Dead Like Me - The Movie

Category: By Rev/Views
Probably old news for some. But I've only just discovered that Dead Like Me will be returning in the form of at least one direct to DVD movie. Something that Futurama (yay!) is also doing this year.

I'm excited about it, but a little disappointed that.
a) Mandy Patkin is not attached to the film. Bad Mandy!
b) Laura Harris has been replaced by Sarah Wynter for the role of Daisy.

Now the first one isn't too bad, as long as they don't completely write the character of Rube out of the series. At least leave a window for him guys...

The second one is a disaster imo, Daisy wasn't really that essential a character anyway. She could easily have been replaced with another female lead, instead we have a horrible soap opera 'body swap' situation.

I'm not sure this is going to work out well or not. But I'll certainly pick it up as I adore Ellen Muth.

On a slight side note. Mandy Patkin needs to stop walking out on stuff, I was going to take up watching Criminal Minds because he was in it. Now I've found out he walked out on season 3 despite being one of the leads. Damn it Mandy, you're a fantastic actor and a complete draw to any show for me. But you keep abandoning them...
Direct Link

Why you should watch... The Wire

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
The Wire is one of the hardest shows I've ever tried to get other people to watch. It's a brilliant and deep show with such rich character and development that it's a joy to watch. It's the closest thing television drama has ever come to capturing reality.

And about half the time I recommend it to someone they give up watching it after about three episodes.

For a long time I couldn't work out why this was happening, then I remembered my own initial experience with the show. It came recommened by a friend, one who has excellent taste in shows and who's opinion on all things television I trust. (I don't know if you read this or not mate, but I have to thank you again for introducing me to this show.) So I bit the bullet and got the first two seasons without even previewing a single episode.
I remember very well watching the first season, while there were moments in the show that I found amusing and certain characters immediately gripped me - specifically Bunk and McNulty - but on the whole I was struggling with it. Then suddenly, around the 6th or 7th episode I got to grips with it. The characters and plot fell into place and everything started to flow.
Suddenly I went from being, semi-interested and occasionally amused into hooked. I realised that the more I put into the show; the more attention I paid, the more I got out of it. This show was not 'easy watching' but it was for those people who need a little more than passive viewing. It's one of the things I look for in a show, if the show can engage me and then ask very serious, deep questions. Or raise potent issues. Or even make me rethink my world viewpoint. Then it's a show worth standing up and taking note about.

To this date I've only encountered three shows that have really done this. Shows that really challenge me as a viewer. 'The Shield', 'Dexter' and 'The Wire'. I'm sure there are more out there, I'm constantly searching for them. But right now that trio of shows are my 'Big Three'.

So, as you can read. I wasn't immediately hooked by 'The Wire', but as I'd commited money into owning the DVDs I felt compelled to watch them at least once. To justify my investment.
And I'm glad I did. So if you decide to watch 'The Wire' and find yourself not sure, or struggling to get into it. Hang on, don't be one of the ordinaries and give up. Watch till the end of the first season. Then make a judgement.

(Season 5 Filming sign in Baltimore - Thisaway for 'The Wire'!)

Now, onto the show itself. 'The Wire' is set (and recorded) in Baltimore and features an ensemble cast of cops and criminals. One of the major features of the show is you do not get just a single side to the story. You get to experience the story from both sides, which is a wonderful method of telling a tale. But it does add to the complexity of the show, both due to an increase in the number of story threads and in the depth of the characters. It can be tough for a viewer to get to grips with a 'villain' who's not just a one dimensional "bad guy". Even 'The Shield' in all it's brilliance keeps most of the villains (outside of The Strike Team ;) ) very one dimensional. But 'The Wire' does not do this. Instead it presents you with young pushers who are doing the job because there's no other way to live in the ghetto areas. It gives you an insight into top level career criminals. It even tells the stories of dock workers, beat cops and politicians.
Instead of a simple show about some detectives who put up a wire and catch some bad guys, you get a rich tapestry where the lines between good and evil don't exist. Where the police struggle against the system to catch people they know are dirty. Where a policeman might just step over the line with both feet in pursuit of a bust. Where a lieutenant could have to make the decision between his career and upholding the law. Where a street level stick-up boy might just turn out to be one of the best characters ever to grace the television.

