/ The Wire - 10 years on
For anyone who has enjoyed the show an interesting piece. BTL, someone asks if this was the turning point where TV took on Hollywood and started to win? Sopranos/Breaking Bad/House of Cards/Game of Thrones/Stranger Things/Peaky Blinders/The Walking Dead/Band of Brothers/True Detective/Fargo/Narcos/The Deuce etc etc....this is where the big money is now and where the viewer can really immerse themselves in a proper story and characters (if done well)
Did the Wire set the bar? and does it still reign supreme?
Personally, it's been a long time since I watched it but I did think it was fantastic. Not every series was equally strong though. Might need to re visit it.
I would agree with you, for me I think Sopranos set the bar and still does, I think maybe Sopranos premiered before the Wire as well? But anyway, Sopranos for me still reins king and is what every other show should be judged against in terms of story and character development. The best thing about the Sopranos and to an extent the Wire as well, was the fact that they could end a lot of the episodes without the need for any cliffhanger, yet you still yearned for the next episode. Whereas modern equivalents, i.e. Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, every episode is finished on a major cliffhanger. For me that's what I loved about Sopranos, it was the character development and how immersed into it you became. Much prefer watching good TV series over movies for sure.
I think it'd be my winner for best overall series ever. Maybe not everyone's phial of dope, but the combination of sympathetic characters, writing, plot development and addressing of Issues puts it ahead of anything else I've seen. Maybe not something you can always enjoy, exactly, but I always wanted to watch the next episode.
Funnily enough, watching Flint Town on Netflix reminded me a lot of the issues of race and poverty highlighted by The Wire.
And as an aside, it's really not that difficult to understand what everyone's saying. Also, I had no idea that Stringer Bell was from Hackney (somewhere in London, anyway)until after I'd seen the whole thing
My favourite tv of all time.
Thanks for the link
Even after all the great shows of the last 10 years, the Wire still tops the list for me. That's not because of the imagination, which is the strength of much modern TV, it's the breadth of its grounding in reality. No show has ever lifted the lid so completely on a whole city and its problems. In that sense I believe it's the most Shakespearean work of art since, well, Shakespeare. You've got the great sweep of conflict between the state and the people it seeks to suppress, right down to the most intimate of rivalries between gang brothers being settled in a private duel to the death. There's no completely moral character, and no maligned thug who hasn't had a shitty deal in life. It even has its own language and tuning in is to immerse yourself in the gang itself. Amazing stuff and the show I would take to my desert island. True dat!
For me The Wire just pips The Sopranos, but not much in it. Among The Wire scriptwriters were 3 accomplished novelists - George Pelecanos, Richard Price and Dennis Lehane. Latter has a cameo role in one episode as guy in charge of confiscated / lost property who is reading porn magazines. Last season not as strong as first 4 seasons but still great.
There's been nothing as ambitious before or since, and the fact that it's pretty much totally successful in its ambition is just as amazing. After watching it all through three times now, each series feels like it absolutely deserves its place. I wish I could unwatch it just so I could watch it for the first time again.
Good article, but no mention of Omar Little! To me he was the outstanding character of the whole thing.
Omar's coming Yo!
The best programme that I can think of personally. Breadth and ambition put it far above any other reality based series. Sopranos was good but very one dimensional in comparison. I particularly like the way that everybody is essentially compromised, and that feels to me to be a truism on the human condition.
I think the Wire is still the best single thing to appear on TV. The way in which it switched the viewpoint of the central protagonist's between each series tied the entire picture together so well. I think aspects of the final series became a little over dramatic (McNulty) but that is a minor blemish.
I thought the Sopranos was excellent as well, and better than pretty much every mob film ever made, certainly any American ones, but a class behind The Wire.
One series I watched for a while and then got bored with was Sons of Anarchy. Easily watchable but very telling that it was on Fox rather than HBO; eye watering violence and cruelty yet no hard swearing or nipples.
Anyone remember Northern Exposure? I wouldn't compare it to The Wire but it is a personal favourite.
A quality article there really enjoyed it thank you.
I intend to revisit The Wire at some point it was a truly exceptional piece of dramatic documention , rich characters/acting ,writing and an authentic atmosphere.
Yes I think David Simon set the standard extremely high with that one , truly immersive tv .
Its all in the game Y0 !
> Also, I had no idea that Stringer Bell was from Hackney (somewhere in London, anyway)until after I'd seen the whole thing
Supposedly Elba and West didn't talk to each other much on the set so they didn't spoil each other's Baltimore accents and start sounding a bit English!
British actors playing American gangsters hasn't gone unnoticed though https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiwU5jPMnFw
> Also, I had no idea that Stringer Bell was from Hackney (somewhere in London, anyway)until after I'd seen the whole thing .
I think it was Hackney , Idris use to work the club doors around London for a while , He once gave me a bollocking for having a sneeky camberwell carrot in a club in Vauxhall , funny I thought lucky not to get escorted out , but Rupert Parkes pka Photek (DJ) who's set was next managed to talk him & his mate round , Phew yet another close one I remember thinking .
> Anyone remember Northern Exposure? I wouldn't compare it to The Wire but it is a personal favourite.
Have you tried rewatching it? Cringingly bad imo
ps and once you know it wasn’t filmed in Alaska that also takes the shine away
Really? Another dream dashed.
's part o the game y'all!
> Have you tried rewatching it? Cringingly bad imo
> ps and once you know it wasn’t filmed in Alaska that also takes the shine away
...and thanks for letting us all know.
For me, top three would be
Six feet under
I loved Hannibal, but more for the sets and production as it felt a bit too drawn out, none of the above ever did.
The Wire was fantastic and I enjoyed it immensely but only watched it once - I definitely need to go back through and watch again.
> BTL, someone asks if this was the turning point where TV took on Hollywood and started to win?
This is the problem with watch The Wire again. There's so much more great long-format TV out there now. I'm not sure if it was necessarily any particular programme but I think the whole HBO investment in this kind of slow-burn drama really helped. As did the arrival of DVD box sets which started the whole binge-worthy content phenomenon which has been carried on by the likes of Amazon and Netflix.
Freed from the pressure to achieve huge ratings in a particular prime-time slot, and with more freedom to explore topics that might alienate some advertisers I think we're in a golden age of content.
The key thing for me that illustrates this is that I rarely ever watch films anymore, and if I do I'm usually bored by the end of the second act as they nearly all follow the same narrative arc for 90-120 minutes and I find myself just waiting for it to end. Long-form content just has so much more freedom to let things develop at a slower, but deeper pace.
edit : it obviously been a while . Just found Omar in court on you tube , it's "I got the shotgun you got the briefcase but we both still in the game right "
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