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By Nicholas Ray

When The protect first seemed on US tv in March 2002, it broke scores documents with the top audience-rated unique sequence most advantageous in cable background. during its next seven-season run, the exhibit went directly to win overseas popularity of its abrasive depiction of an city American dystopia and the systemic political and juridical corruption feeding it. the 1st e-book devoted to the research of this immensely profitable sequence, Interrogating "The guard" brings jointly ten serious essays, written from quite a few methodological and theoretical views. issues variety from an exploration of the sequence’ derivation, style, and creation, to expositions of the ethics, aesthetics, and politics of the exhibit.

As could be anticipated from a multiauthored assortment, this quantity doesn't search to offer a homogenized account of The protect. The convey is variously applauded and critiqued. of their serious type, besides the fact that, the essays during this ebook are a testomony to the cultural value and artistic complexity of the sequence. As such, they seem to be a reminder of the renewed strength of caliber tv drama today.

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Steven Bochco and Hill Street Blues veteran David Milch created NYPD Blue. Stylish and frenetic in its pace, NYPD Blue aspired to be, according to Bochco, the first R-rated television series for its use of nudity and foul language (B. Carter 1992). The controversy that this content generated temporarily concealed the program’s greatest contribution to the police genre: New York Police Department detective Andy Sipowicz. Played by one of the Hill Street Blues stars, Dennis Franz, Sipowicz was introduced in the pilot show as a drunk, racist, homophobic, and sloppy cop who lies on the stand at a trial and responds to a reprimand by a female prosecutor by grabbing his crotch.

However—and this is what makes The Shield interesting from a television studies point of view—the visual style of gritty realism, the unflinching violence, the choppy editing, and the mobile handheld multicamera filming often work against the obvious effects of television melodrama. The Shield works to position us as if we were watching a documentary or similar actuality genre. Its visual style seems to contain, to circumvent, and even to “shield” the soapy elements and melodramatic narrative pleasures rooted in ongoing character relations, emotional outbursts, and hierarchies of narrative knowledge.

With shows such as Six Feet Under (2001–2005), The Wire (2002–2008), and The Sopranos (1999–2007), the premium subscription cable channel HBO led the way in quality television productions beyond the networks. With The Shield (as well as with the equally controversial show Nip/Tuck [2003–10]), FX followed suit in seeking to maintain a distinctive voice for original cable programming. The Shield successfully accomplished this task despite being associated with basic cable’s more thrifty economic models of production.

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