'The Wire' is not afraid of making it's characters do unlikable things, they're humans. They make mistakes, even the police. The show highlights some subjects that America might like to pretend don't exist. Subjects that include: the loss of the American blue-collar workforce, the crippling bureaucractic system and self serving career-jockeys that get in the way of police work, the plight of the ghetto cities and so much more. If any show could be called gritty and realistic this show would be at the head of the cue.

I've written all of this without even getting into the cast. There are powerhouse performances from so many cast members it's difficult to single out any one given actor. Everyone I know has their own favourite character, the one they identify with the most. Dominic West as Jimmy McNulty is probably the most central character (at least for me), he's the one who initially gets the ball rolling with regards to the detail. He's a tremendous asshole and tends to make more enemies than friends. Spending more time drunk or crashing his car than doing policework. But he still remains an excellent detective at times. But there are so many other characters worth noting too many to talk about. Bunk, Lester, Perez, Marlow, Stringer Bell, Brodie, D'Angelo, Avon, Bunny. Not all of these are police either...

There is one character I want to write about before I hit 'submit'.

Omar Little.

Omar is by far and away one of the most entertaining and interesting parts of the show. He's introduced in the first season and essentially is "A gay, African American stick-up man". He's portrayed by Michael K. Williams (he's made an appearance on Boston Legal in either Season 2 or 3) and is essentially a guest star in the first season. But it's clear from his time on screen that he's a character of depth and interest. Along with Brother Mouzone and "The Greek" he's one of my favourite criminals in the show. But it's very hard to look on him as a criminal, he almost exclusively robs other criminals (Modern day Robin Hood! Except he gives to himself and his crew) and he has a very clear code of honour.

Two of my favourite moments are "the f**k scene" (not safe for work), which involves McNulty, Bunk and a crime scene - Where almost the entire dialog is the f-word (demonstrating how flexible that word is - but you can watch it for yourself)

And a scene in the third season where Omar and Brother Mouzone face off in a wonderful homage to the western duel.

The sad thing is, The Wire has massive critical acclaim. People who really know their TV are able to say "Yes, The Wire is one of the best things on TV for years." But it's just not a show that's accessable for the mainstream viewer. Too many people give up on it because it's a hard show, one that requires work and effort to enjoy. But whatever you put in, you get out tenfold.

If you're at all curious, you can read up further in the following links:
HBO's Site
Wikipedia's Entry

TV.Com's page
(But watch out for potential spoilers if you go reading in detail about the episodes or characters.)

If that's not good enough, the show is rated a 9.7/10 on IMDB

Try it, it's worth the time and effort. Otherwise it will remain, "The best show you've never seen."

Listen Carefully
Direct Link


By Rev/Views
I know that currently most people rate Heroes as the best piece of television out there. But if I'm honest I have to disagree. Heroes is good; I enjoy it greatly. But it's not the best.
The problem I have with Heroes is it doesn't challenge the viewer so much. While there are mysteries and strange occurances in the show, it's no more unusual in this than many other Sci-Fi shows. It also tends to make giant leaps of logic and provided a rather weak season finale. All of this said, I enjoy watching Heroes immensely. Sylar remains amongst one of my favourite characters of all time and the current plot seems seriously exciting.

But I personally feel the show pales in comparison to Dexter. Dexter came out last year and I was immediately interested due to the choice of lead. Michael C. Hall's performance in Six Feet Under was magneticly powerful, so I was immediately interested in seeing how he'd manage to play such a very different character. As I read about the show I began to feel excited, it was a show that pushed into an unusual field of television. Placing the lead character in the role of a serial killer is a bold move, especially in television. Books (where Dexter originated) can contain much darker characters as it's not so bad to marginalise the audience. Television shows on the other hand cost a huge amount in resources and time. So to commit to such a dark subject matter was a brave move by Showtime. (Showtime, you're forgiven for the loss of 'Dead Like Me'!)

