Monday, January 10, 2011

The Shield

With our relocation to Crete for a large portion of the year we decided that paying for Sky all year just for the five months during which we would watch it was a waste of money. Better, we felt, to spend the money on DVDs which could be watched at both locations. In fact, comparing DVD prices to a TV subscription is something many should consider if they feel they need to make savings, especially when taking into consideration how many programs you can get hold of with freeview or freesat now. £20+ a month can buy a lot of DVDs...

So, I've been reading reviews, checking the sites that sell DVDs -- generally seeing what might be available and worth watching. I've heard a lot about The Wire and The Shield so I bought the first seasons of those at £12.89 and £8.49 respectively. I'm presently enjoying Primeval but didn't get to see the last series, so bought all the first three seasons for £15.93.

We've just started watching The Shield, in fact watched the first three episodes in one evening, and it is very enjoyable. This is great because there are 8 seasons for us to see. We'll be giving The Wire a go next. Suggestions on anything else worthwhile are all welcome! 


bhhenry said...

How about:
*Breaking Bad
*Spartacus: Blood and Sand
*Six Feet Under
*Sons of Anarchy
*Twin Peaks

Fader209 said...

Hmmm I love Firefly but I'm not sure it's Neal's cup of tea. Maybe check out Serenity the movie instead as it's much more condensed?

Lost was OK but ultimately the biggest waste of time ever. Terrible script writing.

True Blood is personally my favourite series based TV show recently :)
Or if you fancy something different there is always The Inbetweeners ;)

Neal Asher said...

I loved Rome and I'm a total Dexter addict. I also enjoyed Firefly and the movie. My only problem with series like Firefly (and, for example, Battlestar) is franchise extending then cancelling. I'll take a look at some of those others. Spartacus: Blood and Sand looks interesting.

Chrish said...

Like we said before: 'Six feet under'! But maybe not enough action for you.....for us it's the best television we ever saw. (9.2 on the scale of imdb!)And remember, also starring Michael C.Hall...
Brand new is 'Boardwalk empire'
about the start of the prohibition in the Usa.
'Deadwood' is fun (Ian McShane), about the wild, wild west, very creative swearing!
'Mad men' about advetising agency in New York beginning of the sixties, non stop smoking and drinking at work hahaha!
Don't know if you like to laugh?
If you do try 'Curb your enthousiasm' made by Larry David, co creator of Seinfeld, best comedy I ever saw. Hilarious!
Kings is also interesting
(also with Ian McShane),
8.3 on the scale of imdb!

Phil M said...

Never got round to "The Shield" but Mrs Phil says "The Wire" is excellent.
How about:
Rescue Me
Family Guy
Band of Brothers
The Pacific

Of course you can (cough)download for free, these programmes.....bit torrent is your friend!

Shaun said...

The Wire is just brilliant.

At no point will you find a better dramatic exploration of both the penal-industrial complex and, ironically, how Big Pharma works.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

Breaking Bad (first choice for ya), Metalocalypse, Venture Brothers, Eastbound and Down

just saw all of Boardwalk Empire. forget it. read the book.

Afront said...

I loved The Shield, sad to see it end but it had a magnificent run and got to tell its story to completion.

The Wire is even more essential, and I'd second bhhenry's suggestions of Breaking Bad.

ILTYT_Adventure said...

One word: Lovefilm

AndyB said...

Not sure if it'll be your thing, but in addition to many of the suggestions here I think Fringe is worth a try, if only for John Noble's utterly brilliant performance. There aren't many actors who can be laugh-out-loud funny, genuinely disturbing and heart-wrenchingly sympathetic all in the same scene, let alone while spouting pseudo-scientific nonsense. =)

Thud said...

Some great choices from all here but the lesser known black donnellys is pretty good plus the new show justified is showing promise.

Neal Asher said...

Excellent - I've got a lot to check out, thanks.

Chrish, Caroline has ordered Six Feet Under so we'll be checking that out soon.

Spencer said...

The sheild is pretty good, but the wire really is magnificent as many people above have stated. And although it was cancelled, Deadwood is also brilliant, the dialogue is so sharp, the whole program is so immersive. Six Feet Under was pretty strong all the way through, i saw Michael C Hall in that first, Peter Krause is awesome too. And finnaly again, breaking bad is one of the best current ones, it will be returning with its fourth series this summer. Oh, and for new films, True Grit will be out here soon. Coen brothers. I got sent a copy by a yank freind. Its excellent.

Unknown said...

Ooh if you haven't caught it, I'd recommend The Sopranos. I bought the box set of The Wire & The Sopranos for Guy and thought the Wire wasn't my thing, the Sopranos is amazing television. And of course there's B5 & Stargate boxsets out there that are well worth the money :)

Jebel Krong said...

the shield was probably the best show on tv until it finished. thankfully it didn't fluctuate in quality in any season and felt true to the end - unlike battlestar (in particular), for example.

the only other tv show i ever make an effort to catch is Fringe - and that is one that started off ok, but has gotten better and better with each season.

Variant13 said...

Spartacus, definately Spartacus! Its Rome meets the 300, absolutely mesmerising.

Unknown said...

I would recomend The Walking Dead, one of the best tv shows i have seen in years and the comic its based on is even better. The fact that it has zombies in it might put people off but it is more about the characters and how they react to events and grow as characters that makes the show and comic great

Giant68 said...

