DVDs in Review - #27 - The Shield: The Complete Sixth Season

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views

For reviews of previous seasons see here (spoiler potential for each season in the reviews):
Season One
Season Two
Season Three
Season Four
Season Five
A Why You Should Watch (I recommend reading this if you want to know a bit more about the show without spoilers) and a direct link to the short entry for the show in My Top 50 Shows.

Complete review after the link:

Michael Chiklis as Detective Vic Mackey
Walton Goggins as Detective Shane Vandrell
Benito Martinez as David Aceveda
CCH Pounder as Captin Claudette Wyms
Catherine Dent as Officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer
Jay Karnes as Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach
Michael Jace as Officer Julien Lowe
David Rees Snell as Detective Ronnie Gardocki
Alex O'Loughlin as Detective Kevin Hiatt
and Forest Whitaker as Lt. John Kavanaugh

The Show:

Following on directly from the earth shattering events of the previous season, season six gives us a world in turmoil. The department has refused a full funeral for Lem and Claudette has been ordered to hold all officers in overtime so they cannot attend, Vic is determined to find Lem's killer and bring him to justice, Shane is attempting to hide the truth about his actions, Kavanaugh is driven to bring Vic down, a mass murder in Farmington has Dutch and his new partner Billings distracted from investigating Lem's death and new blood is recruited into the strike team.

The season is as intense as it's ever been; Vic is battling against grief, anger, Kavanaugh, forced retirement and Shane. He's determined to find and kill whomever caused Lem's death, but he's not yet aware that Shane is the guilty party. Kavanaugh's fall from grace becomes complete this season when he plants evidence in an attempt to bring Vic down for good.

Meanwhile Julien is promoted to the Strike team along with Detective Kevin Hiatt who is drafted in to become the new Strike Team Captain. This brings additional pressure to the Strike Team as it becomes harder for Vic, Shane and Ronnie to communicate. Shane in particular spirals out of control with grief; his actions become more and more wild as the season progresses and you're left wondering when he's going to crack. Needless to say, by the end of the season he's placed everyone in such a dangerous situation.

It's rather interesting the way Shane and Vic progress in this season, Vic starts out completely unhinged - willing to throw his life away if it means he'll bring justice to Lem's killer - but as the season progresses he regains control of his emotions and by the end he's relatively composed (considering the situation) able to maneuver a long time enemy Acevada into an alliance. While Shane loses control more and more as the season progresses until he's painted himself into a corner with the worst possible bedfellows - the Armenians.

This season is shorter than most of the previous seasons because it was initially intended to be shown as the second part of season five. This does mean that the season feels a little lighter than expected and it runs by with incredible pace, at the end of the final episode you're left feeling a little 'is that it?' Which is a shame, but when you realise that this is really the second half of a season it's understandable.

It's still a fantastic set up for the events of the final season. Thirteen episodes starting September 2nd!

The Other Stuff:

After the strange and frankly terrible colour scheme used for Season 5 we're fortunate that the style is back closer to the original four seasons. While there are differences the predominate theme is white text on a black backdrop. The spine fits perfectly with the rest (See the post on season five for an example) and it's a lot better than the early art that was bandied about...

Seriously, while that shot is a fantastic piece for style and mood it's utterly spoiler-tastic - that's obviously Lem's face! I'm not sure if the R1 boxed set actually has this front piece or not, but it's pretty bad news for someone who's watched the first four seasons without seeing season five. There are enough spoilers in this age of the Internet without the shows spoilering themselves unintentionally. But thankfully R2 users get a less spoiler-riffic shot that shows a clearly grief stricken Vic in a slightly ambiguous pose.

Now there is was a second problem with this set being bandied about and it's about the wonderful people at Sony's editing room. Not content with cutting about thirty minutes from the previous season finale it was thought that they had cut more material from the sixth season. But I can confidently deny this now, the run time for the season is 9 hours and 52 minutes for ten episodes; that's what it should be. So don't worry about that, while we did lose stuff from the previous season finale and that sucks hard we get all of this season. It's just shorter than the previous seasons by a few episodes.