Dexter is not a show for everyone. It's exceedingly dark and disturbed, the average viewer prefers not to have themselves challenged by the show they're watching. They like their whites white and blacks black, no shades of grey. Dexter does not provide this, instead it asks the viewer a very hard question. "Is a monster who preys exclusively on other monsters acceptable?" "Is it OK to kill if it protects the innocent?". Additionally confounding this issue is the sublime performance of Michael as Dexter, the novel provides a very dark but humourous vision of Dexter. You understand his needs, his drives, his reasonings and also his humour. Michael brings all of that to his performance and more. He dares you to like him, and you do. Even when you see the horrible things he does, you still like him.

The first season more or less followed the plot of 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter' but with additional material used to expand and enrich Dexter's life. It does deviate in a few key points, but I'd still recommend watching the show before reading. I found that to be the more enjoyable way to experience the show. But others have disagreed and prefered the book.
In a spoiler free version, the first season introduces us to Dexter, allows us to experience his life and understand "Harry's Code" the code of rules that Dexter follows strictly when killing his victims. A code created by his stepfather to protect and control Dexter's urges even after Harry's end. But Harry's life becomes disturbed when another serial killer moves into the area. A killer who takes an interest in Dexter...

The season was a whiteknuckle ride from the first episode to the end. A total tour de force in every aspect. It did not disappoint at any moment. From the very first moment I watched the opening credits in each episode I was hooked.

The second season has managed this and more. Dexter is in such a precarious position, society would not, could not accept him. And without spoilering anything too much, I've been sat on the edge of my seat genuinely scared for Dexter.

I'm actually worried about a fictional serial killer's life and problems. That's how good this show is.
Direct Link


Category: , , By Rev/Views
So it's around that time of year where I start wading my way through the shows that have been picked up and seeing which ones are of interest. 'Life' is one of the ones that's caught my interest enough to warrant a further look.

Life stars Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers) as Detective Charlie Crews. Charlie has recently been exhonerated for a series of murders he did not commit. Due to the length of his imprisonment, and the dangers for a cop in prison he was given a substantial amount of money (and allowed to return to the force as a detective) as compensation. Those of you who've seen Band of Brothers know the power Damian can bring to the screen. He's an accomplished and compelling actor.
Also of note is Robin Weigert (Deadwood) as his Captain with an agenda. She wants him off the force. And Sarah Shahi from Teachers (amongst other shows) as his reluctant partner and eye candy.

Now of course, the show already has a twist to push it away from the rest of the cop shows out there. That's essential in this day of entertainment. Charlie was framed and railroaded for the murders, but he doesn't know why. This metaplot is bundled up with 'crime of the week' cases, much like 'The Dead Zone' or 'Burn Notice' likes to do.
The thing is, alone that wouldn't be enough to make the show interesting. So the writers have taken Charlie and given his character an additional twist. He attempts to follow zen and as such has at times a very cryptic and unusual method. It also affects his conversational tone and dialog. But he's no zen master by any stretch of the imagination. He struggles to follow the teachings and is far from enlightened.
What this gives us is a character who attempts to be calm on the surface, while underneath there is turmoil and a driving need to find out why he was framed. He's alternately amusing and deep, in some small way he reminds me of House.

The most developed (if two episodes is developed) of the other characters is his partner. While the details of her life are still kept somewhat vague it's clearly established from the start that she has issues. She's in rehab and goes out seeking one night stands. She also somewhat resents Crews, but also seems to understand that he's a good cop and a man who was greatly wronged.

Anyway, it's hard to talk about much more when I've only seen 1h30mins of the show. But it's interesting, has fast paced and amusing dialog with an interesting metaplot to tie progression together. If you like cop shows, investigative shows or just quirky characters I'd recommend giving it a look.

Right now has it rated at a 9.1 - I wouldn't go that high but it's certainly pushed in with a high 8 and shows signs of growing from there.
Direct Link

Prison Break

Category: , , By Rev/Views
[This post certainly contains spoilers - about Prison Break and House M.D.]

Ok well I wanted to wait a while and see what direction several shows were taking before I posted about them. I've now watched the first 4 eps of PB and 3 of Heroes, not enough to know exactly what direction they're planning, but enough to get a taste. House I'm still undecided on, I'm loving the idea of a new team (plus keeping the original team around in different roles) but I'm worried they're just going to put the original team back together after a while. I prefer the team of ridiculously old, old fraud, mormon, evil bitch and #13 over Foreman, Cameron and Chase.

