SouthlandSo, the other day I was telling you guys about my troubling decision about whether or not I wanted to jump onto two new TV shows, both premiering this past Thursday at the same time, Southland and Harper’s Island.  Luckily, both of the Thursday shows I already watch, Supernatural and Smallville, will be ending their seasons in May, so I won’t feel like I have so much to watch, but both of these shows will still be at the same time.

I watched Southland and Harper’s Island today.  See my thoughts on the premiere episodes after the jump!

The last time I got into a cop show was High Incident.  It had Cole Hauser, David Keith (not Keith David) and Blair Underwood and I think the polish and the pacing of the show drew me in.  I never got into NYPD Blue, or any of the hundreds of cop shows that have premiered before and since.  But High Incident felt different, at least to me.  It had bad cops, sure, but it was mostly about human cops trying to do good, sometimes failing, but ultimately, they weren’t just bad people sleeping with each other, abusing criminals, or breaking the law.

SouthlandI have a feeling Southland will be a lot like that, based on the first episode.  SPOILER: Just like High Incident, the most famous person in the episode (in this case, C. Thomas Howell) gets shot. END SPOILER His character is deplorable and you can’t help but feel like he deserved it, which is something I didn’t like, really.  But the main character, played by Ben McKenzie from The O.C., has the kind of reactions to his fellow officers that we do.  For the most part, it’s stunned silence at the way things operate.  When he sees sexual harassment going on, he actually tries to stop it and the female officer being harassed stops him.  I thought that was probably the most important scene of the show.

I really dug Southland, and will continue to watch it.  It’s violent, and the profanity is probably as bad as an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s also got heart to it, and the characters are actually interesting.  It has a couple of the usual cop show cliches (after so many cop shows, they’re practically unavoidable), but I found the characters to be complex, and I wanted to know more about them.  Going back to the profanity, it appears as if they shot the episodes knowing words were going to be bleeped out – I don’t think they ever said “f*ck” on The Shield, but it’s said multiple times here.

Remember, you can watch the first episode of Southland at the official site.  I know it’s not the genre we talk about commonly here on IoM, but it’s a show that is definitely worth your time!

Harper's IslandNow, on the other end of the dial (if you don’t know what a dial is, you’re too young to read this site) was Harper’s Island, which originally advertised itself as a thirteen episode slasher movie, but is now promoting itself as a new Agatha Christie-type murder mystery.  What I find funny about this show is that so many people are realizing…”holy crap…when was the last time I watched anything on CBS?”, myself included.  I’d say the change in the way the show advertised itself was a good thing – while the “kills” (there are two in the first episode) are of the slasher variety, the show feels more like a mystery than a slasher.

A wedding party goes to the titular island to prep for a young couple’s (Katie Cassidy and Christopher Gorham) upcoming nuptials.  The lead character of the show (or “survivor girl” for us slasher film fans) is Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy), who’s mother was murdered on the island years before during a mass murder, the bodies of the victims hung from trees.  Her father (Jim Beaver) is now the Sherriff, and there are a lot of people she hasn’t talked to since she left town that have hard feelings towards her.  Still, she comes back because her best bud is getting married.  The wedding party contains tons of familiar faces, Richard Burgi (Hostel 2), Cameron Richardson (Rise: Blood Hunter), and Harry Hamlin, to name a few.  The red herrings are there – someone in the wedding party is definitely a killer, and it could be any one of them.

I know the series is 13 episodes, but I hope the pace quickens a little bit in later episodes – the first episode dragged a bit, and despite having a good looking lead actress, I had a hard time finding some of the story interesting.  Again, it might just be my preconceived notions – I was looking for a slasher film on TV, they’re doing a murder mystery.  And, well, it’s CBS.  I’ll give it another episode, the first episode was good enough to warrant that, but unless the pace quickens and the storyline gets a little more interesting, I’ll have a hard time keeping up with this one till the end.

So it’s pretty obvious who won the Battle of Thursday night at 10PM:


Although, apparently another new shows called The Unusuals started too.  Jeez…there are 7 days in a week…why Thursday at 10?!?!?!??!