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'Southland': The Best Show on TV That Probably Won't Get Renewed

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Apr 17th 2010 9:00AM
SouthlandI have no idea what the chances are that 'Southland' will get picked up for renewal by TNT, but as a fan, I'm not hopeful. While the show's gotten critical raves and has decent ratings, it's missing the crucial buzz that would push a network teetering on the fence to renew it.

While viewers love the show, they're not fanatical enough to start letter writing campaigns or picket outside the network's headquarters. It's been a little over a week since the show's final episode, and it's fallen off everyone's radar. That's not a good sign.Here are three reasons why 'Southland' should be renewed.

1. Great acting, great writing, great production values
But 'Southland' isn't just well produced, well acted and well written. It adds something far more compelling to the television landscape. This isn't just a show about cops and victims and violent crime running rampant in urban areas. It's more about how they're inextricably tied together in a city, almost like a living, breathing organism.

2. Realism all the way
Don't we have enough shows about problems of well-heeled middle class citizens and reality shows about vapid celebrities? Shows that tackle the problems of lower-middle class and poverty-stricken citizens are almost non-existent. And 'Southland' doesn't have any easy answers. In fact, it has no answers at all. Instead it provides an unflinching look at the distressing circumstances facing citizens who deal with drugs, guns and violence on a daily basis. This isn't an easy show to watch, but it should be watched, and it should be renewed. Unlike 'CSI' or 'Bones,' where murder and death are dealt with in an often chilling scientific manner, 'Southland' keeps everything way too real.

I'm thinking back to the episode 'What Makes Sammy Run' and that scene with Officer Sammy and the boy, Casper. If you've seen it, you know what I mean. When Sammy (played wonderfully by the underrated Shawn Hatosy) loses all professional composure and sweeps a sobbing child up in his arms, it's painful to watch. I haven't seen any episode of 'CSI' provide a moment like that, something that feels so intimate that it's an invasion of privacy.

3. It's like 'The Wire,' but for LA
David Simon, who created 'The Wire,' said that the dark HBO series wasn't just a crime drama, but really "a show about the American city, and about how we live together." 'Southland' follows that same ethos. It's a show about the life of a city as much as it is a show about the cops. These emotional moments and the cinema verite style of filming give the show an almost documentary-like feel, much like the early days of 'ER.'

TNT, if you're listening, I know the ratings haven't been great, but they've been good. Solid even. And isn't it worth banking on a show that doesn't traffic in the same exploitative and banal reality TV fare as every other network, but, instead, tries to tell the stories of people who are too often ignored or dismissed?

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As i watched the show on TNT I thought - "NBC canceled this show? Are they nuts?" It's a great show and I hope TNT renews it.

May 10 2010 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do you know if TNT is going to have a marathon or rerun any of the eps? We had a monsoon the night of the finale, so the dish was dead and the show didn't record. I can watch it online, but it isn't really the same, is it?

April 19 2010 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Southland is great, but it isn't as incredible as The Wire

April 18 2010 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I honestly think Soutland is one of the best show on TV right now. At least i can't remember a show that got my heart beating like the ending of the latest episode of southland did

April 17 2010 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just an excellent article! It's like the line from an old Bob Dylan song--It's life and life only...Very few shows ever give you that, much less once a week.

April 17 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did watch Dark Blue on TNT and that got renewed. SouthLAnd is a way better show then Dark Blue, so maybe their is a chance.

April 17 2010 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very much in the mold of "Boomtown," which came and went in 2002. It's a well-produced and compelling show, but perhaps is too far from the cop show formula that makes a mark with a mass audience.

I still miss Homicide: Life on the Street.

April 17 2010 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As i watched the show on TNT I thought - "NBC canceled this show? Are they nuts?" It's a great show and I hope TNT renews it.

April 17 2010 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You should start reading your own blog: http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/04/14/tv-101-my-strange-hate-for-the-word-of-mouthers/

April 17 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We've been working so hard to get SouthLAnd renewed on twitter. Here's the link of our petition. http://www.southlandtvfans.com/petition

And also we've left comments on TNT SouthLAnd wall on Facebook to let it know how much we love the show.

This show is too good to let go. I hope TNT will listen to our voices and make a smart decision soon.

April 17 2010 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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