I'll start with:

Prison Break - S3 Eps 1 - 4
First of all, it seems I spoke too soon about the Sarah Tancredi situation. After the end of episode 3 I was pretty sure we were facing a homage of 'Se7en' aka head in a box and it turns out we were. So apparently Sarah is dead and Lincon is keeping it from Michael. I say apparently because honestly I'm not convinced yet.

There are two options here, first of all. She's dead, gone and that's it. Quite likely, because how many people come back from being beheaded and having their bonce express mailed to the brother of the man you love? Prison Break has already set the trend of doing this, Veronica was just gunned down in the early stages of Season 2. Prison Break is a major sausage-fest, women in the show either disappear, leave quickly or die. Killing off Sarah is just following the form of the misogynistic tendencies of the writers - "Kill off the pretty women, give us sweaty men!"
On the other hand, Sarah is a major character. Both in the previous plotting and fan-base. I've not checked the various fan sites to see the reactions too this, but I'm betting they're not happy. Especially the Michael-Sarah love fans. It's a pretty poor way to wipe her character out of the show, and there is a possibility that she'll make a return and the whole thing will have been faked. Lincon isn't the smartest cookie and the Company may have fooled him with, say a death mask. They'd certainly have access to that kind of material and skill.
This theory is of course exceedingly unlikely - reports indicate she was going to get killed off this season anyway and her pregnancy just sped the process.

Prison Break has been floundering since the final episode of season one. Season 2, while entertaining was not the same show as season one. Not by any stretch of the imagination. So many elemental parts were lost or made meaningless. Schofield's tatoos, Fibonachi, Sarah, Veronica, etc. But most notable is the complete loss of Michaels intelligence. Since he uttered the words "We run!" at the end of Season 1 he's gotten as dumb as a post. Admittedly a post that women like to lust after (shame he can't take his shirt off anymore eh ladies?), but a seriously dumb one.

Does this sound like the Michael Schofield in season 2?
"Michael has been clinically diagnosed with low latent inhibition, a condition in which his brain is more open to incoming stimuli in the surrounding environment. As a result he is unable to block out peripheral information and instead processes every aspect and detail of any given stimulus. This, combined with a high IQ, as a psychiatrist explains in the episode "Tweener", theoretically makes him a creative genius."
(From wikipedia's entry on Michael Schofield)

He's pretty much lost all of that ability - but it seems (in the latest episode) it's come back somewhat. He seems to have a plan and an ability to pay attention/second guess people. Well people who aren't Mahone anyway... Ok, he's out-thought Bellick, maybe that's nothing to shout home about after all. T-Bag already managed it in season 2...
Anyway, at least there is some hope that his season one character has returned. Because while it is entertaining watching Dominic Purcell run around and look perplexed as Lincon there needs to be more.

So I'm interested and disappointed in Prison Break, they've failed to innovate or evolve and instead have returned to old habits (prisons, killing female cast members). But they've also failed to keep the good parts. Maybe it'll change, Dominic and Robert Knepper (T-Bag) will keep me watching for a while yet.

Oh, and as a brief aside. I really hope that Robert Wisdom's role in Prison Break doesn't stop him coming back for the final season of 'The Wire'. 'The Wire' > 'Prison Break' and I'd love to see him at least guest star in it's swan song season.

Season so far 6.5/10
Direct Link

Why you should watch... Boston Legal

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views
Boston Legal

I feel that the rest of this post is pretty much preaching to the choir. Boston Legal is already massive, but more praise never hurts.

[This post may contain nuts... and mild spoilers]

Boston Legal was created by David E. Kelley (Yeah, the man responsable for Ally McBeal - don't hold it against him!) and is essentially a follow on/spin off from The Practice. Unsuprisingly it is set in Boston and involves a legal firm. While this is hardly new ground for David, the man has honed the art of the legal show to a fine point. Boston Legal shows off his art in every way, shape and form possible.

