DVD Review: First Season of Spectacular Cop Show ‘Southland’

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CHICAGO – One episode of the excellent “Southland” should tell you all you need to know about what NBC thinks about quality dramatic writing. They don’t care. They looked at this show, one of the most expertly-written on television, and canceled it, even after starting production on the second season. They’d rather give you “The Jay Leno Show”. Show them the error of their ways and make “Southland” a hit on DVD and with upcoming new episodes on TNT.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0

“Southland” started interestingly enough that I had a feeling it could develop into something truly special if given enough time. Ironically, I wrote in my review of the NBC pilot, “”Southland” doesn’t quite feel as much like a show of the prime era of NBC as it does a part of the networks that are pushing drama today - basic cable. “Southland” would be right at home on FX, TNT, A&E, or AMC. In other words, it’s pretty damn good.”

I had no idea that “Southland” would eventually find a home on basic cable, being picked up by TNT after NBC canceled it in favor of the man threatening to destroy the network. Watching the rest of the first season on DVD, I’m struck by how much richer, more detailed, and more interesting the show became in such a short time. I have a feeling this cold be on TNT for a decade. It’s certainly good enough.

Southland: The Complete First Season - Uncensored was released on DVD on January 19th, 2010.
Robin Hood: Season Three was released on DVD on January 12th, 2010.
Photo credit: BBC Home Video

And fans seem interested. The network is right now airing repeats of the episodes on this DVD, already aired on NBC, and they’re outdelivering 2009 primetime averages of TNT’s other acquired crime dramas, “Bones,” “CSI: New York,” “Cold Case,” and “Law & Order”. Right now, TNT has not committed to producing any new episodes, merely airing the already-broadcast and then the produced-but-not-broadcast ones. I truly hope the network finds the money to continue with original shows produced by them after those thirteen.

The first show that springs to mind while watching “Southland,” especially in the unrated, uncensored, and F-bomb laden form on DVD, is “The Shield”. Comparisons to one of the best shows of the ’00s can be tough and “Southland” isn’t quite there yet but it’s been cut from a similar cloth. The production value is stellar and the entire ensemble (particularly Michael Cudlitz and Regina King) shine. Both could eventually land Emmy nominations and truly put TNT on the critical map were they to pick up the show.

Official synopsis: “From Emmy Award winners John Wells, Ann Biderman and Chris Chulack comes a raw and authentic look at the police unit in Los Angeles. From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East LA, “Southland” is a fast-moving drama that will take you inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families.”

Tech Specs: Matted widescreen transfer with English Dolby Surround 5.1 audio track.

Special Features: “Southland, Redefining the Cop Drama”.

StarDon’t Miss Our Interview With ‘Southland’ Star Michael Cudlitz.

‘Southland: The Complete First Season - Uncensored’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and Ben McKenzie, Michael Cudlitz, Regina King, Tom Everett Scott, Michael McGrady, Shawn Hatosy, Kevin Alejandro, and Arija Bareikis. The show was created by Ann Biderman. The show was released on DVD on January 19th, 2010. It is not rated. It runs roughly 300 minutes.

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