We watched the finale of The Shield last night, a fact which fills me bittersweet happiness. It was a thoroughly enjoyable series. It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since it started. I'm going to miss marveling at the havoc Vic Mackey and the rest of the Strike Team managed to wreak each week.
The writing on the series was amazing, especially when contrasted with the drivel that passes for entertainment on broadcast TV channels. It was surprising that they didn't have a slow season unlike so many other series. I wish I could say as much for The Sopranos which came close to boring me to tears for much of its last three seasons. Unlike The Sopranos, The Shield's finale was every bit as good as the series had ever been.
I feel the same bittersweet happiness remembering The Wire. It's refreshing to see what a great team of writers including George Pelecanos, who also has an impressive career as a novelist, can create when given the kind of freedom that an innovative network such as HBO can offer.
So where do we turn for TV entertainment now that those two great series have run their course? I'm hopeful that True Blood, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, and Brotherhood will all continue providing us with thoughtful entertainment for years to come. I'm fairly certain that the broadcast networks won't abandon their current fascination with crappy reality TV programs long enough to produce something capable of entertaining people who who have an attention span of longer than 30 seconds any time soon.