Shield Laws - Macleans.ca

Shield Laws

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Nothing much to add to this item, but it’s good that we’re finally going to see the last season of The Shield, starting in September.

The Shield reminds me a bit of The Wire, not just because they’re both gritty cable crime shows but because they’re both hugely acclaimed shows whose impact seems to be a bit muted. Or is that just my perception? You see other successful cable programs inspiring imitators (on cable and the networks), and becoming cultural phenomena to the point that even people who don’t watch them know them enough to make fun of them. I don’t really see that happening with these shows; Vic Mackey is an Emmy-winning character but he doesn’t have the cultural recognition of a Tony Soprano, let alone an Andy Sipowicz. I don’t know if it has something to do with the lack of an obvious gimmick with which these shows can establish themselves in the public mind (I think HBO’s problem with The Wire has always been that it doesn’t have an easily marketable gimmick; it’s different, but it doesn’t sound different when you describe it), or if it’s just to do with promotion — FX has had a number of good shows, though all of them including The Shield seem to run out of steam a bit, but their promotion of their shows beyond their own basic viewership has sometimes been a little iffy.

Update: See comments for an explanation of why I may be mis-reading The Shield‘s impact based on the fact that it’s not promoted much in Canada; it may be bigger in the States. I will note, however, that it is simply a sign of patriotism that I don’t notice anything that happens outside of the homeland.

Also, The Shield has been cited as one of the top 10 most influential basic-cable shows of all time.

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