>> Southland (PREVIEW)

Show: Southland

Episode(s): Pilot, Derailed

Genre: Drama

Starring: Kevin Alejandro, Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King, Michael McGrady, Benjamin McKenzie, Tom Everett Scott, Arija Bareikis

Network: TNT

Airdate/Time: January 12, 2010 10:00pm

Rating: 3.90 (out of 4.00)

Grade: A-

Official Site

The path to a successful TV show is littered with hundreds (thousands even?) of concepts that only made it to the pilot stage and/or two or three aired episodes. Beyond that, some shows only make it half a season or possibly one. You’re lucky if you get renewed…and syndication? Well that’s reserved for the ones that hit the jackpot.

Of course, things being what they are, getting the shot at an audience (and the time needed to earn a faithful audience) doesn’t always fall to worthy shows. Unfortunately a lot of crap gets greenlit and some genuinely awesome work gets canned (Freaks and Geeks and Firefly among my personal favorites).

While only time will be able to tell, Southland might end up getting added to that latter group (but hopefully not). It’s already been cancelled and dropped by NBC (I believe the cancellation even happened before the series premiere). Only seven episodes actually aired…and then boom. Done. But there is a faint light at the end of the tunnel here. There is a slight glimmer of hope, in the name of TNT. The network has picked up Southland and beginning next Tuesday, they’re going to be airing all seven episodes that were on NBC, plus six brand new ones.

Why should you care? Because Southland is quite possibly one of the better cop/crime dramas to come on basic cable in some time. The cast is fantastic and the storylines are gritty and hard-edged (apparently the darker nature of the show was one of the main reasons NBC dropped it). The pacing of the show is quick and intense, but still makes time for the characters and their development. The writing is sharp, without being overly clichéd. This is the sort of show that needs another chance. I was immediately hooked after the pilot and I’ll definitely be tuning in to see the rest of the series. Here’s hoping that we get to see a lot more from this cast and these creators.

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