Advent 2014: Favourite Characters – Day #1: Raylan Givens (Justified)

In the start of a new column that should run right the way up until Christmas Eve, I address my favourite fictional characters (taken from a wide variety of sources, mainly novels, television, film and comic books) from 2014 and why they’re so awesome, starting on the first day with Justified’s (FX) Raylan Givens, played by actor Timothy Olyphant.

As you’ve probably noticed from above, this is a new blog series dedicated to showcasing my favourite characters from 2014. I will draw from a wide variety of sources but the conditions are simple – I have to have either first encountered that character in 2014, (or a different iteration of that character in 2014, for example, If I were to use, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock Holmes, I would be allowed to as even though I discovered the character before the year of me writing the Advent list, I did not discover Moffat’s take on the character until 2014. Of course, I watched BBC’s Sherlock before 2014, but that’s just a standard example). I can also refer to groups of characters, for example, on a variation of a list last year, I used the Clone Club from Orphan Black, and the main cast from Stargate Atlantis. This will be used multiple times this year when talking about TV show characters – as they are generally better as an ensemble piece as opposed to an individual group.
And also, as is evident from the first character that I have used this year, Raylan Givens, I am allowed to pick characters from previous years as long as I have discovered them in this year. By discovered, that obviously means I have to have watched the first episode of the TV series in 2014, or alternatively, I am also allowed to include characters who I have become more attached to in this year that I weren’t necessarily so keen on before, for example, If a character did something awesome this year to raise their game and turn him or her into a new fan favourite than these characters would be allowed to be included.
So without further ado, let’s crack on with the first Advent selection, and that has the honour of belonging to Justified’s Raylan Givens, played fantastically well by Timothy Olyphant.
There are several reasons why Raylan Givens is awesome, and first of all, that’s Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant is a fantastic actor and he’s capable of pulling off many awesome performances, and he certainly knocks it out of the park as the US Marshall Raylan Givens. When we first meet Raylan he is returning to his hometown after shooting a perpetrator in Miami, after the criminal failed to heed his warnings of the fact that he had 24 hours to get out of town. Raylan heralds from Harlan County, which his new post in Lexington covers. So naturally, heading back to Harlan brings back a lot of old faces, including Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), who needs protection from the rest of the Crowder family after shooting her abusive husband, and former best friend Boyd (Walton Goggins) who is now a White Supremacist.
Raylan is essentially a 19th-Century style, old western lawman. He’s got an unconventional approach to law enforcement, including wearing a Stetson, and as a result that earns him plenty of attention from not only his bosses but also his enemies.

I discovered the character after checking out Justified on a whim on Netflix and the series has rapidly turned into one of my favourite shows. I’m currently binging on the neo-western drama in an effort to get caught up before Season 6, its finale, airs in January, and normally that would be a bit difficult as most series have 23 episodes per season but thankfully this only has thirteen which makes things a bit easier. This show has also increased my appreciation for neo-western, and I’ll probably end up checking out any new drama (for example, Longmire I checked out not just because Katee Sackhoff was in it, but largely because it fell into the same genre as this series) that falls into that category. And I’ll also probably watch anything that Timothy Olyphant stars in as well. 

Here’s a spoiler-free trailer for anyone who hasn’t seen the series, and I encourage you to go and watch it as soon as you can (like I probably will with all of the characters I include on this list). 


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