Thursday, April 9, 2009

Southland - I Had a Dream I...

A hallmark of a good drama is making the viewer feel anxious and uncomfortable even when they know what is about to happen. Southland pulls few punches for a network cop drama and comes off as a decent attempt at censored police work.

To try and recap the first hour of this show would prove folly. Some criticism I read centered around their being too much going on in this first episode. Like we were introduced to every character and forced to identify with them right away. I disagree. The manic nature of the premiere only let on to the idea that there is just a ton of shit going on in these lives and this police force.

Sure the drama is a bit heavy handed and the lines a little melodramatic but expecting more from this format is wrong. Instead we focus on the positives. A cop show about the cops without getting to know them by name. Intrigue in the form of random violence rather than who-dun-its. This makes for good watching.

I believe in Southland (which doesn't mean much because I believe in a lot of shows that get canceled) because it focuses on the act rather than the characters. The act is what makes police work interesting. Cops aren't necessarily interesting characters, but by god their work is. The investment in characters will come in time I'm sure, but the beauty here is in the emotion. Every character, even nameless, is easy to associate with because they are regular people doing an irregular job. And according to Officer John Cooper, "It's God's work."

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