© by Gerald So | 7:00 a.m.
Though I haven't gotten to his Hap Collins and Leonard Pine books, I'm a fan of Joe R. Lansdale from his work in superhero cartoons, short stories, and as the founder of Shen Chuan Martial Science. I mention this so you know I'm reviewing the first season of Sundance Channel's Hap and Leonard (now on Netflix) purely as a TV series.
In the late 1980s, disillusioned '60s activist Hap Collins (James Purefoy) and his best friend, gay Republican Vietnam vet Leonard Pine (Michael Kenneth Williams), cross paths with Leonard's ex-wife Trudy (Christina Hendricks), a fellow former activist who gets them embroiled in a plot to recover a sunken load of cash.
Purefoy, Williams, and Hendricks bring their acting chops, Hendricks playing a femme fatale similar to her memorable Firefly role as Saffron. The six-episode season is tightly plotted but also fills in Hap, Leonard, and Trudy's backstories. The action ramps up when the caper crew runs afoul of violent sociopaths Soldier and Angel (Jimmi Simpson and Pollyanna McIntosh respectively).
I've appreciated the trend toward developing TV series from books, eventually letting the TV series have their own lives, but I'm also glad novel-like mini-series still have a place.
On March 15, Hap and Leonard continue on Sundance with an adaptation of their second novel, Mucho Mojo.