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Which is the better show- The Shield vs. The Sopranos [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Which is the better show- The Shield vs. The Sopranos


johnglass
03-09-04, 11:54 AM
I realize they are different (although very similar in ways), but I'm curious as to what show people enjoy more- the Shield or Sopranos.

For me the Sopranos ruled the top spot until the slightly weaker fourth season (and long hiatus), which allowed the Shield to overtake it. It's more like a #1 and #1A, but I think the Shield is a stronger show right now.

Red Dog
03-09-04, 12:02 PM
I've caught up with The Shield. A very good show, but I think Sopranos is still a better show.

That being said, I think Nip/Tuck (if only 1 season) is the best show on television.

das Monkey
03-09-04, 12:08 PM
Overall, <i>The Sopranos</i> ... currently, <i>The Shield</i>. <i>The Shield</i> will need a few more seasons of greatness to eclipse <i>The Sopranos</i> overall.

das

Groucho
03-09-04, 12:13 PM
Annie Hall

Barings
03-09-04, 12:32 PM
I've seen seasons 1-3 of the Sopranos, but didn't care for the psychiatry "gimmick" and the issues with his mother. To me, it seemed an excuse to delve in his character and background rather than revealing it in a more natural manner.

I also think The Shield does a better job of examining the grey areas of the Vic's ethics and character. Whereas Tony justifies his actions as a family man, both personally and professionally, to "turn off" his conscience, I found that I was utterly indifferent to him. Also, everyone seems to love a charming mobster. ;)

I think the popularity of the show has to do with being on a premium channel (HBO), so the "exclusivity" or lack of access by the general viewing audience resulted in a lot of hype and buzz surrounding the show.

Shaun Ryan has, IMHO, done a better job of examining the duality of Vic's nature through his actions and surroundings. He's done things that are completely diametrically opposed in terms of right and wrong, but he's a fascinating character. Also, he assembled a very strong supporting cast to challenge Vic.

Also, the pilot and the season two finale of Shield are among the two best episodes that I have seen, especially the first episode and how it sets up the central character.

Jackskeleton
03-09-04, 01:01 PM
The Sopranos Production Valuie beats The Shield. While I love both, The Sopranos wins by a noise.

Geofferson
03-09-04, 01:21 PM
I was pondering this same question over the weekend. It's a tough call, but The Sopranos wins out in my book - but not by much.

Red Dog was right about Nip/Tuck. IMO, it is arguably the best show on TV (right up there with The Sopranos and The Shield).

das Monkey
03-09-04, 01:22 PM
No love for <i>The Wire</i>? :)

das

spainlinx0
03-09-04, 01:31 PM
Originally posted by das Monkey
No love for <i>The Wire</i>? :)

das

Thank this forum for introducing me to this show. I have watched both seasons and I am dying for season 3. Get on the DVD's already. I wouldn't even mind paying HBO pricing for these.

Tommy Ceez
03-09-04, 02:03 PM
I picked the Shield, because it leaves you more satisfied week in week out....

...BUT!

I must say that we should give the Sopranos some slack...It definitally started out to be heavily based on I, Claudius...but with the actress who played Livia dying, and the actor potreying A.J. sucking ass (I see that AJ could have been planned to become the Claudius character) it seems that the show has gone totally directionless, without the creator admitting it...

...ah, what could have been!

Anyone not understanding what I said should rent the 13 episode BBC miniseries I Claudius. Besides being a fantastic stage play type Roman epic, it has the most kick ass villainess ever...Sian Philips' Livia, the mini-inspiration for Livia Soprano.

nickdawgy
03-09-04, 02:24 PM
Never seen any episodes of the Shield, so I can only say Sopranos :D

johnglass
03-09-04, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Red Dog
I've caught up with The Shield. A very good show, but I think Sopranos is still a better show.

That being said, I think Nip/Tuck (if only 1 season) is the best show on television.

Well if The Shield/Sopranos are #1 and #1A for me, Nip/Tuck is definitely a high #2. I just don't put it in the same league as the other two yet, but give it another season or two and I may change my mind.