The show literally shines with polish; it's sleek, beautiful, well edited, has blistering pacing, a punchy dialog to match, superb sets and a truely awesome and catchy theme song. A show that doesn't take itself too seriously (it almost breaks the fourth wall on several occasions.) But all of this slick, polish and shine is simply the backdrop to some star performances.

The most obvious of these are the performances from James Spader (3 Emmys for the role) and William Shatner (2!) . The show was pretty much created with them in mind and they are such an excellent pairing. James manages to play a very complex individual; Alan Shore is simultaneously arrogant and humble, hard and caring and so many more conflicting attributes in one. He's very much got a hard exterior with a soft interior and then another hard part. It's refreshing to see an actor who's so willing to perform such unlikable deeds and still be understandable.
William Shatner on the other hand plays a man with alltogether more simple motives, he's very much the true blooded American. Happiest when eating stake, shooting guns or making love to beautiful women Denny Crane is a true red American through and through...
But, this said not even Denny Crane (Denny Crane!) is a simple one dimensional character. There's a great deal of vulnerability to his character; he's a man who was once great, in many ways is still great. But he's not the man he once was, he's falling - but still trying to keep a hold of what he once was.

While Alan and Denny are, at least on the surface two very different men. Underneath it they share a great closeness, they understand and accept each other with a degree of closeness that is at times touching. Boston Legal can appear to be a show about trials and lawyers on the surface, but underneath that it's a show about friendship and loyalty. It's this aspect that keeps me coming back, like Scrubs this show can be alternately funny and touching within the space of a single scene. Shows like that are gold.

I would be amiss if I did not at least mention my favourite character in the show. Jerry Espenson (played Christian Clemenson, who won an Emmy for the role in 2006). A man with unusual habits and attributes caused by Asperger Syndrome, a disorder that I was not aware of before Boston Legal brought it to my attention. At first Jerry is seen as a joke and a problem case in the firm, but Alan comes to form a bond and friendship with the man. Something akin to a mentor relationship, but also very much based on friendship. Alan is capable of seeing past the superficial and understanding how brilliant Jerry is at practicing law. This friendship stirs up feelings of jealousy in Denny, fueling some memorable conversations between them all.

Now Boston Legal isn't perfect, it has one major flaw. Apart from Shatner, Spader and Candice (as Shirely Schmit) any member of the cast is considered disposable. They can be dumped at anytime from the show and sometimes they are dropped without even aknowledgement that they're gone. Some of these characters have been cut because they haven't been working, but others imo have been cut because the writers have failed to provide enough focus on them. The character I feel who has been mistreated worst of all is Brad Chase, Mark Valley (the actor) has only been given once real chance to show his talents. He was brilliant in that episode but has been given the short end of the stick more times than not.

For the record the Episode 'Guantanamo by Trial' contains the single greatest cold opening in the history of television. Ever. Take that fourth wall!

Watch the damn show already.
Direct Link

30 Rock - (201) & The Office (402)

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
I've kind of held back from reviewing several shows that i'm watching (House M.D., Prison Break and Heroes) partly because I'm interested in seeing where they're going before I start typing about it and partly because I keep forgetting to watch Heroes.

I know! Sacrilegious and scandalous! But I've not even watched the second episode yet. Tuesday I found myself thinking "I know there's a show I watch on Mondays. But I already watched Prison Break so what was it?"
And it's only today that I realised I missed Heroes. I shan't be able to catch up on it till tomorrow evening. Tut, tut.

Anyhow, onto last nights offerings.

[This post may contain spoilers]

30 Rock - Seinfeld Vision
I picked up watching 30 Rock when I realised that Studio 60 wasn't going to make the distance *cry*. While the two shows have a very different tone, there are some parallels. Enough that I was willing to give 30 Rock a chance to grow on me. The previous season was good, but not amazing. It felt like it was missing that final bit of pazzaz to push it over the top. Last night it got it, Seinfeld Vision had that little something extra.

Problem is, I think that this extra is because Jerry Seinfeld was on the show. The various clips of him being digitally inserted into other shows was hilarious. Every moment with Jerry on screen was fantastic, there was a moment where I found myself wishing it would turn out he'd join the cast permanently. But it's maybe for the best that didn't happen as they'd need to re-write the dynamics of the show too much.

