TNT has ordered a fifth season of “Southland.”
The John Wells-produced cop drama will return in February of 2013 with a 10-episode season. Wells had reportedly been seeking a 13-episode order for the show, which has been a rare example of a canceled show being picked up by another network. “Southland” debuted on NBC in the spring of 2009, and was renewed for the following season despite low ratings. Then NBC executives decided they didn’t agree with Wells’ vision for the show and pulled the plug after six episodes had been shot, but before any had aired. TNT picked up those six as a low-cost flyer, and have kept the show going ever since on a reduced budget that’s eliminated all but four regular castmembers: Michael Cudlitz, Regina King, Shaw Hatosy and Ben McKenzie.
I’ve by and large enjoyed the two TNT-produced seasons much more than the NBC version of the show. It’s an instance where cutting costs actually helped the series by forcing Wells and company to tighten their focus. Of course, many of the best moments in the fourth season came courtesy of Cudlitz and recurring guest star Lucy Liu, who’s gone on to star in CBS’ contemporary Sherlock Holmes pilot “Elementary,” which seems a good bet to be on the fall schedule. (And her character was already written out at the end of season 4.)
Good news that the show gets to keep going, though.