GuessWho
03-09-04, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by nickdawgy
Never seen any episodes of the Shield, so I can only say Sopranos :D
Same here

Red Dog
03-09-04, 02:49 PM
One thing I will say about The Shield is that it is certainly more consistent in quality week to week compared to Sopranos.

Jimmy James
03-09-04, 04:46 PM
I like to think of The Shield as equal parts of Angel, Oz, and Homicide. No other show currently on the air (even Angel) can compete with it in my book.

The Sopranos is by far my favorite of the current HBO shows, but I take way points from all of the HBO shows because they don't have to work with the same constraints that network/basic cable shows do. I can only imagine what we would see on The Shield if it was on HBO...

johnglass
03-09-04, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Jimmy James
The Sopranos is by far my favorite of the current HBO shows, but I take way points from all of the HBO shows because they don't have to work with the same constraints that network/basic cable shows do. I can only imagine what we would see on The Shield if it was on HBO...

Is the Shield really that resticted? It seems like they've pushed the envelope for what can be shown on basic cable (although I guess technically anything can be shown on basic cable). They commonly have nudity, swearing, and one in a while you might catch a jar of semen! :yack:

slop101
03-09-04, 05:06 PM
It's a pretty damn close call for me, but I have to go with Sopranos because it has a bit more depth to it - although Sopranos does have twice as many episodes out than Shield does.

Jimmy James
03-09-04, 05:10 PM
It's not entirely about how far sex and violence can be pushed -- it's also about the pressure of the network selling commercials. I really feel as though the controversial nature of the sexuality of one character would be dealt with more explicitly if Shawn Ryan didn't have to worry about FX getting squeezed by sponsors who themselves would be getting squeezed by conservative groups.

As to the more conventional stuff that you think of when this comes up, I think you'd see the violence dialed up a bit more if the show were on HBO, and I think you'd definitely see a difference in nudity. Just imagine how different certain nude scenes in The Sopranos would have been on FX to get a sense of that.

das Monkey
03-09-04, 05:18 PM
Stories are stories. I love a good (female ;)) nude scene as much as the next guy, but who cares. More swearing, more nudity. Those things don't make a show great. If HBO shows are better than others, it's because the execs keep their hands off the shows and let creative people ... wait for it ... create. Whether I see Julian's dong or not, his story is just as compelling. What more could they do -- to his <i>story</i> -- on HBO that they don't already do?

I really don't buy this stuff about HBO having an unfair advantage because of censorship. If they have any advantage, it's that they don't pander to the lowest common denominator by dumbing down their shows for higher viewership to appease advertisers. But then, the same appears to be true for the major 3 original series from FX.

das

Jimmy James
03-09-04, 05:35 PM
I think you make good points, and I don't put as much stock into this as others do. At the same time, the difference does exist, and I think it's appropriate to bring it up in a discussion like this one.

I don't want to see the Emmys segregate the pay TV shows. I don't segregate my own top shows list in this manner either. Instead, I ask myself whether I think a show is limited by its outlet and take that into consideration when making such lists. While I discussed it as a negative against the Sopranos, that's not really the way I perceive it when dealing with multiple shows. In that case, I consider the standards of each network, the need for the show to go beyond those standards, and how I think those standards hurt the show in terms of reaching all of its plot goals. It's not as simple as pay>basic>network -- I'm certain that there are basic cable networks that don't want to push things as far as FX or possibly even as far as Fox do.

If story was all that mattered, there would no reason to ever depict sex even as explicitly as FX does or to ever use the naughty words that standards and practices get so upset over. Realism and credibility are also important, and there just isn't a way to go some places even on FX like you can on HBO. That isn't an unfair advantage -- that's just how things are. Some artists have chosen to accept a smaller potential audience in exchange for fewer limits, and others have made the other choice.

I think there is a lot of room for individuals to have different opinions on this matter. I can't really argue too much with your position or the position of a person who feels it is fundamentally unfair for the HBO shows to go up against CSI or The West Wing when it comes to awards. I just want to make sure I clearly express my point of view. :)

das Monkey
03-09-04, 05:45 PM
Jimmy James

I just want to make sure I clearly express my point of view. :)
You have done so very well, and that's great. I hope I didn't somehow imply otherwise.

