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TV Junkie: The Series Finale of 'The Shield'

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The finale of one of the best programs to ever hit the tube happens tonight at 10:00pm on FX. "The Shield" has been a pioneering show from the beginning - by pushing the limits, it paved the way for every other gritty show on cable that network TV has yet to successfully emulate. "The Shield" has never been a "police-procedural" show, it has never been repetitive or cookie-cutter, you will never see "Robot Chicken" do an all-chicken/all-clucking version of "The Shield" the way they did "Law & Order" (although Michael Chiklis did appear on an episode of "Robot Chicken" as Vic Mackey).

The only reason why there's been a "Damages", "Mad Men", "Nip/Tuck", "Breaking Bad", etc. on TV is because of "The Shield". "The Shield" brought Glenn Close to TV and thus started the stream of other film actors to turn to television (Holly Hunter, Tim Roth, etc.). "The Shield" proved that you could have challenging, character-driven TV on basic cable and it's improved both basic cable as well as premium cable, which has had to protect what was formerly its calling card.