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Cecil

Yes, The Wire! I've recently watch all five seasons for the second time. The first by myself and the second with my girlfriend, and it is by far the best show in my opinion.

I think the best thing about The Wire is, once you've watched it, you have to run out and tell others about it or that they have to see it.

The mess of it all is that once you watch it, nothing else seems to be as good. You truly miss the show once it over. As Clay Davis would say, it's the http://thepiratesdilemma.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/clay-davis.jpg

twitter.com/scriptgrrl

After many years of hearing about it, I finally succumbed to my own Summer of the Wire Festival in my living room. The only downside was I'd be up till the wee hours because I couldn't stop at one episode a night. How this series isn't in the creative vernacular of all writers and storytellers is beyond me.

Yet I was happy to answer the question "Where's Wallace, String?" by observing that he's nobly serving as Vince on Friday Night Lights this season (along with a cameo role by the actor who played D'Angelo as well!)

Dorothy

I'm always thrilled when someone finds The Wire. What other show has said so much in a single scene, using only on word? ;) Seriously? It's an extraordinary, riveting drama.

Now that you've been assimilated, please read along with Alan Sepinwall at http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Wire%20season%201%20%28Newbies%29. He's written some of the most insightful analysis of this series (and others) I've ever read. It was mandatory reading for me when I watched The Wire the first time through.

Next up - if you haven't already - is Deadwood. :) I'm always torn as to which series is better.... Acting God, Ian McShane might give the Old West an edge up over Charm City....

Christian H.

Hi Billy,
Gotta agree. I usually don't like "ghetto" shows but the Wire did what you said, "it made crack OUR crack" and not the province of the poor.

Rather than showing shootouts and unnecessary action it delves deep inside the motives of the characters and the complexities of both sides of the "drug war."

It also showed very well the price of crime for everyone.

Snoop: dead, Avon: locked up, Bodie: dead.

And I really loved the way they went back to McNulty and showed his arc from being a drunk womanizer to being a committed father who helped that "victim" in the last minutes.

Blake

Ugh, people who post spoilers in the comments. Anyway...

100% agree with you Billy, and I suspect once you get to the end of Season 5 you'll come to the same conclusion I (and many others have) that it really is the best TV show ever made. I've watched it through twice, and look forward to trip #3.

Another tip I give to first-timers is to not be afraid to turn on subtitles. I found this help immensely the first time through. (Ditto for Deadwood.)

Scot B.

Now you should all go back and check out Homicide: Life on the Street. I don't want to say which is better but they definitely share the same DNA.

jamy

This made me so happy! It is a wonderful show and made a fascinating character out of Baltimore, which is pretty damn hard to do.

When it first came on, my co-worker taped it and shared it around the office. She has a PhD in Criminology and I taught a Criminology class (in Sociology grad school)--we both were amazed and impressed at how 'The Wire' showed drug dealing as a BUSINESS and not some "evil" enterprise. Nothing in this show is black and white--it's all about the grays.

kristen

I've never seen The Wire, and I finally just watched The Godfather for the first time a couple months ago. Right after I turned the movie off, I heard 5 gunshots in rapid succession my neighborhood and for a second kind of thought it was part of the end credit sequence. (Then I immediately hit the floor.) One of those funny cosmic coincidences, I guess.

I keep hearing great things about The Wire... someday I'll get to it, but first I have to catch up on Mad Men, starting from Season 1.

Christian H.

@Blake
Hey, spoilers are when you can't possibly expect it. In a show where "the players change but the game stays the same" you can expect people to be dropping like flies.

The particulars are expected but the technique is key, though hopefully I haven't ruined anyone's future experience.

It was five seasons though so...

mernitman

Cecil: Amen and thank you for that poster! Hilarious.

Scriptgrrl: Thanks for the tip re: Vince, I'll go look. And, D...! Still missing him.

Dorothy: Thank you for this great site - We look forward to losing hours with Alan.

Christian: Yup to all that. (But as duly noted by Blake, a little TMI for someone who's not finished viewing yet!)

Blake, thanks for the subtitle thought, as there have been a few exchanges that we rewound on three times and never did entirely comprehend.

