Southland: A Decent Premiere; Keep It or Cancel It?

SouthlandLast week, NBC and 16 million viewers said goodbye to the venerable medical drama, ER. This week, the network debuted a new show co-produced by ER’s John Wells. So, how did Southland stack up?

Southland is police drama that’s billed as a raw and authentic look at Los Angeles as seen through the eyes of the men and women of the LAPD. In the pilot, we meet John Cooper (Standoff’s Michael Cudlitz), a seasoned and no-nonsense cop who’s assigned to guide a young rookie named Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie from The O.C.). Others in the cast include Regina King (Leap of Faith), Tom Everett Scott (Grace Under Fire), Michael McGrady (Day Break), Kevin Alejandro (Shark), Shawn Hatosy (Felicity), and Arija Bareikis (Crossing Jordan).

NBC certainly needs a hit and hasn’t had much luck lately with the likes of Kings and The Chopping Block. It appears however that the peacock network may have some success with Southland. There are plenty of crime dramas on television right now but not many take the “gritty” approach. Critical reception for the show has been positive overall and viewers seem to agree.

Is Southland worth watching?

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Last night’s premiere attracted 9.72 million viewers with a 3.2/9 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic. Southland was in second place for total viewers in the timeslot (behind CBS’ Harper’s Island) and drew almost three million more than its lead-in, 30 Rock. More importantly, the cop drama was first in the all-important demo.

While the number of viewers of many new dramas have been declining in their second half hour, Southland actually grew by over half a million. That’s a good indication that viewers will return next week and may even bring a friend or two.

Southland also looks pretty good when compared with former timeslot occupant ER. It outperformed most of the medical drama’s final season in total viewers and essentially matched it in the demographic.

Though NBC was surely hoping for better, these ratings are certainly a positive sign. The struggling peacock network could certainly use it. So, what do you think? Is it a keeper or headed for cancellation? If you tuned in, will you return next week?

Canceled and renewed TV show

43 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Phyllis Burbridge says

    I am not sure about the series yet. Will watch again this week. It moves slow for me with not much of a story line. It was good but not great. Don’t really care for the way the series is set up. It goes from one thing to another, not any true connection to anyone or closure on things that happen such as the policeman getting shot because the criminal wasn’t searched due to the shot cops decision. Then what no real closure. The rookie cop didn’t even get upset about it.

  2. justiceforall says

    John Wells is clearly out of his element here with this contrived racist Cop Drama.

    His caucasian mostly male dominating police force, breaks down doors in the seedy, dangerous oh so spooky neighborhoods, of Los Angeles with no Latin cops or Male Black officers anywhere. Its not only ridiculous but a slap in the face to all hispanic and black officers in the LAPD and if it wasn’t so offensive its almost laughable!

    The OTHERNESS created by this Southland on NBC is evident throughout. From the opening gang scene, to the interview with the black teenage girls who witnessed the shooting, to the angry large mad black woman who comes and picks them up and yells out (statements from the white writers no doubt) “These kids are shooting each other because they are wearing the wrong color or ARE the wrong color?? as the officers sheepishly answer “Yes Mam they are”…who the hell wrote this racist contrived crap!

    We cannot allow this Systemic Instituional racist mindset disquised as a glossy hollywood cop drama to exist. They fuel hate and instil fear toward the poor working class. Especially when the lead character calls patrolling these neighborhoods like cruising a sewer on a glass bottom boat.
    Shows like these that blatantly reinforce stereotypes are an injustice not only to Blacks and Hispanics but to Humanity.

  3. Carol says

    Southland is terrific….fast moving plot, engaging characters…reminded me of “Hill Street Blues” and “LAPD Blue.” Can’t wait for Thursday!

  4. AGM says

    I thought it was very good. Had the high quality and reminded me of the late-lamented NBC show “Boomtown”–also LA cops with unusual perspective. Definitely watching again.

  5. Tabby says

    I thought the show was good, if not great. It made me want more and that’s not an every day thing. Pilot episodes are usually hard to do. You have to set up so much of a back story and still fit in the new/current events. I felt the show was lacking just a little because it was trying to cram all of this in. Give it another episode or two and I think it will flow nicely. I didn’t watch the premier the night it aired. (I taped it on my DVR) However, I plan on watching future episodes the night they’re on! :)

  6. Richard says

    Saw it thursday nite and watched it again on CTV in Canada sat nite. Its going to be a winner. Love the gritty fast paced acting ,editing and role of the camera as an agitated participant . As a cop told me once” its the only job you would ever have were you have to wash your hands before you go to the bathroom” the pilot of Southland showed that reality.Looking forward to more!

  7. Jack says

    God, I thought it was fantastic. I was surprised that it was airing on a major network–arty, interesting, raw, and beautifully photographed. I hope NBC hangs onto this one.

  8. Laura says

    I have something to say that southland is a good show but some people don’t understand the show very much. To Me its not the same is the TV show ER and i just wish ER makes a movie for TV only Or on the big screen and dvd and VHS. I will be watching Southland more to see the guy who guest star in ER Tom Everett Scott. Southland is an ok show but I just wish John Wells made a show thats more Medicial like the TV Show ER.

  9. lisa says

    I thought this show was good. I was surprised my boyfriend actually watched this with me, and decided that he’ll continue to watch.

  10. Mingua says

    i thought that it was a very good show. I think that it will catch on, or atleast i hope so. the way shows have gone at NBC, i don’t get my hopes up to much about them anymore. I like the times slot that it is in, the problem that i see is all the shifting around of shows anymore. i think, and i am not an expert on time slots and ratings and what not, but if they could just start it out in a time slot and leave it there, people wouldn’t be so confused as to when it is on. we alread know that if it makes it some time, that it will have to change time slot for the new jay leno show. So i hope they find a home for it, and it makes it. it is a really good show, and i feel they are finally, after so many years, they are on to something.

  11. bruce says

    I watched it, and it was pretty good…the problem is, it’s like 20 other cop shows that have come before it-the new rookie is from a rich family and doesnt want anyone to know, and other oft used plot devices. Also, as someone who has lived in LA all my life, I can tell you that, if you work North Hollywood division you won’t be running calls at 116th and something. Whats the matter, the valley not “Ghetto” enough for a cop show? There’s pacoima, you know…..

    Also, this does show LA, and LAPD, pretty much like it is. I don’t think it will catch on nationally, because people from LA wont want to watch it, and people in South Dakota, won’t get it. But it was OK.

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