Alec Baldwin was on blistering form as Jack, the gusto with which he reeled of his 'summer hits' was so superb that I just couldn't stop laughing at 'Milf Island'. I still don't really like Tracy Jordan (played by Tracy Morgan), he's just so far out there and crazy that I find it difficult to tolerate him on screen. I guess maybe he's supposed to be like Chris Tucker, who makes a living out of being crazy and loud. But I just don't find it funny. That said, the scenes between Kenneth and Tracy - with Kenneth acting as his 'office wife' were very good. So I don't know, the jury's out on him I guess.

Very solid start to the season, and I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the episodes.

Oh, it also helps that I think Tina Fey is hot.


The Office - 402 - Dunder Mifflin Infinity
Speaking of characters I find attactive, we're onto 'The Office' and, you should have guessed it. Pam. The relationship between Jim and Pam is growing and I find it very sweet and endearing. There's something about the show I find really lovely. While many of the characters are an ass one way or the other I still like them. Flaws and all.
Jim is still my firm favourite, he's very 'everyman' and also seems to take on the position of the viewer in many situations. I find his looks punctuate situations and really add to the comedy. Out of all the characters, he's the one most likely to look directly at the camera outside of interviews.

Anyway, while the relationship between Pam and Jim strengthens (I'm going to be so bummed out when they break up - and you know the writers will do it at some point...) the relationship between Dwight and Angela shatters after Angela can't forgive Dwight for freezing Sprinkles the cat to death. To be honest, I can't really blame her - it's probably the worst thing he's done by a long stretch. Dwight's poor handling of the situation taints his attempts to assist Michael in winning back some companies who stopped ordering.
Michael and Jan's relationship doesn't look solid either. While it's never been solid, it's Michael's complete inability to notice any potential problems that's going to hurt him most of all. In truth I'm not sure what Jan is doing, both with him and in general. She seems to just be going through a bout of depression. Something Michael would of course miss and then make a mess of helping her through it.

The episode was another 40min episode, which is interesting. I guess they've moved to a 40 min format this year. Which is both a bold move and a clever one, it could have gone horribly wrong if they got the pacing wrong or didn't have enough material. But instead I think they've hit a great balance that works. I hardly noticed the time passing. 40 mins suits 'The Office'.


I also think a 40 min format might suit 30 Rock.
Direct Link

30 Rock - Season 2 Premire

Category: , , , By Rev/Views
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Jerry Seinfeld is going to be on 30 Rock tonight! It's like a meeting of awesomeness in my head! Even the advertisment on looks awesome. It seems that Jerry is about to be hit from behind by Alec Baldwin. Now that's entertainment!

" Jerry Seinfeld shows up at Jack's office in an upset mood after Jack announces his plan to use footage from Seinfeld to install Jerry into every current show on NBC, a strategy which he calls "SeinfeldVision"."

Now that's an awesome plan.

More tomorrow...
Direct Link

Prison Break S3

Category: , By Rev/Views
I'm finding the various attempts to include Sara Tancredi into the opening plot while the actress Sarah Wayne Callies is unavailable (due to her pregnancy) highly amusing. It feels more like they're trying to conceal a sudden (and really, really bad) plot twist where the girl kidnapped turns out to not be the real thing. We're getting views from behind, of feet and even bad photographs that are obviously not her. I half expected Schofield to toss the photo on the floor and whinge "It's not her." Then look pathetically at his brother and whine about how the writers have halved the level of his intelligence between each season.

[Seriously, you can watch his IQ drop from episode to episode. Starting with the "What do we do now?" "We run." moment at the end of season one. What use are your tattoos now Mikey?]

While I'm writing about PB, there needs to be more Lincon Burrows smash puny humans moments in this season. They were the best parts of season 2 and the events in Monday's episodes were awesome. He's a wrecking machine and as such I want to see Dominic Purcell placed into a western, cop or criminal film. Heck, anything where he can have a fight in a bar and dump people through tables would do me just fine. There's something so entertaining about his completely roughhouse brawling method of 'Throw myself at the bad guys full tilt.'

