The Return of Old Friends (and they’re not all cops)

Posted Jan 5 2012, 7:00 am in , , , , , , , , ,

Ahh…now that the holidays are over, we get back to the important stuff: good TV. 🙂 Of course, many of our regular shows will pop up with new episodes (I’m looking at you, Castle). But for me, I also look forward to the  return of some favorite mid-season shows.

First up, Southland. I really thought this show had gotten canceled. It started out on network TV and was cut. Then TNT picked it up. In case you’ve never seen it, the show’s about LA cops (big surprise, right?). What makes this show unique is that it isn’t about one department or division solving a big crime each week. It follows a few detectives and a few uniformed cops. We get snippets of their personal lives, but because it’s such a big cast of characters to follow, you don’t spend a lot of time with any one character. Mostly, we get to see what being a cop does to these people. We see them doing the boring parts of the job as well as the exciting parts. While I do watch this show every week, and I look forward to its return, I can’t say I’m excited. Kind of like when an old friend is coming to visit; you’re happy to see him, but you don’t get all hot and bothered over it.

Now, Justified, on the other hand, really heats things up. The show is based on an Elmore Leonard story, so you know its roots are solid. Raylan Givens (played by the very sexy Timothy Olyphant) is a U.S. Marshall with a hot temper. He has a habit of shooting people who come up against him. Every shooting, though, turns out to be justifiable, hence the name of the show. During season 1, Raylan was transferred

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back to Kentucky where he grew up. He has strong ties (not necessarily good ones) to Harlan County. The cast of characters is diverse and real, but it is Raylan who brings me back each week. He’s a damaged hero, but you don’t know that right away. He seems pretty put together on the outside, but his ex-wife pointed out, “You’re one of the angriest men I know.” And it’s true. That anger pops out and although he doesn’t turn into a raving lunatic, you see it in his eyes. Not a man I’d want to cross. Putting all that aside, the plot lines are drawn from real life. Real people trying to survive in small towns in a crappy economy — drugs, gangs, and coal mining.

The show that I am really excited about is Shameless. This is another show that we Americans stole from the Brits. I’ve only caught part of one episode of the British version, so I can’t say whether it’s any good. I am totally in love with the American version, though. I love this show for so many reasons: 1. It takes place in Chicago (who doesn’t like to see their hometown on TV?) and the producers do it right., 2. It’s about the Gallaghers, a large Irish family (you remember my post on Blue Bloods?), and 3. The family is so real, yet unique and damaged that you want to see what will happen.

William H. Macy plays Frank, the good-for-nothing drunk father. Mom took off a long time ago, leaving eldest child, Fiona in charge. Fiona is in her early twenties and she’s become mom to this group, at the expense of her own life. Lip (Philip) comes next in line. He’s a genius, but doesn’t even seriously consider furthering his education to make life better, mostly because he has no role models to look to. Ian is next. He’s ROTC and gay. He hides being gay because a white Irish boy on the south side of Chicago isn’t supposed to be that way. Debbie wants a normal family; Carl is a serial killer in training; and Liam is a biracial baby. What I love most about this family is that they’re not just dysfunctional. They are a hot stinking mess, but they have great coping skills. They make life work. Every time it looks like something will finally go their way, it seeps from their grasp (usually because of something Frank does).

This season the episodes are all supposed to take place over the summer, which should make things even more interesting. Last year it was winter in Chicago and the kids had school. Winter in Chicago is pretty yucky, but summertime is great. Plus, the episodes are going to air while it really is winter here. I can’t wait.

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What returning shows are you most looking forward to?



7 responses to “The Return of Old Friends (and they’re not all cops)”

  1. I LOVE Raylan and Justified. We’re anxiously awaiting it’s return. Not to mention, I have a tiny crush on Boyd Crowder. I was thrilled this holiday season to see Walton Groggins in three different movies – Aliens & Cowboys, Straw Dogs, and Predators. It seems, perhaps, that Justified is opening the door for him just a bit….

    I’ve never been able to get into Southland. It’s jumped networks a few times and doesn’t seem to have much consistancy as far as programming, IMO. I saw Lucy Lui is joining the cast, so maybe we’ll give it yet another try.

    I’m also really looking forward to the return of Califnornication this Sunday night….I love Hank Moody.

    • I watched Californication the first season, but I like Hank Moody as a character, but I didn’t like the way he treated the people around him. I haven’t gone back to watch because it moved lower and lower on my priority list. I just didn’t love it enough

  2. Debra Kristi says:

    I don’t watch Southland so I can’t really chime in about that, but t.h.a.n.k….y.o.u! Loving the picture of my Raylan. That’s right, mine, mine, mine. LOL Big fan of Justified and looking forward to its return to television. Yay!

  3. Leonie Lucas says:

    Well, over on the other side of the pond, I am looking at the amazing Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing pick for the lead role. Stephen Moffat has worked his magic and created a version of Sherlock Holmes that somehow is totally modern and yet completely inkeeping with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books.
    As for Justified, well normally I wouldn’t like a hero like Raylan but Timothy Oliphant’s portrayal is just so charismatic that I can’t stay away. I can honestly say I don’t know if the setting is true but I can say that the characters are gritty and real to me. Plus, you know, Timothy Oliphant is just plain yummy. 🙂

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