When it debuted a year ago on Sundance, Hap and Leonard seemed like the kind of show tailor-made for me to love, only I didn’t.
An adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s series of crime novels about a pair of East Texas pals who keep playing amateur sleuth, it was loaded with ’80s period charm, had abundant chemistry between stars James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Williams (who became friends years before in NBC’s otherwise-forgettable The Philanthropist), and was filled with weird supporting characters. On paper, it was Terriers with a twang, but the opening story — a sunken treasure hunt involving Hap’s ex-wife and a group of aging ’60s radicals — was so slow and glum that I never finished the brief season, even with only two episodes to go.
The raw material was appealing enough, though, that I decided to start fresh with season two (it debuts tonight at 10; I’ve seen four of the six episodes). While not an anthology miniseries, the fact that each season is based on a different Lansdale book (this one is Mucho Mojo) provided enough of a clean slate that I was able to jump in and pick up on the fact that Hap and Leonard had each suffered a loss at the end of the first story, and then get into the new one: a mystery about a group of long-missing young black boys that Leonard’s Uncle Chester once investigated, and that ties into both Leonard’s ongoing beef with his drug-dealing neighbors and Hap’s decades-old hatred of a local judge.