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Here we go again!
on 12 July 2008
Anyone who read my review of Season 1 of The Shield is probably wondering why I subjected myself to this, the second season. My review for those who haven't read it (and why would you have) wasn't overly complimentary, in fact, it almost bordered on the negative. Well visiting the US on holiday earlier this year I caught an episode of Season 2 and for some reason felt a certain affection for the characters (particularly Dutch boy) and also realised that I quite missed a series with plot lines so bad they're funny. So to cut a long story the same length I purchased Season 2.
Now I'm not sure if with age my critical eye is becoming a little myopic or if I have developed a certain affection for The Shield like that for a really annoying friend who you have known for many years, but I quite enjoyed Season 2. Don't get me wrong, essentially the programme is no different. The acting by the strike team is still laughable at times, the storylines are mostly plain silly and the show has absolutely no hold on reality at all. However much of the acting by the supporting cast is in fact very good, the show has a dark moody atmosphere, and rattles along at a good pace witout ever being boring. Where the show lets itself down is that it has no hold on reality. I kind of worry that a generation of kids is growing up thinking that Police work is incredibly exciting and just so easy (take CSI for instance). In The Shield there is a simple solution to every problem. Got a troublesome drug kingpin in town? Well why not just burn his face on the electric cooker that'll solve that one. Or if you deperately need to know the whereabouts of a gang member, burst into his girlfriend's house and pretend you are going to rape her until she gives up the required information (why is that technique not in all Police manuals?). Then need to dispose of said drug kingpin, in case he tells someone you burnt him on the hob, well just get a patsy to stab him for you. Now that wasn't difficult was it?
I appreciate that the show is meant to be raw, mean, gritty and brutal but surely it needs some hold on reality to make it believable. The idea that a Police Officer could run amok in the way that Vic Mackey does is patently absurd though if rather amusing.
Having said all this, I think the show is quite fun if you don't take it too seriously and it is very easy viewing after a long day killing at the abattoir.