I ask this, though: do you really feel there's a lack of credible realism in <i>The Shield</i>? I would think it would be easier to argue that it's more unrealistically over the top than the reverse.

I am, however, one of those who thinks it's fundamentally unfair for <i>CSI</i> to go up against HBO shows ... because it's nowhere near as good. :)

das

Jimmy James
03-09-04, 05:57 PM
You did no such thing -- I'm trying to make it clear when I discuss things on the Internet that I'm not just trying to get into a fight. My hope is that this can be my part in restoring civility to the Internet.

My argument would be that The Shield might not be quite so unrealistically over the top if it had the sort of freedom that HBO gives its shows. I do feel frustrated a couple of times a season when I can see the show pull back because it just can't go where a show like The Sopranos would be free to go.

das Monkey
03-09-04, 06:02 PM
Just to be clear, I <i>am</i> trying to get into a fight. First I'll lull you into a false sense of security by making you think I'm really interested in your opinions, and when you're not looking -- *BANG* -- bullet to the forehead, Mackey-style.

Seriously, can you clarify where it's not "free to go"? I guess I'm just not seeing where <i>The Shield</i> could take itself if freed from the admittedly loose restrictions of FX.

das

Tuan Jim
03-09-04, 07:21 PM
I chose Shield because I have yet to see a single episode of "The Sopranos" -- never having subscribed to HBO. I may pick it up on DVD eventually, but it's not high on my list at the moment.

lewisb73
03-09-04, 10:24 PM
While Sopranoe for years was my favorite TV show... in the past year and a half i have caught up with the Shield beginning with my purchase of Season 1 for about 20 bucks at a local shop... that said I have to give the edge to the Shield the main reason is it seems the Sopranos leaves ALOT of loose threads hanging, I watch The Shield and wonder how they can cram so much into one hour (minus commercials)... although I must admit both respective shows pilot episodes are some of the finest tv I have ever seen

Jimmy James
03-09-04, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by das Monkey
Seriously, can you clarify where it's not "free to go"? I guess I'm just not seeing where <i>The Shield</i> could take itself if freed from the admittedly loose restrictions of FX.


I think the show could have taken us more realistically into the Julian character as I mentioned earlier, into Connie's whoredom, and into Vic's extramarital relationships. It's really hard to know if that's what Ryan would have done if he had the chance, but I know I felt the story moving in each of those directions before being frustrated by their treatment.

Buck Turgidson
03-10-04, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by das Monkey
No love for <i>The Wire</i>? :)

das

Each of the last two years I've watched the Emmys, SAG awards and Globes and thought "Where the bloody blue Hell is Dominic West, you morons!"

The Wire is the best show on TV. Bar none. The Shield is a close second.

I always like Gandolfini's work, but when he's not on screen, I find myself looking at the clock. A lot.

das Monkey
03-10-04, 01:37 AM
Yeah! Come on, you pop culture junkies -- E!, EW, ET, <s>er</s>! You know you want to hop on this show like you've loved it from Day One, only to tear it apart in a year when you tire of its brilliance. Other HBO shows get this kind of faux love; why can't <i>The Wire</i>? :(

das

Tommy Ceez
03-10-04, 10:53 AM
I will say that if you were to offer me a boxed set of a future season I would be torn between The Wire and The Shield.

boredsilly
03-10-04, 11:55 AM
Between the two, I would say "The Shield" is the one I prefer. The show covers a lot of area, with so much going on it boggles my mind. The Vic character is just a joy to follow. He's so dynamic and rich. Also "The Shield", while being deep, is just a fun show. I come away from nearly each ep feeling like I've just got off of a rollercoaster (how much do I sound like a tool now? but its how I feel<g>). The show also has fabulous payoffs. It's got the fast paced action of an Alias, the emotion of Six Feet Under, and the fun of Angel.

