Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shawn Ryan's 'The Shield' (FX, 2002-2008): Take One

The FX series The Shield (2002-2008) remains fresh, relevant, thoughtful and scary. It works on many levels, focusing on denizens in and around "The Barn," a provisional LAPD outpost with a zone of control in "The Farm."  The tone of the series is gritty and sharp. There's a mix of taut drama, comedic elements and bursts of violence indistinguishable from a contemporary war zone. The Shield fearlessly explores transactions of race, culture, socio-economic class, gender, greed, unexpected kindnesses, and all kinds of weaponry put to mostly dubious use. To boot, the series displays strong primary, secondary and tertiary characters, plot and pacing. 
The characters in The Shield are a mixed but memorable bag. One of my favorites is Van Bro (played by David Raibon), ex-gang member and survivor, albeit with an eye patch and a wheelchair; during the time of the series he's a street artist with an ear to the ground. "I'd appreciate if you kept Van Bro's name out your mouth," he quips to The Strike Team at one point. Van Bro doesn't appear often, but one certainly can remember him once he's introduced, from early on.
Another thread to watch for in The Shield is the Shogun and Game of Thrones style ambition, rivalry and usually thwarted or diverted resolution among a field of characters that range from new cops to old captains, from baby bangers to drug kingpins. Throughout, there's an endless quest in the grand scheme of things, but a quite finite one for most involved.

Today's Rune: Defense.    

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I started out watching this when it came out and really liked it. then school hit hard and I missed a few episodes and never got back to it. It's one I plan to get the season DVDs of though.