Season four is yet another amazing season for "The Shield."
Don't rely on the low "average" of stars as listed above...it's clear many of the reviewers have issues with things besides the show itself...(the letterbox thing, etc.)
From start to finish, this season was as good as any of the others, and in some ways better.
The obvious difference is Glenn Close. She brings a new vital energy into the mix, and stays away from all the cliches you'd normally expect. Don't prejudge her here.
The cast remains one of the best on TV, present or past. Chiklis has created a character for the TV Hall of Fame, and he is matched in every way by his castmates.
The season-long bad guy is played with startling menace by Anthony Anderson. As Antwon Mitchell, this actor primarily known for comedy will impress you beyond belief.
The season begins with a dissolved Strike Team, a demoted Mackey, and the new Captain (Close).
The old captain, played by Benito Martinez, is dealing with all sorts of personal demons.
The two detectives, played by Jay Karnes and CCH Pounder, deal with being in the D.A.'s doghouse. While it would be easy to go unnoticed when sharing the majority of your scenes with someone as powerful as Pounder, Karnes really has a breakthrough year here.
The two lead cops, Danny and Julien, fill in side stories that weave into the grand tapestry of the whole season.
I must single out Walton Goggins, who's Shane character dares you to take your eyes off of him. You can't. His manic desperation, cocky bravado, and the ability to make the most creative, livid, insulting lines of dialogue sound like poetry are hypnotizing. He has the ability to engender sympathy towards a character so clearly defective in so many mental processes.
The plot and dialogue are again the best in the business. The labyrinthine plot demands careful attention; I almost prefer watching with either the headphones on, or English subtitles, to catch every word.
There are incidents that refer and recall those from seasons past. Sometimes trivially, often not. If you are familiar with the previous three seasons, watch the episodes by first skipping the "previously on The Shield" recaps that start them off. It increases the shock value. It also increases the number of times you'll say "No way" to your TV screen.
This show forces you to examine your own beliefs on crime, punishment, race, religion, law enforcement, poverty, drugs, sex...
My DVD set is fine. No problems with playback. The video quality is sterling, as is the sound. One episode is 16:9, and it looks terrific.
The hour long documentary at the end is a fine way to end your viewing experience.
I understand that this upcoming year of The Shield, beginning soon I think, will be it's last. It will be missed, but gloriously so.
This show is riveting.
I was unable to stop watching it.
When one episode ended, I immediately started up the next one.
I polished the box off in two days, all while being the in-house trauma surgeon at a busy urban hospital on New Year's Eve. I'd pause the show while I went to go take care of a gunshot wound victim, then return to the show when my work was done...so on and so forth until I finished the last episode New Year's Day.
When somebody says they would rather watch a TV show than sleep, that says a lot. Now whether that says something about the show, or the individual I leave to you.