If you seek a gripping Western, then travel back to 1880s New Mexico territory to see the stunning miniseries, “Godless.” With sublime landscapes and unhurried storytelling, “Godless” offers a compelling tale of outlaws, lawmen and fiercely independent women.
Year it began: 2017
Where it can be seen: Netflix
Who’s in it: Jeff Daniels, Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Jeff Daniels, Merritt Wever, Sam Waterston, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Tantoo Cardinal and Kim Coates.
Typical episode length: 77 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 7
Brief plot description: Frank Griffin’s outlaw gang causes mayhem while hunting their former colleague, Roy Goode. While Goode stays on Alice Fletcher’s ranch, Sheriff Bill McNue tracks Griffin. Meanwhile, Mary Agnes McNue protects La Belle, a town filled with women made widows by a mining explosion, from the Quicksilver mining Company.
Why it’s worth watching: “Godless” offers compelling drama, combining a number of intriguing storylines with its classic tale of a good-hearted fugitive pursued by a vicious gang. Filmed with wonderful cinematography in widescreen, “Godless” uses sweeping vistas of rocky desert and pine-filled forest to make the New Mexico territory come to vivid life. With superb directing, it takes its time in weaving together stories that bring meaning to its frontier world. The show is sometimes simply breathtaking: the scenes where Goode slowly, but methodically tames Fletcher’s wild horses are mesmerizing, as are the touching moments when Goode teaches Fletcher’s fatherless son Truckee (Samuel Marty) to ride the horses he has always feared
“Godless” features a superb cast. O’Connell is outstanding as Roy Goode. Cautious and soulful, Goode projects an unrefined wisdom and courtesy as he endeavors to improve himself and the lives of his hosts. McNairy offers an endearing performance as Sheriff McNue. Beset with failing eyesight and seen as cowardly by many in La Belle, McNue nevertheless maintains his dignity and his sense of decency in an often lawless world. Daniels is calmly demonic as the cold-eyed killer Frank Griffin, with his spiritual certainty making his violent group seem all the more unsettling. Other standout performances include Wever’s outwardly bold and skeptical, but inwardly warm and vulnerable Mary McNue; Dockery’s steely, yet sensitive Alice Fletcher, who forgets past wounds while running her remote ranch; Cardinal’s cynical and cautious Iyovi, whose heart warms when she sees her grandson begin to thrive; and Brodie-Sangster’s talented, but sweetly naïve deputy Whitey Winn.