give anything away! Second best guess, trying too hard to cash in on women’s issues. I’m hoping it’s my first guess. Benefit of the doubt and all that.
Godless Synopsis – Rewrite
Allow me to give you an honest synopsis.
In the land of the lizard and the snake, a man has lost his shadow, an outlaw is a horse whisperer, and a woman is the fastest draw in the West. Several lives come together like blood-stained lace in a New Mexico town as everyone struggles with the aftermath of a tragic mining accident.
If I could, I’d give you a better trailer, but that might get me in trouble with those pesky copyright laws. I’m sure you undertand.
Godless – Lily’s Review
The Netflix limited series starts with the whisper of a gun silencer. Godless is not to be mistaken for a typical, fast-paced, action-packed Western, but it is most definitely a Western. With only seven episodes, it’s a Western you can fit in your pocket.
In some ways, Godless is hard to describe because so much of the story is shown through visuals and facial expressions only. It’s driven by the way scenes feel. The lack of dialogue at key moments make a powerful punch.
In terms of the mystery, it’s not just one story, one town, or one person. The mystery is the whole series. Clues abound. I had to watch the series three times before I picked up all the clues. I had to really pay attention. There’s a lot packed in only seven episodes.
In essence, everybody’s looking for something in Godless.
Jeff Daniels plays Frank Griffin, the leader of a misfit pack of outlaws, so well that I actually forgot it’s Jeff Daniels. Michelle Dockery (you know her from Downtown Abby) plays Alice Fletcher, a tragic figure who proves (in graphic detail) that what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. And Kim Coates‘ perfectly waxed mustache as Ed Logan? Pure gold. Coates certainly knows how to play a righteous son of a bitch.
As for the ladies of La Belle, all the actresses threw themselves into their roles 100%. I find it interesting that the series never overplays a female-only town. They could have. It could have gone in the wrong direction. Instead, it’s appropriate for that time in history and presents a ‘what if’ scenario. What if all the men died? Would the women start acting like men as replacements? Would they become completely helpless females? Or would they become stronger women? All these questions and every possible answer is fully explored in the series.
Godless isn’t only about the women. It’s not a feminist series and it’s not just about the men, either. It’s about the horses.
I could go on about each performance, but I have a point I want to make.
Netflix has invented a new category, limited series. A mini-series that can be binge-watched or watched over and over. It’s wonderful to see options. Oh sure, Godless could have been a lot more. With such a talented cast, it’s hard to deny how this story could have been a long-running series. There’s definitely an epic feel. However, I’m satisfied with the series. It was just enough.
By introducing a limited series, streaming possibilities have been opened, which creates a new media that doesn’t directly conflict with the medium of television. I’m not saying limited series will end the heated argument of cable vs streaming and allow them to play nicely together (for once), but it’s now a possibility. And that’s my point.
I give Godless 4 out 5 stars. If Martha was given more screen time, I’d give it 5 stars. Who can resist a badass bohemian woman who knows how to use a gun?
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