Direct Link

Why you should watch... The Shield

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views
The Shield

Starring Michael Chiklis out of an ugly looking orange suit 'The Shield' is one of the most innovative and exciting cop shows out there. It rates as one of my "Big two" police shows alongside 'The Wire' and has currently finished it's six season. There is one final season planned and then that's it.

'The Shield' is so unique because it has a fresh angle on the genre of 'Cops and Robbers'. Instead of a clearly defined line between the police and the criminals you have a group of policemen who are willing to break the law. Both for results and for personal gain. It's very hard to define the strike team - which is headed up by Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) - as good guys. But they are very clearly the center players of the show. At best they are anti-heroes, at worst criminals with a badge.

The core of the strike team consists of Vic Mackey, Shane, Ronnie and Lem. It's is their stories that we follow most of all. But orbiting around them are the various other members of the police station, refered to as "The Barn". Notable amongst these are Dutch, Claudette, Danny, Acevada and Julian but other characters are of importance as well. Even these other members aren't entirely clean, at times they're tempted to step beyond the boundries of the written law.

And that's a huge key theme of the show, what is acceptable in pursuit of justice? How far should a cop go? What happens once you've stepped over that line? Can you go back? The show delivers tremendously on this count, ethically and morally you shouldn't support the Strike Team. They do so much wrong, but you can't help but like them. Their actions feel justified as you can see the surrounding enviroment that is driving the decisions. It's wonderful to root for the "bad guys" once in a while.

Alongside all the gritty and dark tone of this show stands a subtle sense of humour. It's present in both the situations and the dialog. One of my favourites involves the shooting of a dog, a young cop might get into trouble for doing this. So they place a gun near to it, and I'll let the dialog speak for the rest.

Vic Mackey: Sir, I'm telling you, the kid had no choice. The dog was reaching. It was kill or be killed.
Rawling: Oh come on, Roy. The dog had a piece, he was gonna use it.

Such brilliant writing, injecting humour into the situation without making it absurd.

I could go on and on about this show for a lot longer. But I think I should wrap up here and summarise. You should watch 'The Shield' as it's a dark and gritty show that breaks the normal rules for the cop genre. It's fast paced, well scripted and is difficult to predict. Just when you think you've figured out the next sequence of events the show twists off in an entirely new and unpredictable direction. It's a bleak show where the heroes can only be distinguished from the bad guys by the badge they carry, and as such there is a very real threat of danger to the characters you come to love. You'll end up wanting Vic Mackey and his Strike team to get away with it all, but not sure they will.
The show is not for everyone, as many like their stereotypical good guy cops. But if you can take something that's different and challenging to watch 'The Shield' is waiting to amaze and wow you every step of the way.

To sum up, I'd like to quote Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach.
Holland Wagenbach: (about Vic Mackey) Why does everyone like that asshole so much?

Who can really say? I do like him a lot, I hope he gets away with it at the end of the seventh season. But I can't be sure he will.

Must watch!
Direct Link

Shows you should watch before you die...

By Rev/Views
There are some shows that are truely special, they stand head and shoulders above the rest of television. Over the next few posts I'll talk about a few of them that I've watched and why I think they're must watch shows. But for now I shall just provide a short list, in part to get them down in black and white and in part to allow me a bit of time to work out how exactly to rave about each one.

In no particular order:
1. The Shield
2. The Wire
3. Dexter
4. Firefly
5. House M.D.
6. Venture Bros
7. Arrested Development
8. Seinfeld
9. Dead Like Me
10. Family Guy
11. Futurama
12. Heroes
13. Doctor Who
14. Nip/Tuck
15. Prison Break
16. Six Feet Under
17. The Office (USA)
18. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
19. Fraiser
20. Red Dwarf
21. Green Wing
22. Sharpe
23. Black Books
24. Spaced
25. Boston Legal
26. Band of Brothers
27. Phoenix Nights/Max & Paddy
28. Carnivale
29. The Scarlet Pimpernel (BBC)
30. Casanova (BBC)

*Phew* That's a lot of TV and I haven't listed everything I could have. I am going to acknowledge that there a few missing from the list that some people would feel should be on there; Lost, Simpsons and 24 for example. One day I'll explain why they're not on this list.
Direct Link