Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Love The Shield? Check this out...

As previously stated, I love US cop drama The Shield. It features a lead character aptly described as Al Capone with a badge, but Michael Chiklis's portrayal of Vic Mackie is so charismatic you want him to get away with murder. The first half of Season 5 finished in America last night with a 90-minute finale. After a few weeks off the show's makers return to filming next month to shoot another 10 episodes. Whether or not The Shield will come back after that remains undecided...

In the US the show is broadcast on cable network FX, while in the UK it airs on Channel 5. Alas, where we live in Scotland you need a satellite dish to watch Channel 5 - something we don't possess. So our enjoyment of The Shield depends upon importing the latest release on DVD. If you want to know more about The Shield, paste this URL [ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5261072] into your browser or click the headline on this post. That should take you to an interview with The Shield's creator, Shawn Ryan.

He's been working with acclaimed playwright David Mamet on a new TV series called The Unit that's getting good numbers in the US. It's about a special unit carrying out black bag operations, and about their families back home, how the job affects the people they love. The interview is with both scribes talking about The Unit at first, then shifts to focus on Ryan and The Shield. Illuminating stuff, especially when Ryan talks about how he uses interrogation scenes in his show.

The two writers hooked up after Mamet wrote and directed an episode of The Shield, a real corker it was too. I can't wait to see what Mamet and Ryan have cooked up working together on The Unit. The new show stars Dennis Haysbert, best known lately for playing President David Palmer on 24. [Please, no spoilers about Season 5 of 24, okay - I don't want to know what happens!] Anybody seen The Unit, want to share their opinions of it? Grud only know when it'll reach the UK...

3 comments:

Rob Spalding said...

A very brief review of The Unit is - Ultimate force with snappier direction and better actors.
If you have seen Spartan, A Mamet film starring Val Kilmer, then that gives you the tone that the series delivers.
I'm enjoying it so far.

Oh, if you don't like Ultimate Force, that makes you a girl, by the way ;)

Lee said...

Ultimate Force? Pah! Bunch of pansies. Put Ross Kemp in a room with Lewis Collins from Who Dares Wins and we'll see who ends up in the corner, crying for his nurse.

I've got three improperly aquired episodes of The Unit to take a look at, so I'll get back to you.

Clemmo said...

I've seen the first two episodes of The Unit, and it's very much like Spartan. "Mamet does 24" might also be a way of summing it up. The dialogue is good, there is nothing wrong with the actors, and Mamet has a great concentration on the female cast members -- typically for him, he's more interested in the life and stresses of the women who wait for their menfolk to come home "with your shield or on it" than he is in the men themselves. The end result is Desperate Housewives, with regular cutaways to a war movie. My feeling was that, ultimately, I was watching Mission Impossible with nobs on, so, Mamet's great theatricalities aside, it wasn't ground-breaking, just diverting. Still doesn't beat the West Wing, or the Shield. At least not yet.

The first episode featured extended Afghan scenes in subtitled Pashtu, which is always a winner with me. Although, and I hate to sound like a spod, episode two features a bit of business with a dead-man switch that got the whole concept backwards.