If cable networks are the executioners, Netflix is the proverbial call from the governor. It seems that no show is truly dead these days until Netflix gives either a thumbs-up or down to renewing it on its paid streaming service. This was the case with the fan-favorite A&E show “Longmire,” which Netflix just picked up for a fourth season.
In August, A&E axed the show after its Season 3 cliffhanger. Given its popularity and relatively decent ratings, Netflix has swooped in, as it’s done with shows like “Arrested Development” and “The Killing,” to give an otherwise dead show the chance to limp on and attract a new binge-watching audience.
The show, based on Craig Johnson’s best-selling mystery novels, is a modern-day crime drama set in Big Sky country. Robert Taylor plays the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, along with fellow cast members Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman and Adam Bartley.
“When Warner Horizon Television came to us with the idea for a new season of 'Longmire,' we were intrigued because the series is so unique, and consistently great," Netflix's vice president of original content, Cindy Holland, said in a press statement. "We are thrilled to help continue Walt Longmire’s story for his large and passionate following."
The cancellation of “Longmire” came as a shock to many fans. The drama was the most-watched original scripted show on A&E. According to Deadline, Season 3 averaged 5.6 million viewers, only a slight dip from the 6 million that Season 2 brought in. Many believe executives cut the show because of its older-skewing audience. As noted by the Hollywood Reporter, “Longmire” was mostly watched by people over 50. Unfortunately this puts that audience out of the 18-49 range that’s so coveted by advertisers.
Luckily for fans of the show, Netflix is not a slave to those advertising dollars. Its only guiding revenue star is whether a show will convince people to sign up for its paid service. Given the millions of viewers the first three seasons had, coupled with an exciting cliffhanger at the end of Season 3, “Longmire” seems like it should have been on Netflix all along.
Deadline reports that the entire cast has signed on to make the jump from cable to Netflix. But it’s worth mentioning there’s no guarantee that some of these characters are even alive following the Season 3 finale.
According to Netflix’s plot synopsis for Season 4 (via USA Today):
"Season 4 of 'Longmire' picks up moments after season three's exciting finale. Walt Longmire, having found out who was behind the murder of his wife, succumbs to his darker impulses and takes off in pursuit of the killer with murder on his mind. Meanwhile, Branch Connally (Bailey Chase), the deputy who Walt fired for erratic, violent behavior, believes he has already figured out who the real culprit is. But during his confrontation with this suspected killer, a gun goes off. Now the audience will finally learn what happened, and whether Walt can be stopped before he makes a fatal choice.”
The series is tentatively eyeing a premiere of Season 4 in March.