Southland is amazing TV

I’m a moron. I haven’t talked about “Southland” the TV show yet? Last night was the season finale on TNT.

Last spring (2009), I was turned on to the “Southland” seven episode season that aired on NBC. The pilot episode hooked me, and I only shared my love for it with a few people. By the end of the season, I was so caught up in the show that I spent four days locked in the bathroom weeping after it was over.

And then you know what happened? The fuckers at NBC canceled it. Who knows why? Ratings must have suffered. But the backlash afterward caused TNT to go out and pick it up.

The link above connects to the full episodes.

Why is the show good? It’s got everything. It’s cinematically sound. It’s shot in a cinema verité style, no lighting, no music tracks. I don’t always like this style, but when it’s done right, damn it’s good.

Camera work is solid, but editing is great. There are these moments when even Tina will turn to me and say, “That was a cool edit.”

I wish I could have a conversation with the editors. I would tell them how their segue from the past show clips to the current show is a moment that sends tingly goodness down my back.

The scripts are good. Last night’s finale script was okay. But the scripts are made better by the talent delivering the lines. Remember Regina King? She landed her first TV roll on the show “227” back in the 80s. She plays a character on “Southland” with such amazing will and determination. I have such a crush on great acting like hers. Shit, I have a crush on her. In the show, King is a homicide detective, and is shown dealing with her family life and cop life with such a persistent feeling of, “That must be the way things really are!”

Then there’s Ben McKenzie from the “OC” craze. He plays a rookie cop named Ben Sherman. Good thing I never watched the “OC”, but just knowing he was on it turned my stomach. Now after two seasons, he’s the cat’s pajamas. He plays his character with so much angst and suffering behind his eyes that I’m waiting for him to burst open in an A-bomb emotional explosion.

The thing is, there are so many characters on the show that it’s hard to keep up with. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just to properly review the show, I’d need much more time. There are cops with drug problems. There are cops cheating on their wives. There are cops who are trying to deal with their lives in a “real” feeling way.

For instance, Shawn Hatosy‘s character Sammy is dealing with the reality of cop life and coming home to his struggling photographer wife. They can’t have kids, that they know, and he shows such immense compassion for children and his fellow cops, that the mind yearns for his success despite his redundant failures.

The best thing about the show are the stand up and scream moments. If you’re looking for a show that you are forced to hold your breath in anticipation during several seconds to minutes … or you’re brought to tears hoping something is okay during emotional overload to bring a criminal to justice … or you like when you’re forced to stand up and say “OH MY GOD!” while pulling on the ends of your hair … this is the show for you.

Watch it!

4 thoughts on “Southland is amazing TV

  1. One episode was enough for me. It was a good show and very well done, but I don’t think I could bring myself to keep watching it. Maybe they did too good of a job?

      1. I seem to go in seasonal phases for being able to handle the more brutally realistic fiction. It may end up in my rent list for future macabre moods.

  2. Please sign this petition to renew Southland

    You can also join the Southland Facebook!/southland?v=wall

    And write to these execs at TNT:
    Philip I. Kent
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Turner Broadcasting System

    Steve Koonin
    President, Turner Entertainment Networks

    Michael Wright
    Executive Vice President
    Head of Programming
    TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies

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