Saturday, February 5, 2011

What has happened to Southland?

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(Spoiler alert:  if you haven't watched episode 4 of the current season of Southland and you plan to, then don't read this.) 

Things should be going well in the Land of South. Sammy's horrible, annoying, nerve-grating wife is finally getting the heave-ho, and, given Sal's lesser role this season, his shrieking daughter Kimmy has been thankfully MIA. (Brad and I have long wished for violence to befall both of these characters). Add that to the infrequent appearance of the idiot Dewey in recent episodes, and season 3 sounds like it's got the makings of magic. 

But it sucks. 

The episodes have lost their tightness, the interconnectedness of the various strands. The gritty violence took a leave of absence, while the surprising humor of episodes like "See the Woman" (John and Ben in the wig shop; the missing Bentley with the Great Dane) can be found only in the occasional side comment by John. One week's action seems pretty interchangeable with the next's. And now, a television travesty has occured:  Det. Nate Moretta has been killed out of nowhere

Not only is actor Kevin Alejandro gorgeously gorgeous, but his character Nate was also likeable, realistic, and interesting. He was someone you actually wanted to watch. And I don't care whether his sudden death was super "real," etc.:  the simple fact is that the show cannot afford to lose him right now. This season, Lydia is the only redeeming aspect of the series. Her new partner Ochoa is irritating and uninteresting; John and Ben have been bickering like old women at a card game; and, as Greg over at says, it was Nate who made Sammy's character work. With Sal and Chickie thrust into "recurring" rather than regular roles, the show doesn't have much to work with. Please don't tell me that Lydia's gonna start hating her job and go to med school; I don't know if I could bear it. 

I can't believe I'm saying it, but I long for the time when, two or three days after watching an episode, we were driving down the highway and in a momentary lull in some unrelated conversation, Brad exclaims, "F***ing Kimmy! Every time she leaves the house she gets in trouble!" The show was that memorable and intense. 

Since I should, instead of watching tv, be doing my loads of work, I ought to take the show's current crappiness as a sign to watch less tv. Instead, I'm thinking Nate's death is just another reason we need to start watching True Blood. I could get used to Kevin Alejandro as a hunky witch.

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