Like Kez says, Sopranos was excellent. Also Boston Legal with William Shatner and James Spader, at times one of the funniest programs on TV. And on others the saddest as William Shatners character falls victim to alzheimers.


Andrew said...

My father in law is trying out internet tv at the moment combined with freeview.

The quality of the streaming television is quite impressive.

He uses a wireless dongle and has a 20 MB connection though.

Would seriously consider it if the rest of the family could do without Sky 1 and Playhouse Disney!

Fringe is good. I don't think it stacks up with regards to established scientific theory etc etc but as far as entertainment concerned we enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Thirding Breaking Bad.

Season (Series) 5 of Dexter just finished airing in the US, not sure when it's available. So good.

Fringe! Though the first season is subpar until about halfway, and yeah, the 'science' is, uh, iffy. Excellent show tho.

Supernatural. Great story arcs, and it's continually gotten better.

The Walking Dead. Bloody, gory, awesome zombie show. Only 6 episodes out, with a 13 ep order for next season.

Lie to Me

I would pass on Lost, for the same reasons as Fader209

Friso said...

Piling on with my current favourites list:

Breaking Bad
The Walking Dead
Boardwalk Empire
Sons of Anarchy

All these are excellent television. I could never get into Damages, although I'm told by other people it is excellent as well.

Neal Asher said...

I've been checking out some of the previews on, Spencer, and Breaking Bad does lok interesting.

I've got the B5 box sets, Kez.

Yeah, I'm going to get the first series of Fronge, Jebel. I just hope it's not a go nowhere thing like the X-Files.

I've looked at some bits from Spartacus, Variant13, and will be getting it when it's on sale.

Not so sure about Boston Legal, Giant68 since even though I love SFF I still fnid it difficult to suspend sufficient belief to accept lawyers as heroic. This was why I had my doubts about Damages, which Friso mentions, but at least in that the lawyers are protrayed in a way acceptable to me.

Andrew, with DVDs, freeview seems quite enough to me. All I really need to do is study Radio Times a bit more intensively.

The Walking Dead seems to be one the boss of Tor Macmillan seems to be into judging by the tweets, spaceoperaghost. I may check it out.

Jebel Krong said...

fringe starts off a little bit x-files, but as it finds it's feet towards the end of the first season it really takes off and gets very cool (and it has leonard nimoy in it for a couple of episodes - how cool is that?). really it ends up in some very different and interesting places as you progress (parallel worlds no less).

heard nothing but good things about the walking dead, though it's only a 6-part first season, i've never been a big fan of zombies, but frank darabont has good cred, everyone i know who has seen it says it's amazing.

Antony said...

Hmm looks like most of my suggestions have already been, well suggested!

I'd like to second (or third whatever) The Walking Daed - just finished that first series myself (only 6 episodes i think) but it has already been renewed for next year.

Fringe is good - even though the wife still thinks as one of the main characters as Pacey from Dawsons Creek.

Spartacus is good, though it has a few explicit(ish) sex scenes which had me doing some explaining when my wife woke up mid-scene and thought I'd put something else on instead!

lubertdas said...

I'll disagree with some comments and wholeheartedly recommend LOST... it's definitely worth it over the long haul.

I'll also second someone's mention of "Justified", which was the best new TV show produced last year.

marcella faustini said...

Walking Dead, first episode had so much potential. Solid, then....

j purdie said...

I've been doing this for years; first with videos then DVDs. You can get into a series better this way rather than trying to follow it on a weekly basis.

You've got a roller-coaster ride coming with The Shield, one of the best programmes ever. The Wire is also brilliant but I felt it got too soap boxy from Season 3 onwards.

Only 2 seasons and several years old but if you can find Dead Like Me you should enjoy it immensely. Wickedly funny take on the after life and bloody good drama to boot.

freegnu said...

I recommend Eastbound and Down. A real oblivious bumble of life expressed as a game of limbo. How low can he go. It's like Curb Your Enthusiasm with the main character on steroids and suffering the 9 levels of financial and social hell one after the other. I can't wait for the 3rd season.
I second Curb Your Enthusiasm. Each episode stands on it's own and can be watched independently of each other because you can always count on the fact that the main character probably did something wrong when there are references to previous events. The last season throws you for a loop from the start by failing to explain the changed circumstances of his personal situation.
Shameless just started up in the US and it's a real obliviously light hearted romp through the school of hard knocks. A real lesson in how it could definitely be worse and how a smile can be used to keep yourself from crying.
Hung has had at least a couple of seasons already and I can't wait for the next season.
Big Love is a real soap opera and is one of those series that acts like they own you and can drag everything out as long as they want. Although the current season seems to be trying to pick up the pace.
TED Talks at has the latest and the greatest developments in the world straight from the horse's mouth. You can download them from iTunes, as a podcast or direct from the site for free. I get the latest one's as a channel on my Roku. It took me over a year to play catch up as they have uploaded the bulk of their catalog of their 20 minute talks going back over a decade. Covers tech, science, entertainment, politics, etc. Speaks range from Bill Gates to Al Gore and scientists to musicians.
Spartacus series already has a prequel season which just finished called Gods of the Arena. I caught the whole thing on Netflix the day after each air date.
Futurama is a must as a mental check against believing the future may seem as cartoonish as Futurama. They have tons of very well thought through references to time travel, robots, space travel, aliens, the rise and fall of civilizations etc that are as tongue in cheek as they are appropriate.