There are not a lot of extras in this season boxed set. There are a total of four featurettes and that's it. Which is a bit of a 180 compared to previous seasons and most annoyingly there's no commentary here; which is a real shame because I do enjoy watching stuff with commentary on at least once. There's not much else to talk about, the featurettes are good - but it's not enough.

Amazon win out this time @ £14.97 (Play are next @ £16.99 and HMVfont> have the best 'street' price @ 17.99). This is 2.5p per minute, which is very reasonable but not surprising because the boxed set has been out for about a year now.

The Final Word:

While not as stunning as the previous two seasons, season six still delivers it's punches well and stands like a giant above most other television. It's proven time and time again that it can twist the plot in directions you wouldn't expect and it's been consistently able to raise the stakes every season. Which is no mean feat when you consider the set up of the first few seasons.

It's not the best season, but it does include some of the best moments and it's every bit as essential to watch as the rest are.

The Final Score:

4.5 for the overall package; both the season and the DVD itself are a little below standard. But that means they're still well above most other shows out there.


7 comments so far.

  1. jaxvor 21 August 2008 at 12:40
    Ah, so this Region 2 set isn't butchered then? Excellent. Although I don't know whether my anally retentive brain can handle my collection being interrupted with a Region One version of season five.
    Guess I'll pick up the Region One season five set and maybe (if I'm feeling particularly decadent) pick up Region Two if they come up with an unedited version.

    But yeah, great show, nice review and I can't wait for the new season to start.
  2. Rev-Views 21 August 2008 at 13:21
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure nothing has been butchered from this. 9h 52 mins matches the length of time aired originally and that's what is on the back of the box (but play have it listed at 8h 5mins - ugh!)

    But I'm having some difficulty confirming the length of the region 1 version of this.

    It's coming out on the sites at 498 minutes. Which is 8.3 hours. But, it's impossible to be sure because it hasn't actually been released in the US yet!

    I'm going to go count up how long each episode is...

    1. 48:52
    2. 46:02
    3. 44:08
    4. 45:50
    5. 44:06
    6. 47:05
    7. 44:11
    8. 45:55
    9. 47:00
    10. 1:01:37

    That's a total of approx 474 mins - 7.9 hours. (I guess the extra time listed on the back is the featurettes) So on second look I'm not entirely sure. You've got the original avis atm right? If you have time can you double check those episode times and see if they match up. Cause I'd like to confirm this for once and all (and edit the review if I was wrong)
  3. jaxvor 21 August 2008 at 14:55
    Yeah I lent them to Steve as he's been plowing through them in prep for the new season. I'll take a look later.
  4. jaxvor 21 August 2008 at 15:09
    Hmmm... just did some googling and found this quote on Amazon, which could explain things:

    "Once again, a reviewer points out the discrepancy between the stated running time of a DVD and its time as listed elsewhere. When will people realise that this discrepancy is only the result of the differing playback systems between Region 1 (NTSC) and Region 2 (PAL). Look up the specifications for a detailed explanation, but understand that PAL video plays a faster frame-per-second rate than NTSC, speeding up the playback by about 3 minutes per hour. Even NTSC is not the same as cinematic frames-per-second but is closer. The difference of about 15 minutes in this SHIELD box-set (as with all the others) is solely due to this technical anomaly. Import the Region 1 version if you don't believe me - you'll find they contain exactly the same shows. Nothing taken out. Like brown bread."

    So that could be the reason for the discrepancy.
  5. Rev-Views 21 August 2008 at 15:27
    I believe he's done with them. When I saw him he certainly had a lot to say about Shane and the Armenians.

    Right, yes I think I read that one when I was looking through the various reviews while checking prices. It sounds quite possible.

    None of the episodes individually seem to be shorter than expected and the final episode has that extra 15 mins.

    So I think it might be all there. I certainly didn't notice anything missing from events; unlike season five where I definately noticed the missing scenes.

    btw, the R1 version of season 5 looks pretty similar to the R2 version. They use the same artwork for sure. But there is a question about size. I suspect it's thicker in spine width from this shot.


    Any American readers able to confirm if the R1 version of The Shield is slimeline or full?
  6. jaxvor 21 August 2008 at 16:09
    Slimeline? Ewww. I don't want slime on my shelf!
  7. Rev-Views 21 August 2008 at 16:28
    ...why don't comments have an edit function? :(

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