A real Kentuckian (Josh Hopkins) and an imagined Kentucky ('Justified') return to prime time

rcopley@herald-leader.comJanuary 4, 2014 

The bright blur of holiday lights is fading as we head into another Kentucky winter.

We don't usually have to endure conditions quite as inhospitable as our neighbors to the north, but this is an ideal time of year for Bluegrass State residents to warm themselves by the glow of the TV, and not just because the Cats are playing.

Tuesday night marks the return of two series offering the world some different visions of Kentucky, or Kentuckians.

A recent Business Insider survey deemed FX's Justified the most popular TV series ever set in Kentucky (although it's not filmed here, as many locals regularly grouse). The popular series follows Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) on adventures that make the streets of Harlan and Lexington look as dangerous as the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago.

Before a Lexington appearance last winter, Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers joked that because he watches Justified, he was sure his stand-up routine here in would end in a gunfight.

For a sunnier view of the world, you might tune in TBS's Cougar Town. The red wine-soaked comedy is set in Florida (although it's not filmed there, either) but stars Lexington native Josh Hopkins as Grayson Ellis, the beau of series star Courteney Cox's Jules. If you watch closely, Hopkins tries to sneak in University of Kentucky basketball references, including a performance of the "John Wall dance" in a previous season.

The shows both air at 10 p.m. Tuesdays, meaning you'll have to make a choice or catch one on DVR or a rerun, if both shows pique your interest.

In new season of ‘Justified,’ Crowes flock to Eastern Ky.

If you are one of the many people who are amazed that Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) has survived four seasons of Justified, you might be about to find out why.

There will be a whole bunch of Crowes in Season 5 of the series, led by journeyman actor Michael Rapaport as Dewey's cousin Darryl Crowe Jr., who leads the Crowe family's criminal enterprises from Florida. The Crowes — including Darryl's sister Wendy, underlings Danny and Kendal and consigliere Jean Baptiste — aim to resettle in Harlan. Of course, that's the territory Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) has been trying to hold onto, fending off interlopers from the north and east and lawmen, including Lexington-based Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant).

When we last saw Boyd, his girlfriend, Ava (Joelle Carter), was being hauled off to jail on a murder charge, and he joined forces with Wyn Duffy (Jere Burns), now the Detroit mob's man in the South.

So there are your bad guys for this season, with Rapaport seeming to have the role of Justified's next great antagonist, a group led by Margo Martindale's Emmy-winning turn as Mags Bennett in Season 2.

Raylan has problems of his own, including being a new dad. But Winona (Natalie Zea) is trying to get as far from him as possible after their last dance with the Detroit mob, which sent three goons to kill them and their unborn daughter.

Trailers and the Justified media kit, which doesn't give much away, seem to indicate that Raylan will have a new conquest in Allison Brander (Amy Smart), a social worker who "understands lawmen in a way that even lawmen don't understand about themselves," the media kit says. Hmm.

There are plenty of other loose ends for a lively 13 weeks in a Harlan and Lexington that few of us will recognize. ‘Cougar Town’ has a new season, a new-ish network and a new cougar

After a so-so run on ABC, the Courteney Cox vehicle Cougar Town moved to TBS's "very funny" lineup last year. The cable network is boosting the Season 5 premiere the way Fox blitzes us with American Idol.

The Turner network commissioned a 10-by-24-foot mosaic of Cox made from more than 62,000 wine corks in the Los Angeles shopping complex The Grove. If you haven't gotten to L.A. but have turned to TBS for, say, a Big Bang Theory fix, it's been hard to miss the fact that Cougar Town is coming back.

Last season, Jules and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) were working through newlywed life. This season, Jules gets to deal with her young adult son, Travis (Dan Byrd), dating her friend Laurie (Busy Phillips), bringing some cougar back to the town. It's an adjustment.

Also occupying the cul-de-sac crew this season, in addition to vino: The Penny Can game invented by Jules' ex, Bobby (Brian Van Holt), goes global; brusk Ellie (Christa Miller) unveils her "Charming Ellie" persona; and Grayson realizes his dream of being in a television commercial, although apparently it's not all it's cracked up to be.


ON TV

'Justified': 10 p.m. Tue. on FX. FXnetworks.com/justified.

'Cougar Town': 10 p.m. Tue. on TBS. TBS.com/shows/cougar-town.

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