Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Shield Season 4

The fact that I'm running through the entire lot of The Shield is proof enough that this series has a lot to offer, but by this season the characters are well worn-in, so what can be done to mix it up a bit?

Well firstly, your best bet is to get some kudos by drafting in some established acting talent such as Glenn Close. Her new captain is astoundingly well formed and you can tell Close has a point to prove. She brings a lot of weight and depth to the entire series and proves that American TV is overtaking Hollywood in risks and overall quality. The Shield would only work on TV and though there are many good films dealing with the same subject, by getting to season 4 this set shows that characters need time to fully develop in front of your eyes, and it's quite a sight to see.

Vic almost takes a bit of a back seat in this series to let some others breathe a bit more. After his problems with promotion, there are signs that he's close to packing it all in - that he's ready to self-destruct, but when bigger problems come into play, then he gets his priorities straight. Close's Captain is fantastic and a great counterpart to Vic, she understands him but doesn't necessarily agree with him, which is probably the best way to deal with him. She also knows you have to break some eggs to make an omelet and usually those eggs are someones balls. Hey yo!

But this really doesn't live up to the last series. The main issue being is that the main bad guy is 'that funny black man' from the Scary Movie films but you might know him as Anthony Anderson. His character becomes anything but intimidating. How the hell does anyone take orders from this guy? He ruins it all and make the whole thing seem like we just needed a friendly black face rather than someone who would believably be a bad-ass cop killer. You're just waiting for him to crack a joke any second and it feels like he's trying to prove his acting chops. Which isn't right for The Shield. There must have been better talent out there. He's not exactly Stringer Bell.

Shane also comes into his own again. His character gets better and better and when watching the behind-the-scenes footage, you can see why. This guy takes his character seriously. Dutch also earns himself some respect from the department, even when taking the risky move of going out with Vic's ex. But the overall narrative is Close's character seizing assets belonging to criminals to auction them, and then hand the money back into the police and the community. But this causes more problems than you think. Aceveda is also going off the rails a bit and his power trip goes through the roof. So there's enough parallel storylines to keep the short-term viewer interested as well as revealing new secrets about characters we thought we knew well.

Overall, this doesn't shock as much as the last series but Glenn Close takes centre stage and chews up everything around her. However, Anderson's Antwon character just buggers it all up really. Not exactly a let down, but could have been better.

Rating: 7/10

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