I've been watching The Shield compulsively lately. I'll have an episode tucked into one corner of my screen while I design handouts or plan lessons or whatever. I've got some great television on deck too, the season finale of Friday Night Lights, for instance, but I haven't watched and can't watch any of them, simply because the twisted morality play of The Shield is engrossing to the exclusion of all other drama.
At the start of every episode, like so many other shows, they roll a recap of previous episodes. With 24, this recap tends to be so totally comprehensive, re-introducing characters only the mouthbreathers had forgotten, that I can't help but check out.
The Shield, in contrast, plays only five or six choice vignettes, sometimes cut from seasons long-gone, and even though I just watched that episode last week, I can't help but pay close attention.
Once again, there's 24's sloppy, encyclopedic approach to story review and then The Shield's, where every moment of every recap pertains directly to the episode you're about to watch. You know that every flashback is gonna blast through the current story arc like an asteroid.
How this matters to education in general and this blog in particular is this: if The Shield were a teacher, his classes would be too satisfying to cut.