Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Blu-ray Review: The Shield: The Complete Series

Mill Creek Entertainment; AMAZON

Now available on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment is The Shield: The Complete Series (TV-MA; $229.98; 70 hours 23 minutes). All 88 episodes have been remastered in 4K. The 18-disc set features all the special features that were included on the previously released DVD sets, as well as brand-new special features exclusively for this release.

Created by Shawn Ryan, The Shield aired on FX from 2002 to 2008. The series centered around Detective Vic Mackey (played by Michael Chiklis), a corrupt police officer who is the leader of a Strike Team in the fictional Farmington district (a.k.a. - "the Farm") of Los Angeles. His team includes Detective Shane Vendrell (played by Walton Goggins), Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemansky (played by Kenny Johnson), and Detective Ronnie Gardocki (played by David Rees Snell). There was a fifth member of the team, Detective Terry Crowley (played by Reed Diamond), but he was killed off at the very end of the pilot episode.

Mackey tries to have a normal life, but his marriage to Corrine (played by Cathy Cahlin Ryan) is very rocky at best. After learning that both their two younger children have autism, Mackey is more than determined to give them the best care for them, which leads to him breaking the law on multiple occasions.

At work, Mackey is constantly in trouble with his superiors, Captain David Segovia, Captain Monica Rawling, and Captain Claudette Wyms (played by Benito Martinez, Glenn Close, and CCH Pounder), as well as Detective Dutch Wagenbach (played by Jay Karnes), who all would like to expose Mackey for who he truly is - a corrupt cop!

Other cast members include Catherine Dent, Michael Jace, Paula Garc├ęs, and David Marciano.

Brand-New Special Features are:
  • The Shield Reunion” – cast & crew reunion special to reminisce and reflect on being a part of this landmark series.
  • The Shield: A Retrospective” – a look back at the lasting impact the series has had on TV and how its themes are still relevant today.
  • Restoring The Shield” – a behind-the-scenes look at the technological processes involved in the High Definition upgrade.
  • The Critical Response to The Shield” – how critics initially received the series and if/how their opinions changed throughout the duration of the series’ run.
  • "The Shield Writers Room" Reunion from the ATX Festival Panel.

Older Special Features are:
  • Cast & Crew Commentaries
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Season 1 Epilogue
  • Wrap Day: Season 3 Teaser
  • "Breaking Episode #315" Making-of Documentary
  • "Under the Skin" Featurette
  • "Delivering the Baby" Featurette
  • Wins and Losses - Season 6 Prequel
  • Season 6 Featurettes
    • Saturn's Sons
    • Two Directors
    • Full Circles: Franka Potente
  • Nobody Expects to Lose, Nobody Expects to Die: The Shield's Final Season
  • Last Call: The Final Episode

Final Thoughts

There are many die hard fans who have been patiently waiting for favorite cop series The Shield to be released to Blu-ray ever since the creator Shawn Ryan announced the entire series was being remastered to 4K (1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1:78:1) back in 2015. I, for one, was a little worried about what the picture quality would look like. The Shield has a grainy/gritty look to it for many scenes and my fear that it would be lost when remastered. The good news is that none of the gritty scenes were lost. The picture quality looks the same as it did when it original aired on FX, but with better colors and sound (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround).

The box case is really nice. It opens up from side and stays closed thanks to a few hidden magnets. Once opened, you can pull out the disc book which features a police badge on the cover. The first page features a letter to Shield fans from Shawn Ryan. Thereafter, there is a glossy scene photo on the left side and the right side is a cardboard disc sleeve containing the disc. All the episodes titles and descriptions are listed on the sleeve page. Each of the 18 discs pages are exactly like this, but with different photos on the opposite page. There are selective commentaries and deleted scenes on Discs 1 - 16. Discs 17 & 18 contain the bonus features, including the new cast reunion.

Overall, I was extremely impressed by The Shield: The Complete Series Blu-ray. It's one of the best put-together box sets that I have ever seen for a television series. It's definitely a must-have for any Shield fan!

*Note : I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. 
All opinions are my own.

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