Originally published on TelevisionWithoutPity.com
This week, we honor the bravery of our founding fathers who, over two centuries ago, fought a war against an empire so that we could have the freedoms we enjoy today. And what better way to celebrate American exceptionalism then by watching a made-for-TV movie about aliens? Syfy is airing its latest flick, Independence Daysaster, starring Tom Everett Scott on June 27. Scott’s character, Sam, must defend the planet from invading extraterrestrials along with a team of “rogue scientists.” Scott, as you may well remember, played Detective Russell Clarke on Southland, the guy who was kicked off the force for selling pictures of a celebrity crime scene. Independence Daysasterlooks like quite a step down from the critically-acclaimed Southland — though who knows, maybe this alien flick will reinvigorate the entire genre. Whatever the case, this momentous occasion provides a great opportunity for us to take a look back at Southland, which was just cancelled in May after its fifth season finale.
There are dozens of cop shows out there. None of them are as good as Southland was at its best (that’s right, this post contains bold declarative statements). Shaky-cam filmmaking and descriptors like “gritty crime drama” have become pretty ubiquitous as of late, but Southland was more than just a tough look at the LAPD and the criminals it works to put away. The show had some truly awesome acting, morally complex plotlines that made the audience question even their favorite characters, and a finale that I’m still thinking about (for reasons both good and bad). Let’s go over the reasons why the show was so exceptional — which are, conversely, the reasons why it never found a huge audience, and was inevitably taken off the air. (And for the record, massive budget cuts along the way, and a switch from NBC to TNT after its first season didn’t help Southland‘s longevity, to say the least.)
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