Viewers tuning in for Season 4 of Longmire on its new home, Netflix, will see a slight change in the series compared to its A&E run.
“The show’s going to be different in the end, but we’re actually still making the same show,” executive producer Hunt Baldwin said Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills.
Baldwin noted the episodes no longer have to be cut down to fit a 42-minute running time and aren’t subject to commercial breaks.
“We’re not changing our approach to storytelling very much, but the end result feels very cinematic,” he explained.
Season 4, debuting Sept. 10 on the streaming service, will center around a fitting concept, given the drama’s resurrection. “Ironically, the theme is ‘second chances,’ and who you are as a person is defined by how you handle the second chance,” EP Greer Shephard previewed. “There are a lot of ways in which people can rebuild themselves after devastating circumstances, and we explore that theme through each of our characters.”
Meanwhile, the “injustices and discrepancies” facing Native American characters on the drama’s reservations are “going to put Walt (played by Robert Taylor) and Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) in opposition,” Shephard revealed.
As for the show’s cable cancellation, the producers were as shocked as fans and were given no reason for the axing by A&E at the time. “There was a vague [insinuation] that money was involved,” Shephard said, adding that the decision ultimately came down to the fact that “our viewers did skew older, and A&E did not have an ownership stake in the show” (which is produced by Warner Horizon Television).
Luckily, “Netflix doesn’t care about the demographic,” TV vet Gerald McRaney, who plays Branch’s father Barlow, said. “They care about people subscribing and watching.”
And had the series concluded with Season 3, would the producers have been satisfied with the finale’s cliffhanger? “We had no intention of ending it like that,” Baldwin adamantly replied.
“Obviously, when we wrote [the finale], we had a lot of story left to tell and had every intention of telling [it],” the EP said. “We were surprised that there was a purgatory last season when we didn’t think we were going to get to finish. Needless to say, we are thrilled that we got to move to Netflix and finish telling the story.”