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TV Guy: The violent burlesque of TV cop series

Kevin McDonough
L.A.'s Finest" returns for a second season. {Photo provided]

"L.A.'s Finest" returns for a second season. A variation on producer Jerry Bruckheimer's "Bad Boys" buddy-cop franchise but cast with two beautiful women (Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba), it can be seen by Spectrum subscribers and is the most popular feature for Spectrum On Demand.

Look for a mix of machine guns and macho swagger, numerous explosions, jokey exchanges between curvaceous officers and predictable, formulaic dialogue. "What do you want?" ... "I'll settle for justice."

"Finest" arrives at an interesting moment as protesters flood the streets of America's cities to protest police violence.

George Floyd's death in Minneapolis may have sparked the latest outrage, but it reflects a fear that too many citizens are subject to brutalization by a police presence that no longer seems like the cop on the beat, but an occupying military force.

These very real concerns are amplified by an entertainment culture that presents law enforcement as a violent burlesque. "L.A.'s Finest" is no better or worse than the fare lapped up on CBS, where nearly every episode of "FBI" and its spin-off presents urban areas consumed by terror and where the paramilitary gunfire of "SEAL Team" is little different than the domestic doings on "S.W.A.T."

A steady diet of such entertainments offers a distorted view of American society that dovetails with the unceasing cable news drumbeat that argues that "things have never been worse." In fact, violent crime is dramatically down because our population is older, more law-abiding and docile compared to generations past.

Our news and entertainment offer a peculiar split screen. People in the streets protest police abuse while audiences consume shows where a martial law mentality has become the norm. Perhaps it's time we turn down the volume and change the channel lest we become bludgeoned, bamboozled and Bruckheimered into fascism.

• COVID hasn't stopped recycling. In fact, it encourages creative composting. While our quarantined world puts a halt to new series production, ABC roots around in its vaults to cobble together "The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever!" (8 p.m., TV-PG). This glance back at seasons past is not a one-time special, but a 10-episode retrospective.

Look for stalwart host Chris Harrison to be standing solo in the driveway of the "Bachelor mansion," a place that's seen more coming and going than a popular Airbnb. He and his crew will be practicing safe social distancing, so look for plenty of old clips and Zoomlike remote calls with some of your favorites, sweethearts and heavies, schemers, dreamers and might-have-beens. One of the most consistent things about showcases like this is that if you make an impression on viewers, you will probably be invited back for another season. Only this time, the returns will be virtual.

TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

• Dwayne Johnson hosts "The Titan Games" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

• Waves leave disaster in their wake on "9-1-1" (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).

• A case inspires Lola to explore the virtual world on "All Rise" (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

• A brawl lays bare a male strip club's underworld on "9-1-1: Lone Star" (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).

LATE NIGHT

Former vice president and presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden is booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS, r) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes John Oliver, Spike Lee and Benee featuring Gus Dapperton on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... JJ Watt visits "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC).

kevin.TVguy@gmail.com