The Soprano's to me can be boring at times. They do have great payoffs, and tremendous dramatic actiong (Falco owns), but the show is just a little more artsy (not that its a bad thing, just not my cup of tea) and seems to try too hard sometimes. I also don't care about quite a few of the secondary characters, whereas I love all the characters on The Shield (well Julian gets on my nerves a bit).

I don't really think The Shield could do anything more if it were on HBO or some other pay channel. Sure they could show Julian and Thomas getting it on, and basically more nudity, but really it wouldn't add much. The show is already risque, even by pay tv standards, and the extra "shock" isn't really needed.

Shannon Nutt
03-10-04, 01:13 PM
Wow - I can't believe voting is this close. 10 years from now, people will still be talking about THE SOPRANOS. 10 years from now no one will remember THE SHIELD, as edgy and good as it is now. THE SHIELD is a good TV show, THE SOPRANOS is a great one.

Mister Beefhead
03-10-04, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by Shannon Nutt
Wow - I can't believe voting is this close. 10 years from now, people will still be talking about THE SOPRANOS. 10 years from now no one will remember THE SHIELD, as edgy and good as it is now. THE SHIELD is a good TV show, THE SOPRANOS is a great one.

Interesting - I feel the exact opposite. The already bad (compared to it's quality at the start) Sopranos is going to just keep getting worse, until it finally goes out with a whimper that no one even notices. The Shield certainly seems to be going in the other direction, getting better with practically every episode. For awhile I kept watching the Sopranos as kind of a "Shield lite", something entertaining to watch about halfway between episodes of the Shield, but nowadays I'd rather just rewatch the last week's Shield.

GuessWho
03-10-04, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by Shannon Nutt
Wow - I can't believe voting is this close. 10 years from now, people will still be talking about THE SOPRANOS. 10 years from now no one will remember THE SHIELD, as edgy and good as it is now. THE SHIELD is a good TV show, THE SOPRANOS is a great one.

Agreed.

The Shield will go down the same road as Twin Peaks. Edgy but forgotten.

Red Dog
03-10-04, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by Shannon Nutt
Wow - I can't believe voting is this close. 10 years from now, people will still be talking about THE SOPRANOS. 10 years from now no one will remember THE SHIELD, as edgy and good as it is now. THE SHIELD is a good TV show, THE SOPRANOS is a great one.


I think that is simply because of viewership though. Far more people have seen the Sopranos than The Shield. I already said that I give a slight edge to Sopranos, but basing what is the better show on how much it is talked about (or how many watch it) doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

It would be like comparing Friends to Coupling (the UK version). Friends is a good comedy, seen by millions of Americans (and thus will be talked about a lot). Coupling-UK is a great comedy, but it has only been seen by a handful of Americans.

das Monkey
03-10-04, 03:46 PM
I typically try to judge the quality of something by how popular it is. That's never failed me once, and better, it's logically sound, so why change it now.

das

Jimmy James
03-10-04, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by GuessWho
Agreed.

The Shield will go down the same road as Twin Peaks. Edgy but forgotten.

Twin Peaks hasn't really been forgotten. In fact, I think it's amazing how popular it has remained. If you want to talk about forgotten, I think you have to go for something like American Gothic or Profit. Actually, you may even need to go farther than that for forgotten.

In the end, I think this argument is a really silly one. We have no idea how either series will end, much less how history will treat it. I would have guaranteed you that Cheers would have been far more popular than it turned out, and I believe I would have told you that Seinfeld wouldn't have nearly the following it has after its 3rd or 4th season.

Jimmy James
03-10-04, 06:22 PM
Originally posted by Red Dog
It would be like comparing Friends to Coupling (the UK version). Friends is a good comedy, seen by millions of Americans (and thus will be talked about a lot). Coupling-UK is a great comedy, but it has only been seen by a handful of Americans.

I would buy this if The Sopranos were on NBC and The Shield were on perhaps the Wisdom Network* or even BBC America. I would have to guess that FX is available to more people than HBO is because HBO is almost always purchased separately. Even if this isn't the case, it's really a lot closer than Friends and the good version of Coupling here in the States. As it is, I have to admit that The Sopranos seems to have a somewhat wider appeal than The Shield does at this point. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the reputation for quality TV that HBO had before The Sopranos came along. The Shield put FX on the map, and we have to remember what that means -- nobody had a reason to tune in before it Vic and company came along.

