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Spectrum’s First Original Show, “L.A.’s Finest” Is Out of Touch and “Tonally Disastrous”

Phillip Dampier May 16, 2019 Charter Spectrum, Consumer News, Editorial & Site News, Online Video, Video No Comments

Spectrum TV subscribers are the only ones in the country that can watch Charter Communications’ first original Spectrum-exclusive production, “L.A.’s Finest,” available only on demand, on a channel somewhere in the thousands, if you or anyone else can find it.

A Variety review suggests a search to find the hour-long drama isn’t worth the effort:

“L.A.’s Finest” isn’t just a cop show. It’s a gambit — a bet placed by cable provider Spectrum that by providing not just access to HBO and HGTV but original programming of its own, it’ll stand out. The series, a Jerry Bruckheimer production set within the universe of his “Bad Boys” film franchise, is the beginning of a stream of on-demand Spectrum Originals programming that will also include, eventually, a comeback for “Mad About You.”

The idea of providing some added value to subscribers through original programming is a reasonable enough one (why not get in a game with so many players already?). But this particular show seems ill-suited to its format: Meant to live on an on-demand platform, this drama seems oddly unlikely to have been specifically demanded by anyone at all. A tonally disastrous half-comedy, half-melodrama about policing that draws in cartel politics and family angst, “L.A.’s Finest” seems designed to be vaguely, generically acceptable to have on in the background — which makes it a strange choice as the launching point for a set of programs that would seem to require viewers affirmatively choosing to tune in.

As cord-cutting grows epidemic, cable companies are looking for ways to keep you hooked to your cable TV package, and after watching Netflix and Hulu produce original series, why can’t cable companies do it too? Charter’s first original production stars Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba as two female cops that sometimes take matters into their own hands in the cause of justice, while balancing family and relationships. Sometimes a drama, sometimes a comedy, the show feels like a network series reject from 20 years ago. It’s not the traditional police procedural that de-emphasizes the home life and character development of its stars, a-la Law & Order. Instead, it occasionally reminds viewers of the interwoven drama of NYPD Blue, a series now long gone.

Spectrum’s effort rubs against the grain in another way: although offering the first three episodes for immediate viewing, future episodes will be rationed out a little at a time, defeating today’s streaming reality of binge watching. The next two episodes are due May 20. Spreading out the nine episodes of season one could be a dangerous idea for a mediocre show that will require viewers to come back again and again to catch up. Many won’t. Others may never find the show in the first place, lost in cable TV Channel Siberia. Your best bet is to find the On Demand channel on your Spectrum lineup and it probably will be there. If you fall in love with the show, bookmark its streaming home page. You will get regular updates about future episodes.

If you do not have a Spectrum TV subscription, tough luck — no L.A.’s Finest for you. But considering the caliber of Spectrum’s first foray into original productions, that probably is not much of a loss.

A trailer for Spectrum TV’s original production, L.A.’s Finest. (1:48)







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