Is there a television series on today to which you are completely addicted? One you do not believe you could live without? One that you just have to see conclude to the very bitter end?
For me, it is FX's The Shield. Every Tuesday night at 10:00, when it's back for its latest season, I watch. It is nearly in the middle of its final season. I will certainly miss it when it goes.
Is there a series on today that inspires that kind of love from you? A series whose characters are so fascinating you cannot help but deeply analyze every one of them?
I became hooked on the show after the airing of the first episode, Pilot, on March 12, 2002. I have been with it ever since. If this were a television blog and not a blog dedicated to the riches of cinema, you would be bombarded with posts about The Shield from me every week. Despite this being a movie blog, I would probably give The Shield quite the spotlight here if it weren't so near its conclusion. As it is, it seems like it would be fairly arrogant for me to impose my favorite show on the rest of you.
And that is what would happen. I don't watch much television, especially scripted series. (Don't even ask about "reality TV," yuck.) So it would feel strange for me to open discussions of just one series, which is so close to its very last episode, while not continuing with other television subjects. And I'm not going to join the legion of people waxing nostalgic about HBO shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and Deadwood. Due to a certain summer film a couple months back, I have commented on my past love for The X-Files series before it choked here and here.
Let me just say this about The Shield. It's sort of the netherworld series, a kind of ideal melange of many of the attributes that make those aforementioned HBO shows so engrossing. When you focus on a series you love, you gradually lose a certain measure of objectivity. So you have been forewarned. However, I sincerely do believe that more than those series, this is a show that has remained true to itself all the way to its current point. Focusing on a beleagured Los Angeles police district, The Shield is a show that is more rewarding the longer you stick with it, and if you are able to appreciate the uncompromising contextural scabrousness of the physically and spiritually perilous drama. Shakespeare is an abused standard, yes, but a certain act of violence representing profound tragedy at the end of the show's fifth season is a dazzlingly perfect illustration of just how wonderful television can be, with a string of circumstances echoing literature as diverse and superb as Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men and others. It's also a fundamentally noirish show, and you may know that I like noir.
This is a one-time deal at Coleman's Corner, though, so if you want to talk TV, this is your chance. Cinema will be back in full force in the next 36 hours or so with a certain classic Paul Newman picture highlighted.