Monday, May 11, 2009

Southland – Worth A “Bleeping” Try

All Photos from NBC

I started watching Southland (NBC) a few weeks ago. I missed the first episode or two. I’m sorry that I did, because this show is one of the more interesting “cop” shows that I’ve seen in a while. It focuses on the LAPD, but unlike NBC’s failed series “Boomtown” of a few years ago, Southland doesn’t have a glitzy stylized look to it. Southland is much more realistic and down to earth, at times it’s like being on a ride-along with a reality show like “Cops.” Unlike “Cops”, Southland overlays some background stories for its main cast.

The cast is a blend of people from all walks of life. Two that stand out for me are Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) and Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott). Regina King plays a detective who is grounded in reality, but also seems to have a heart and strives to do the right thing. Tom Everett Scott looks like he is looking for something more in his life, likely in his marriage if not other things. Frankly, it’s good to see him in this series and not in his role as Governor Shalvoy on Law & Order, a role that did not fit him one bit and was almost laughable. This role seems much better suited for his acting ability and his boyish looks. But there are plenty more on this cast that give the show in which almost everyone can develop and interest.

Some drawbacks though. The lead police and detective ranks don’t seem to be very racially balanced and I don’t know if this reflects the true make up of the LA force, so the show may not be as realistic as it wants viewers to believe. But by far the biggest detractor is the “bleeps” that they insert in order to cover the expletives. It’s likely some of these words would get by if aired on cable, and I think the show is attempting to be edgy by showing that these words do come out of people’s mouths in a course of a given day, the bleeps being their way of saying, “Yes, we can say these words too like other real people but we’re just not allowed to on network TV.” Personally, I find it highly annoying. I would rather that they find other words to use than to continue to hear that bleeping all the time.

So while I haven’t watched enough of the show to really understand or care about all the characters, I think the show has possibilities. I think they can get rid of the bleeping expletives and find other ways to make the show edgy. This may be a difficult task, though, seeing that NBC’s decision to move Jay Leno into the 10 PM time slot daily next fall will mean that their prime time shows may have to be sanitized even further. But, I’m glad that NBC has renewed this series because I plan on watching it a while longer.

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1 comment:

Michael said...

I watched the first episode, I definitely got a gritty feeling from it, but it just didn't keep my interest much. I am wondering what NBC is going to do next year that they'll have no 10pm (eastern) shows since Leno will be on at that time. Seemed a bit to gritty for 9pm, but that was just my initial thought. I'd recommend checking out the Unusuals, has a bit of an NYPD Blue feel to it.