During my Christmas vacation, I as I usually do, hit up some Half Price Books, and came away with some great deals on books, cds, and movies. I ended up finding seasons 3 and 4 of The Shield. The Shield is one of, or perhaps the greatest police drama of all time. No I haven’t seen The Wire yet, but I’ve heard that show is pretty great in it’s own right.

I discovered The Shield when it first aired at the tail end of my Senior year of high school. I got into it, and saw it every year until it’s finale 2 years ago.

I had previously gotten season 1 and season 5 of the show, and then I found seasons 3 and 4 for $10 a piece. I then ordered the second season from Half.com, and over the past few days have been marathoning them.

It had been so long that it was almost like watching it for the first time, and it was marvelous.

The Shield is mostly about Vic Mackey (a career game changer for Michael Chiklis) and his 3 other crew members that make up the STRIKE team for the LAPD. Right from the beginning we know that Mackey is a dirty cop. At the end of the Pilot he shoots dead a fellow detective because he was onto him and his team.

One of the great things I loved about the show was how things like the aforementioned killing of the detective, and a robbery of an Armenian money train at the end of season 2, become integral to the series. Coming back to haunt Mackey and his team all the way until the end, and resulting in the deaths of 2 of them.

The Shield was a basic cable series, but damn if it didn’t push the envelope of what can be shown on basic cable. Some of the scenes and language on the show bordered on stuff that you can see on HBO and SHOWTIME. Nudity, gruesome violence, and coarse language were norms on the show. I was surprised more than once that I was watching this show on FX.

The entire series is available on dvd, and most of the individual sets can be had for cheap. A bit of a minor warning for aspect ratio enthusiasts. There were sets of the first 4 seasons that were released in 1:33.1, and starting with season 5 the show was only available in 1.33:1. 1.78:1, which is pretty much the norm for most tv shows now. The first 4 seasons were re-released in 1.78:1. Those are the ones I’ve been getting, and I like it.

The show was filmed in a sometimes shaky cam with heavy grain. The 1.78:1 transfer makes the grain even more apparent, and rather than make it look like a bad transfer, I think it adds to the realism.

Check out this show. You won’t regret it.

Rene’s song of the day: “Just Another Day” by Romero/Bautista/Alejandro.

Thanks for reading my blog and see you next time!