I'm a bit surprised that there is no thread about this series. I've seen it mentioned here and there but I think it deserves at least a thread so I'm starting one.
Way back in 2005 or so, there was this commercial in Solar TV about this series called "The Wire". I've never paid much attention to it maybe because there was absolutely no flash in the way it was presented, no recognizable actor, no thrilling actions scenes or special effects. So I never gave it a chance. That is until I read an interview from one of my favorite comic writers of all time, Alan Moore. Here is an excerpt of his interview: "Do you ever relax and just watch television?
Selectively, mostly on DVD. The absolute pinnacle of anything I've seen recently has got to be The Wire
. It's the most stunning piece of television that has ever come out of America, possibly the most stunning piece of television full-stop. That's a great example of storytelling that takes its time.
Absolutely, that is grown-up television! It's novelistic. You get to find out about all these tiny different aspects of Baltimore, to build up a huge picture of the city with all of its intricacies — from the wharf side, to the kids in the projects, to the power structure with the boardrooms and police department and governor's office. And it's got some great writers: It's got George Pelecanos and David Simon. And so many wonderful characters, Bubbles, Omar. So yeah, everything else looks pretty lame next to The Wire
That certainly got my attention. It's been a while since I watched an American TV series and to be honest, I've sort of given up on them. A lot of the TV series out there are just not for me. I know a lot of people enjoy them and that's why they keep making them but to me, it has become formulaic and predictable.
Here is a snippet from its wiki page that summarizes what it is about
"The Wire is an American television drama series set and produced in Baltimore, Maryland. Created, produced, and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States. The Wire premiered on June 2, 2002 and ended on March 9, 2008, with 60 episodes airing over the course of its five seasons.
Each season of The Wire focuses on a different facet of the city of Baltimore. They are, in order: the drug trade, the port, the city bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media. The large cast consists mainly of character actors who are little known for their other roles. Simon has said that despite its presentation as a crime drama, the show is "really about the American city, and about how we live together.
It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and howâ€¦whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge [or] lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to."
Initially, I thought that it would be too much to wrap my head around but the writing is tight and barely any scene is wasted. I had a bit of trouble understanding the slang talk but I got around it after a few episodes (the writers said they did not want to "dumb down" the dialogue). Also, the characters are great. Each one is flawed in his/her own way but they all fit in the "ecosystem" that is Baltimore.
Currently, I just finished the 2nd season and I can't wait to start the 3rd season.
I'd recommend this series to the following people:
1) Anyone waiting out the 2nd season of Game of Thrones (which is incidentally also produced by HBO). It's set in the real world but the plot twists and unpredictability will make you feel at home.
2) Anyone interested in politics since a lot of what happens in this series mirrors the events in our own backyard.
3) Anyone looking for great storytelling above everything else since it honestly lacks in the big name actor and special effect department.
Give it a try. It starts out slow and I actually had months in between watching the 1st and 2nd episode! But once it got rolling, I finished an entire season in a day or two.