* I actually worked for the company that became Wisdom. I like mentioning it because I find it amazing how mainstream it has become. Not many channels originate from places like Bluefield, WV.

Shannon Nutt
03-10-04, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by GuessWho
Agreed.

The Shield will go down the same road as Twin Peaks. Edgy but forgotten.

I appriciate the support but hate the analogy...only because Twin Peaks is my all-time favorite TV show!

DJ_Spyder
03-10-04, 09:06 PM
The Shield wins this debate hands down for the following reasons: 1. Michael Chiklis at first I thought uh oh the Commish did anyone remember that show? Boy did he prove me wrong he played Vic Mackey with relish and in the pilot episode He shoots one of his fellow officers during a drug bust 2. Strong supporting cast with various plot lines and situations. 3. IMO the second season of the Shield was far better than the fourth season of the Sopranos David Chase stumbled badly during the fourth season who is to say he won't stumble again. 4. The sopranos is on its last legs it has one more season before this series ends. However the Shield has a few more seasons to go before it expires.

Jimmy James
03-10-04, 10:01 PM
You're assuming that the Shield has a few more seasons to go, and I'm not so sure that it's a good assumption to make. It is exactly the sort of show that I think would be both capable of and willing to end abruptly. I could see the show end at the end of this season with the death of Mackey, his arrest, or some other way. That would be the ultimate shock from this show, wouldn't it?

Shannon Nutt
03-11-04, 04:54 AM
Just to chime in one more time on why The Sopranos is a classic and The Shield is just good TV.

The reason The Shield is so popular now is because it is so edgy for TV - tough talking, tough acting, take no prisoners - i.e. a "realistic" portrayal. However, 10 years from now it's going to seem kind of tame...the same way NYPD Blue seems tame now, even though people wanted to toss it off the air back when it first came on TV.

The Sopranos violence and language will also seem tame 10 years from now, but like "The Godfather" movies, the stories and writing are fantastic, plus it's in a genre where not a lot of TV shows have proven successful.

Yes, The Shield has great writing as well - but I guarantee there will be another cop show in the next 5 years that will make you forget all about The Shield - it's unlikely that their will be another mob drama that will make you forget about The Sopranos.

Just my opinion, naturally...everyone come back in 2014 to see if I'm right!

Buck Turgidson
03-11-04, 08:49 PM
Personally, I couldn't care less about The Shield's "edge". I like the fact that it has interesting stories and compelling characters. The same reason I liked Homicide and like The Wire. Period.

I've liked a lot of shows that went nowhere and hated a lot of beloved shows. It's no big deal for me to go it alone.

:brickwl:

das Monkey
03-12-04, 12:11 AM
Don't worry. You're not alone. I too couldn't give a shit about <i>The Shield</i>'s "edge" or <i>The Sopranos</i>'s "edge." Compelling characters and stories are all that matters. <b>Shannon</b> mentions <i>NYPD Blue</i> as a show that isn't as "edgy" as it was when it premiered, and yet I watch it every week because the storytelling is as strong as it has ever been. Meanwhile <i>er</i>, another show that isn't as "edgy" as it was when it premiered, nearly bores me to tears; because it's so over the top and soap opera-ish. I've never shied away from criticizing the legions of bandwagon <i>Sopranos</i> "fans" who turned their back on it the second it stopped being the "coolest" thing to talk about, and I'll have no fear doing the same to those who bail on <i>The Shield</i> (assuming the writing/acting remains stellar). The premiere episode of <i>The Shield</i> was one of the most shocking episodes in television history, and that's great ... but I've stuck around because there's substance to back it up. Compare it to a show like <i>24</i> that's dripping with "shock" value, yet hollow to the core.

Why must we pit two of the best shows against each other? They both should endure, and if one doesn't because people are so fickle as to only appreciate their "edge," then shame on those who forget about it.

das