SB & I spent the summer watching the entire series of The Wire. It was one of those amazing shows that had slipped us by. We also somehow managed to remain completely unaware of any character deaths or plot twists. All we knew was that the show took place in Baltimore & that Michael K. Williams played a bad-ass named Omar. Because of that we didn’t discuss the show online while we watched it, but instead lived inside it. For the past two months it was just us & David Simon’s brilliance, living together in a frightening, beautiful, terrible world.
The series is outstanding. It was so much more than I expected, which was a really great cop drama. It far surpasses any cop drama I’ve ever watched (and I’ve watched a lot), it transcends the genre while also living within the gritty realness expected from the genre. The show’s creator, David Simon, is a former police reporter from Baltimore. Other writers & contributors to the show were local former homicide detectives, police officers, politicians, drug dealers & teachers. This lent such a wonderful realistic view to the show & such respect to people who represent these social figures, making them fantastically three-dimensional, each character was flawed, but human; easy to loathe and equally easy to love.
The show features beautiful wonderful gay characters; some of the best ever depicted on television. The show, in fact, should be more celebrated for its depiction of homosexual characters as their sexuality was a part of them and nothing about the gay characters felt disrespectful or unrealistic. It’s also one of the longest running series to feature an ensemble cast of mostly minorities. Many of the actors were unknowns, or character actors, some are actual former politicians, police officers and drug dealers. It is supremely, superbly acted, the casting is on the level of Mad Men, Sopranos & Deadwood in that it found actors who could live inside the roles, who encompassed them fully & became the character. I would go so far as to call it a perfect television series, free from any writing or development flaws. It tells metaphorical stories without feeling contrived or preaching. It challenges us as viewers and doesn’t give us an expected conclusion to any story, but every story develops and ends satisfactorily because the viewer feels propelled and excited by the story. SB & I had wonderful inspired discussions after many episodes, and that’s my favourite result of a truly great series.
The fourth season, especially, is an absolute triumph in television. I’ll preface this final opinion by reminding everyone that I am a die-hard Sopranos fan and believe it is the best television series ever made and say that the fourth season of The Wire meets and, I would be open to the argument, even supersedes The Sopranos at its best. I don’t like to pit great against great though, so I’ll say that the series is an absolute wonder - that I rate it alongside The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Deadwood as a glorious work of televised fiction. If you haven’t watched it yet: do.