Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: Waning 'Moon'

Today's column previews "Comanche Moon," the final miniseries in the "Lonesome Dove" saga:
I spent a lot of the six hours of "Comanche Moon" - the final miniseries in the "Lonesome Dove" saga - pondering the genetics of casting, since this was the third, fourth or even fifth time these roles had been filled by new actors. How, I wondered, could chatterbox Texas Ranger Gus McCrae age from David Arquette into Robert Duvall, by way of Steve Zahn? Who started off with Anjelica Huston's portrayal of strong pioneer woman Clara Allen and decided along the way that the role could also be played by Barbara Hershey, Jennifer Garner and Linda Cardellini? Why was Wes Studi playing a different role in "Comanche Moon" than he had in the second miniseries, "Streets of Laredo," even though his "Laredo" character, Famous Shoes, was in both?

I suppose if "Comanche Moon" were better, my mind wouldn't have wandered so much.
To read the full thing, click here. Like I say in the review, the original "Lonesome Dove" is one of my favorite books (and miniseries) ever, and the franchise has some extra sentimental value for me, as my very first story for The Star-Ledger was an interview with Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana connected to "Dead Man's Walk," so I was really hoping for more than I got, even though "Comanche Moon" is the weakest of the four books.


DNR said...

>Though this is easily the flattest, cheapest-looking miniseries

If that picture is anything to judge by, they had the budget of a MadTv sketch.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The mini doesn't look quite as bad as that picture -- the outdoor scenes were actually shot outdoors, albeit not with the same epic scope Wincer gave to the first one -- but the indoor scenes come awfully close at times.

Anonymous said...

Well, this makes me sad. Like you, I have enormous affection for the original Lonesome Dove, and I love Rachel Griffiths (at least on the first two seasons of that HBO show the name of which escapes me). I thought Comanche Moon was better than Dead Man's Walk, so I was looking forward to this.

I'll probably watch anyway.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I thought Comanche Moon was better than Dead Man's Walk

Well, I would say there are ways where Comanche Moon (the book) is better than Dead Man's Walk and ways that it's worse. By the time he wrote it, McMurtry seemed to have finally gotten over his irritation at people misreading the first book, and so Gus and Call stop being such incompetents. But Dead Man's Walk at least tells a cohesive story, from beginning to end, where Comanche Moon hops all over the place to fill in as many gaps in the story as McMurtry had left.

One thing I couldn't find a way to mention in the review: the miniseries omits the eyelid-clipping part of Scull's captivity, which was one of the most memorable (and creepy) parts of the book.

Isabel said...

I'm just now watching Comanche Moon. I too have loved Lonesome Dove since I was a little girl. And dude, I guess I missed Dead Man's Walk someone where along the way.

I am amazed at how Steve Zahn's Gus sounds exactly like Robert Duvall's. He clearly spent many hours watching the original and getting his voice down to a T.