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'Rectify': Dark, Beautiful and Southern

Hi...I am Johnny Gwin and I am a TV-aholic, and this blog is an apology letter to Twin Peaks, X-files, and The Wire. I am sorry for all the great years we had together. I didn't mean for this to happen, but it just did. Please let me explain. Most of the 1000s of hours of my Boob-Tube addiction has been filled with less than stellar, or even mediocre entertainment. Well, let's just say it...I have ruined my eyes and killed my brain cells with a cathode tube lit landfill of Erkles, Fonzies, ALF's, and fake laugh track worthy sitcoms. You three shows gave me a glimpse that I should demand more for my viewing pleasure and valuable time. And for that, I will truly be grateful. But I have found something else that is younger and just as smart, maybe even smarter. And...the southern accents are believable.

Recently and after 20 minutes of searching the Netflix menu for a show I haven't seen already or tried yet I reluctantly chose a show called Rectify. {Writer's note: little did I know that this Sundance made show was on the Guinness Book of World Records highest-rated TV shows ever.} The plot focuses on Daniel Holden, a small southern town man released by new DNA evidence from 19 years on Death Row for raping and killing his then 16-year-old girlfriend. From the very first episode, I loved the slow and pensive flow of the show, the stark and simple color palette of the art direction and the exceptional acting. Even the Georgia and southern accents were dead on. By the 3rd episode, I was hooked and realized this is not one of those typical true-crime who-dun-it's (even though the real-life Memphis 3 case feels like a direct inspiration), a police procedural forensics show, or a John Grisham made for TV courtroom drama. Even though all of these elements are in easily seen in this 4 season series. Rectify is a modern-day southern gothic fish out of water journey that depicts the tidal wave effect of violence, tragedy, and injustice on a man, two families, a whole town and the human soul. It also manages without being too heavy-handed to discuss issues with of our justice system and capital punishment.

Following Daniel Holden, I was simultaneously mesmerized and heartbroken as he awkwardly and reluctantly interacts and re-discovers the world, other people, and himself outside of his controlled and hellish white death box. All the simple things of life we take for granted confuse and amaze Daniel while in the background his legal and political crap storm is winding up and spinning out of control. Every season brilliantly builds the tapestry of a central plot that weaves multiple storylines to reveal the complexity and weight of this extreme and disrupting situation into the comfortable lives of all the characters. Kudos to the creatives and network executives for the restraint, precision, and delicacy with the writing and direction of this show. There is no way a major network would have had the freedom or courage to stick to the pacing and flow of this beautiful work of art. I won't give any spoilers because I do not want to ruin the Rectify experience for anyone but the final season is a freaking masterpiece, and it ended as perfectly (and as realistically) as I could ever imagine. The only problem I had with Rectify, I was sad at the realization that after watching the final series scene I would miss watching the evolution of these quirky, real and likable characters.

Bottomline, I have added a fourth show to my holy trilogy of TV. You, my first three TV loves, might feel a bit jilted and a little crowded in my heart, but I'm pretty sure there is enough room for you all. My new affection for Rectify doesn't take away how important you will always be to me. Plus, with all the digital delights on Netflix and Amazon Prime in this new golden age of episodic TV, I think that I might be adding a few more loves.

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Who's Johnny?

Johnny Gwin is a part-time blogger and once upon a time bass player in a traveling americana rock band. When rock stardom failed to launch he threw himself into to the world of advertising & design. After 16 years of the ups and downs of agency life he has found balance in his two lives. One life entails being a creative and graphic designer at 1Horse Design. The other is Content Director, Podcast Host and Producer at Deep Fried Studios - Mobile, Alabama's only podcast production studio dedicated to creating the smartest, most compelling and entertaining podcasts possible.

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