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Shield - The Complete Second Season, The

Fox // Unrated // January 6, 2004
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Jason Gann | posted January 4, 2004 | E-mail the Author

The Cast: Michael Chiklis (Detective Vic Mackey),
Catherine Dent (Officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer),
Walton Goggins (Detective Shane Vendrell),
Michael Jace (Officer Julien Lowe),
Kenneth Johnson (Detective Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky),
Jay Karnes (Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach),
Benito Martinez (Captain David Aceveda),
CCH Pounder (Detective Claudette Wyms),
Brian J. White (Detective Tavon Garris)


The Series: The Shield roared on to the tv screen in 2002
with an edgy, gritty look at a small Los Angeles police precinct in the Farmington
district. It received several nominations for Emmy's and Golden Globe awards
and took away
one of
the former and two of the latter. Two of those awards went to Michael Chiklis
for his outstanding performance as a hard nosed cop that straddles the line
of what is right and wrong. The second season was highly anticipated by everyone
and, in my opinion, it is just a strong as the first.


Each episode's focus is spread
between
intertwining story lines the deal with
Detective
Mackey,
the Strike Team, Detective Wyms and Detective Wagenbach, Patrol Officers
Sofer and Lowe and Captain Aceveda. The story line of Vic's family life that
first develops in the first season is continued here with plenty of ups and
downs to continue it through the entire season as a huge focal point for the
character. New stories are introduced when a civilian auditor is placed in
the precinct that causes the Captain and Mackey to form a reluctant alliance.
Detective Wyms takes a proactive look into Mackey's extracurricular activities
that cause a rift between them. The bond that slowly formed between partners
Sofer and Lows is threatened when Sofer is investigated for an officer involved
shooting. Captain Aceveda continues with his political aspirations. The Strike
Team looks to add more to their "Retirement Fund" when they find out about
a money train that runs through L.A. In addition to the season long story arcs;
creative episode long stories help to keep the
momentum
going.


The DVD:



The Picture: Don't expect a
pristine look for the image on these dvd's, "The Shield" uses a very grainy,
hand held 16mm film look to convey the overall feel and tone of the show.
The way "The Shield" is shot never gets in the way of enjoying the story
and really adds to it by making you feel as if you are watching the action
as it happens. There's a voyeuristic feeling when watching this show that
has a way of making the emotions much stronger than watching a perfectly
set up and shot story. Unlike some of the more recent TV dvd box sets to
come out from Fox, " The Shield" keeps the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio for
this set. The colors shift from rich and warm to blown out and washed out
on purpose to further the tones of the scenes.


The Sound: I have to admit, I was a little disappointed
by the absence of a 5.1 track, but the Dolby surround audio that is included,
is very good. The Dolby surround audio included in the
set has a great full range of sound with rich lows, clear mids and crisp
highs forming the overall sounds. The dialogue is out front and easy to
hear, so you don't have to play with the remote when things get going on
screen. The ambience sounds are what would really benefit from a full digital
surround audio track and get the viewer even deeper in the show, but what
they've given to us isn't something to shake a stick at. Maybe with the next
season's box set Fox will add in the 5.1 mix.


The Menus: Just like the first set, the second season uses
static images for the menus. I tend to like the simple menus more than the
elaborate ones. When I want to watch a dvd, the last thing I want to
do is have to sit through a long menu intro before getting to the selections.


The Insert: This is a short, full color booklet that has
a synopsis for each of the 13 episodes, as well as technical information,
a cast list, and quotes from the show and reviews.



Special Features: Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, The Editing
Room, Sound Surgery, Wrap Day, Raising the Barn, Directors' Roundtable, Season
Three
Teaser



Commentaries: Unfortunately, the second season set
doesn't have commentaries for all of the episodes like the first season.
Instead they've included only four with various people involved in making
"The Shield" commenting on various aspects of a particular episode or even
the entire series in general.



Episode 1: The Quick Fix: Commentary by Shawn Ryan, Michael
Chiklis and Benito Martinez. This commentary hits on several subjects including
acting preparation and technique, working with different directors, fan
questions get answered and many other topics are touched upon during the
course of this episode.


Episode 6: Homewrecker: Commentary by Shawn Ryan, Kurt
Sutter, Scott Rosenbaum and Kim Clements. This one starts out with a brief
story about newbie staff writer, Kim Clements and then delves deeper
into the writing process for the group, things they would like to change
about certain scripts for this season, spec scripts and many other subjects.


Episode 12: Breakpoint: Commentary by Shawn Ryan, Barbara
Fiorentino and Rebecca Mangieri. The main focus of this commentary is the
casting for "The Shield". Another brief background story gives information
about the casting directors before getting into the casting process, getting
into the casting business and advice to actors.


Episode 13: Dominoes Falling: Commentary by Shawn Ryan,
Kevin Reilly and Eric Schrier. This commentary deals mainly with the series
in general that has a lot of background information about how "The Shield"
went through the paces to get accepted by the network.



Deleted Scenes: Thirty-five scenes that were taken out
of various episodes mainly for time constraints. A few of the scenes that
weren't cut for time have introductions by Shawn Ryan that explain the
reason they were cut. Like with other deleted scene features, some of these
were easy to see why they were cut.


The Editing Room: Featurette that shows the difference
in editing by showing two versions (Editor's cut and Final Air Version) of
a scene called "Connie gets shot". Shawn Ryan has an optional commentary
available for this feature that gives some good background information on
how editing works on " The Shield"


Sound Surgery: Nice featurette that dissects one scene
by showing the various stages of sound production. Audio tracks available
are; production dialogue, sound effects, ADR, music and composite. Watching
this scene in various audio stages really puts the importance of sound in
relation to the visual aspect.


Wrap Day: A twenty-seven minute documentary that takes
place on the last day of shooting for season two. This one has a great mixture
of
humor
and
behind
the scenes information that makes it fun and informative to watch.


Raising the Barn: Nine minute short with background information
on the set. Kitty Doris-Bates gives a "walk through" of the precinct and explains
how it was transformed
from a real church to a sound stage set.

Director's Roundtable: Q&A session by Shawn Ryan with "The
Shield" directors Peter Horton, Paris Barclay, Scott Brazil. This was a nice
addition to the set that showed four guys making fun of each other while
talking about several aspects of working on the series.


Season Three Teaser: Short black and white commercial for
the third season of "The Shield" on FX.


DVD-ROM Game: I tried this in two different DVD-ROM drives,
but never got it to work.



Final Thoughts: "The Shield" is a hard hitting cop drama
that really stands out from all the other cop shows that has ever been on tv.
It is an extremely well acted and written series that pushes the envelope on
a number of levels. This four disc set is a fine example of what a great box
set should be. In addition to the episodes from season two, the deleted scenes
alone would add up to another, albeit odd, episode in the time category. The
featurettes were informative and interesting and even though the commentaries
didn't really focus on the individual episode that much, they were also a great
source of background information. Sure, there are a few things that I would
change, the biggest being the lack of 5.1
surround
sound,
but
the pros
of this
set
really
outweigh
the cons. The Shield: Complete Second Season is a must have for
anyone that loves gritty cop shows with strong writing and acting from everyone
involved, so I have to rate this one as a DVD Talk Collector Series title.

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