Southland – The
Complete First Season
(Uncensored/2009/Warner DVD Set)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C
many formula series involving police work, Southland
is here and is easily the best Police Drama genre show since Homicide – Life In The Street! Taking place in Southern California (Los Angeles and Hollywood
in particular), this remarkable, excellent, top rate series deserves to be the
next big thing, but it is already battling to find an audience because network
TV does not know how to sell television anymore. Now on the TNT Network, the show was
cancelled by (you guessed it!) NBC! Now,
Warner has issued The Complete First
Season on DVD and if we are lucky, it will find the same hit status as Big Bang Theory.
first episode, we meet Ben (Ben McKenzie, The
O.C.) who does not look like your usual cop, with his almost model looks
and not exactly coming across as the kind of gritty tough guy being a cop
takes. His senior partner John (Michael
Cudlitz) can’t help making sarcastic comments and they are on their way. The combination of great casting, acting,
depth, realism, character development and fine overall writing is a throwback
to the days of Levinson/Link and the glory days of network TV, plus it has the
talent and energy to make it work.
Biderman created this series and it is yet another ace in a career filled with
underrated work, including screenplays for Copycat,
Smilla’s Sense of Snow and Public Enemies, plus the mystery hit Primal Fear. She is one of the best in the business and
may have just created a television classic.
The only thing is that this season only has 6 hour-long episodes and
needs time to grow, but that could and should happen. She has an amazing behind-the-scenes crew
(including J. Michael Muro (Roll Bounce,
Crash, The Black Donnellys) and Dana Gonzales as Directors of Photography
for the show) that gives it a new look and feel that works. It is a triumph that all serious TV and drama
fans should mark as essential viewing.
is amazing and one of the best for any TV drama in a very long time, including
Regina King, Tom Everett Scott, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Alejandro, Arija
Bareikis, Shawn Hatosy, Michael McGrady, Ally Walker and John Heard among
others. Of course, TV critics failed us
once again and this show could have been cancelled outright, but here it is in
an uncut version (think The Sopranos,
where anything that might be censored increases the suspense, intensity and
realism of each episode) and you have a great show that can only get better.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is one of the best HD shoots we’ve seen
to date anywhere (including a few hundred feature films and counting) and
though the color is toned down, it is never obnoxious about it. We get some motion blur, but it is
minor. We get a little shaky camera
work, but it seems in context to the storyline.
These transfers are a bit soft, but still look good for the DVD format,
but I can’t wait for the Blu-ray. The
Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is also good, but audio is not always active to give the
feel of location audio at times with some dropout. The sound mix is smart, not showy and that
further increases the impact of each show.
Hope the Blu-ray has lossless audio.
extra is a 15+ minutes featurette Southland:
Redefining The Cop Drama. It is very
much worth seeing, but be sure to see all the episodes first.