That Ray Romano, boy, I tell ya. He knows a good thing when he sees it … and by “it,” I mean “me.”
As you may recall, I sprinkled upon Ray’s “Men of a Certain Age” series premiere a wee bit o’ my special Daddy Scratches magic-pixie dust, and BOOM! Next thing you know, the show is a success, and Ray’s all “Well hello, season two!”
You’re welcome, Ray.
Anyway, it seems Ray was chatting me up to “SouthLAnd” star Michael Cudlitz … a conversation I’m pretty sure went a little something like this:
So, Michael, I hear TNT saved your “Southland” series from NBC’s guillotine of stupidity.
Yeah, that’s about the size of it. Hey, by the way, Ray, I’ve been meaning to tell you: I love you, man.
Have you been drinking?
No, man, I’m just sayin’: I love you. Seriously. And so does my family. My neighbors, too. You know, come to think of it, pretty much everybody loves you.
Yeah, I get that a lot. So anyway … about your show?
What about it?
Well, if you really want to get it off the ground, I got this guy you should hook up with.
Scratches. Daddy Scratches.
Sounds like a meth dealer.
Oh, he’s a dealer, alright … but not of drugs, my friend. No, no: He’s a dealer of ratings. One namecheck from this dude, Michael, and you and your “SouthLAnd” amigos are lookin’ at smooth sailing. We’re talkin’ seven seasons, syndication deal … the whole nine.
Guy sounds pretty powerful. He’s in Hollywood?
Nope. Works out of his house back east.
Yer shittin’ me.
Zero shit, my friend. Guy’s, like, some kind of geeked-out hermit blogger. But I’m tellin’ you: One little mention from this guy, and you and your boys are lookin’ at a multi-season pick-up, no question.
Wow. Well, thanks for the tip, Ray. And, seriously: I love you, man.
Yeah, yeah, enough with that already.
I’m betting that’s pretty much how it went. And that’s why Cudlitz presumably went to YouCast, the company promoting the show, and had them send me a sneak preview of the season-two premiere of “Southland,” which airs tonight (3/2) on TNT.
Now, here’s the deal: I get sent marketing pitches all the time … with even greater frequency since attending Mom 2.0. To date, I have written exactly one thing on this site as the result of a marketing pitch: my aforementioned “Men of a Certain Age” piece. Basically, it’s nothing I’d want to make a habit out of … but the fact of the matter is, I had been meaning to write about “Southland” for months, dating back to when, after watching — and thoroughly enjoying — the show’s first season, I learned that NBC was pulling the plug on yet another high-quality series.
For some reason, Wonder Woman and I have a tendency to latch onto shows that get spiked after a single season. I generally loathe television, but occasionally, a show comes along that demonstrates some true creativity and intelligence and is written with a certain degree of restraint and subtlety and nuance … you know, the antithesis of shit like “The Bachelor” and “Jersey Shore.” And, sadly, my research has revealed a strong correlation between the degree to which a new television show is aimed over the heads of mouth breathers and the likelihood that said show will be canceled.
So imagine my dismay when “SouthLAnd” got bumped in order for Jay “I Am An Enormous Douche Canoe” Leno to launch his doomed-to-fail-from-conception 10 p.m. variety show, a.k.a. “Prelude to a Backstabbing: How I Royally Screwed Conan O’Brien.”
And then, imagine my delight when I learned that TNT had rescued this totally kick-ass series.
My take on “SouthLAnd”: It’s a great show with a long story arc and thoughtful character development that requires a viewership whose attention span is longer than that possessed by the average crack-smoking hummingbird. If you’re willing to have a little patience, you’ll be rewarded for staying with it.
My favorite show of all time is “N.Y.P.D. Blue.” I won’t be so bold as to say that this still-in-its-infancy show is on par with that legendary program, but I will say that “Southland” is the best cop show I’ve seen since “Blue” left the airwaves, and that Cudlitz’s John Cooper has the potential to become the most interesting, multidimensional, hard-boiled-cop character on TV since Sipowicz, and that the actors in general are the best ensemble cast I’ve watched since “The West Wing” bowed out.
Needless to say, I’m psyched it’s back, and I highly recommend you watch tonight’s season premiere. (And, no, I wasn’t paid to say that; I was sent a memory stick with a 15-minute season-two sneak preview on it. Nothing less, nothing more. Which begs one to wonder just how spectacular an ass-lathering I’d have given the show if they threw in, say, some hot-buttered popcorn. Something for you marketers to consider.)
You can find more info on “SouthLAnd,” including full episodes from Season 1, here.
UPDATE: See? I told you Cudlitz knows I’ve got his back: