'Southland' on TNT: Re-experiencing a terrific new series

Last night we had an unusual opportunity to re-experience a new series. Southland began its run on TNT; the cable network is re-airing the NBC episodes. The pilot last night had six minutes of new material that lengthened a few scenes for added character details and atmospheric texture.

I found that, having seen all seven of Southland‘s episodes on NBC, it was a complete pleasure watching the pilot again, to see where all the seeds were planted for upcoming plot developments. The way Ben McKenzie’s rookie character is initally so polite and deferential that his fellow cops think he must be from Canada. The way C. Thomas Howell’s Billy is such a fascinating d—wad right from the start. The way Regina King’s Det. Adams maintains a mask of objectivity while zeroing in on the sources of the terrible crimes she witnesses or tries to prevent.

Most of all, I noticed how creator Ann Biderman and her writers and directors shaped the show to slowly reveal surprising details about many regular characters, and laid the foundation for what was clearly meant to be a drama in the tradition of Hill Street Blues and ER — that is, fine NBC dramas. Before NBC squandered that tradition and cancelled it.

Starting Mar. 2, TNT will begin airing six new episodes.

Will you be watching?

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  • Elizabeth

    I watched the original run on NBC, but did not watch last night. Had I known it had some extra footage, I might have. I totally agree with your assessment – I love the characters unfolding. Then again, I’m a sucker for a true character study. Can’t wait to see the new episodes.

    • singlesugardaddies

      Good acting.

  • Cooper

    Flip YES I’ll be watching. I’m thrilled TNT had the stones to pick up this show and really run with it. I’ve seen the (fantastic) promo everywhere lately. LOTS more than NBC ever did to encourage viewership. I can’t wait to see the unaired episodes we’ve heard so much about.

    • Dug

      Count me in with the “Hells Yeah” I’m watching this great show! It’s been a while since I first saw the pilot that I wasn’t sure where the new fottage was, but after you mentioned them, I agree that although subtle, they definitely added depth and color to the complex characters introduced to us. Thanks to TNT for living up to their motto: “They know Drama”… I’ll be watching the return of Leverage on TNT tonight!

  • Stephanie Tanner

    Southland is awesome, just get rid of the boring detectives, focus on the cops. NBC blew it with this one, it, along with 30 Rock could have been the cornerstone of a new ‘must see tv’. Oh well, these idiots put Good Morning Miami on the air so you never know.

    • Housewife in AZ

      I actually love the “boring detectives” Stephanie…the street cops are the “pizazz” of the show, but the detectives are the meat and potatoes, what makes it tick…give the entire show and all its characters more time, Steph – if we just watched “the doctors” on ER, we would’ve never gave a crap about a lot of amazing characters…you know what I mean?

  • tvgirl48

    I didn’t watch it on NBC because I just wasn’t interested in another procedural. But after all the drama of its cancellation and resurrection, I decided to give it a shot. TNT deemed it worthy of saving so why not? It was pretty good. I like darker shows so I liked its edge. I’ll give it a few more episodes to see how things go. If the characters are well developed and the storylines compelling, I will definitely watch full time.

    • Nicotine

      Please do give a try because it really is a good show. Another in the long line of potentially great shows that NBC gave up on after 1 season or less. I bet NBC is licking their wounds now that this whole Leno/Conan debacle will open up a fresh time slot that Southland would thoroughly fit in. I can’t wait for the new episodes to begin.

  • Mells

    I had never seen the show on NBC but had meant to. I watched it last night on TNT and have added it to my DVR. Seems like a good show I am glad they resurrected it.

  • DW

    I’m going to watch the new episodes, but am not particularly interested in rewatching the ones I’ve already seen. Even so, I hope this show does well on TNT!

  • M A Weyer

    Boy, NBC must be feeling soooo smart about canning this show now that they have five hours of prime time to fill.

    • PMD


    • EWsMom

      Not really, considering this episode got a miserable 0.7 in the demo.

      Granted it was a repeat…but that’s just pathetic.
      (and what was their competition last night @ 10pm…Jay Leno? LOL)

      • Michal

        I don’t think the ratings is bad. This episode has aired twice already on NBC, was available on hulu, and the DVD for the entire (un-bleeped) season was available since January so a lot of people had already seen it. In addition; they had a repeat as a lead in, but still manged to build on that lead in (from 1.6 to almost 2 million).

        The real test of the show would be with the new/un-aired S2 episodes.

  • Candice

    Last night was my first time seeing Southland! Me Likey!! :-)

  • Patrick


  • nicole


  • petuniafromhell

    I’m so happy Southland is back! I didn’t see the entire first season so i’ll be watching it from the beginning! NBC can suck it!

  • Francisco

    Glad this series has a network that respects and appreciates it. I can’t wait for the new episodes but will enjoy the reruns until they air!

  • Val

    I watched only because I knew Ben in high school, and I like to keep tabs on his projects. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the show, and I plan to watch it every week. Good work, TNT, on picking this up.

  • emrides

    Just caught this show last night, totally dug it. Vet cop’s speech to the rookie after he took down a bad guy was a CLASSIC.

  • Big D

    I should have watched this instead of getting sucked into American Idol – for the first time ever. I will have to correct this through a re-airing or On Demand.

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