Category: MDP On TV

I can’t remember who recommended this – I think it was one of my Twitter TV buddies. Whoever it was … thank you!! It was quite regularly a confronting series, filled with characters who teetered on the edge of being quite unlikeable – but not quite. This, of course, is just the way I love them cooked!

Here’s the wiki blurb:

Southland takes a “raw and authentic look” at Los Angeles and the lives of the LAPD officers who police it. The show’s first season centers on the experiences and interactions of LAPD patrol officers and detectives, and is more a character-driven drama than a police procedural.[14][15]

Among the characters are rookie Officer Ben Sherman and his training officer, John Cooper who, unknown to most of his colleagues, is homosexual; Detective Lydia Adams, who must balance work with the responsibility of living with her mother; Officer Chickie Brown, who aspires to be the first woman on the LAPD’s elite SWAT team; and Detective Sammy Bryant, whose home life interferes with his working life.

Aside from the outstanding casting, the script was full of energy. It was a very visceral show that tied my stomach in knots.   Earlier in the year, I stayed in the general area where the series was filmed and that added a whole other dimension of meaning for me. I’d love to know how someone who actually lives in South LA, found the show.

Favourite characters were (Regina King as) Lydia Adams and (Arija Bareikis) as Chickie Brown; both strong, survivors in a violent and largely masculine world. Michael Kudlitz as John Cooper was a tour de force as the tough gay officer, and Ben Mckenzie (as Ben Sherman) and Shawn Hatosy (as Sammy Bryant) absolutely nailed their parts. Though wonderful, it was hard for me to truly love any of the male characters – there was too much underlying brutality about them. That did not lessen my enjoyment of the show though.

The final series was a poignant depiction of Sherman’s declining morality and Cooper’s growth and self realisation. I was sad to see it end in a bittersweet kind of way.

Thumbs up for the filmic style, acting, casting and writing.

 

Among a plethora of great contemporary TV shows Scott and Bailey is one of the best. A brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT cop show about two female detectives and their female boss.

As I mentioned in a previous post, some criticism has been levelled at the show for portraying the male characters as either useless or devious. Although I can see why some viewers might react that way, it seems to me that all the characters are shown to be flawed and that female leads are no exception. Rachel (Suranne Jones) is prickly and defensive and inclined to be self destructive with booze. Janet (Lesley Sharp) is compassionate and reasonable but bored with her husband who she takes for granted and ultimately cheats on. Jill (Amelia Bullemore) is a tough, unsympathetic, no-nonsense but brilliant detective. The three women experience their highs and lows together and have their true selves exposed in moments of great weakness. What makes them appealing is the strength of their friendships and their ability to forgive and support each other. In Scott and Bailey, a spade is most definitely called a spade.

The Daily Telegraph describes the show as “a beautifully engineered programme: it’s both pleasingly sudsy and deliciously grisly, but manages to transcend both the soap and detective genres.”

I’ve found it so much more realistic, funny, interesting and engaging than many of the shallow, formulaic cop shows being churned out. We’re still waiting for series 3 here in Australia, and I’ve had to join the Scott and Bailey Twitter fans to keep up with the news – @S&BTV

The theme music is the bomb! Check it out below.

You have to work a little bit harder at Treme; the characters take time to get know, the story is kinda slow and the music is Southern jazz past and present – not to everyone’s taste. By the second season though, I’ve become rather enamoured with the rythm of the show and its insight into post-Katrina New Orleans.

Wiki says that the showrunners employed as much local talent as they could and it all goes towards a feeling of great authenticity. I can’t think of any other series I’ve seen, which has lingered so lovingly over music and tradition, devoting many precious minutes to exploring and savouring it. Time that would normally be spent on action, plot or character development.

In fact, sometimes it doesn’t seem that Treme really knows where it is going narratively at all. But as a snapshot, a peephole, and voyeur’s view of this great city, it is sublime. As a portrayal of the human need for sense of place and belonging, it is poignant.

 I’ve watched a lot of terrific TV series the last twelve months or so, but the echoes of Treme have been the most powerful. I think about the show when I go to sleep. I think about it when I wake up.

The acting is so good, I actually couldn’t watch most of John Goodman’s segments. His tortured soul is raw and exposed from the beginning and I found them too painful. On the other hand, I couldn’t get enough of Kim Dicken’s (Friday Night Lights) as Jeanne Desautel, the chef. Her rendition of Iko Iko (see below) being one of my most favourite scenes in a TV series ever. Why? It’s so honest and silly and a celebration of the place she loves. It is so real.

There are many other amazing performances though, not the least of those being Wendell Pierce (The Wire) as Antoine Batiste, Clarke Peters (The Wire) as Big Chief Lambreaux, and Steve Zahn (Sahara, Daddy Day Care) as Davis McAlary.

Treme is entertaining, thought provoking and educational – something few series can wrap into one package while still capturing an audience. And of course, all I want to do now is got to New Orleans.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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