Scot B: I was an early HOMICIDE adopter, since I had read the book and loved it. It was a terrific show, and look at the huge group of writers and actors it helped launch!

Jamy: "It's All About the Grays" sounds like an intriguing series to me...

Kristen: You lucky girl. MAD MEN comes pretty damn close to the top of the canon. Meanwhile, that sounds like quite the neighborhood (and not unlike ours here at Venice Beach, on occasion).

Christian: Maybe we should introduce a ***SPOILER ALERT*** policy for future comments? The site that Dorothy links to, above, has a "Newbie" and "Veteran" label on its posts about WIRE episodes, which is one interesting way to go...

Christian H.

Hey, I feel bad. If there is someone who hasn't watched it, I was lying.

Also, most of what I said was in trailers. I did forget that it's been on HBO. I'll remember that in the future and clearly delineate "SPOILERS."

It's just a very exciting show and I get giddy thinking about it. I have a thriller that's more like the Wire than the usual chase film.

mernitman

Christian: Don't feel bad - clearly, you were just being enthusiastic. And now we have an established Spoiler policy to observe. So that's a good thing.

JamminGirl

I'm here a bit bewildered by the concept that someone would feel self-conscious or ashamed for having not seen a popular show. I've never seen "The Godfather" or "Scarface" and still have no interest in seeing it. I've always heard of it's violence and I'm not particularly keen on that sort of thing. Then again I've never been someone to "move with the crowd" ('Cause truthfully the crowd is often very stupid).

So enjoy "the wire" but I wouldn't impose guilt on myself for not having seen it if I were you...

Joanna Farnsworth

JGirl, honest and true, "The Godfather" is one of the greats, not just a popular movie.

And what makes it great? It's a story about people. It's about family. It hits home truths.

The violence is part of those truths. Unlike the gratuitous graphic visuals on screen today.

See it.

DMD

I have tried to watch The Wire many times, but each time it goes I will feel stuck in the middle of the story.

After reading this article, I will try to watch it again.

mernitman

Jammin: I hear that, but it's an inescapable aspect of being in the biz, at least, that one is expected to be well-educated in terms of film history and cultural watersheds - of which GODFATHER looms large (having replaced CITIZEN KANE, in our time, as "1" on most Top 100 movie lists). So many quotes and references come out of such a movie that I couldn't be an effective (or employed) story analyst or screenwriting instructor without having seen it at least once.

A friend of mine who teaches screenwriting in NYC had no intention of seeing AVATAR until I pointed out that - along with it being the most successful movie in the history of the medium - all of his students would be well acquainted with it, and would expect him to offer insights and opinions on it. Same principle: It really isn't about "moving with the crowd," since as you rightly point out, lots of crap makes it to #1 - it's about knowing what people have responded to, and why. Any screenwriter working in 2010 who ignores such a phenomenon, be it Coppola's or Cameron's, is working at a disadvantage.

Joanna: What you said.

DMD: It takes some getting used to, and as I noted above, the first episode won't "wow" you. But I think if you can watch the first two or three, you'll get it, and you'll be glad you tried.

Patty

The wire. Hmmm. We have watched all of the series, I believe, except the last one out on DVD. Started to. Way too dark.

JamminGirl

I guess it's a moot point then eh? I wasn't paticularly impressed with citizen Kane despite the glories my film studies instructor kept singing in its regard. I can already see the themes of the GODFATHER; family, loyalty, trying to convince others(and themselves) that they're legit, it's "just business", Respect, what made the godfather the sociopath he is and showing the "redeeming/caring" side of him in the midst of his brutishness.
Joanna, I know it may seem real and I do champion "real" film stories, but that's not a story I'm particularly interested in. Violent brutish people I generally keep away from both in reality and the fiction I watch.(Funny enough today a stranger approached me and gave me a copy of an unopened DVD of "American Psycho"[wince]. It's still in my car and I'm debating whether I should give it to another stanger or if I should dump it in the recycling bin.

Billy, I see your point in regards to keeping up to date because of the business you're in. I think my reaction was borne out of Tater's sence of shame for having not seen the Godfather, to me it was a bit shocking...

Catherine

Well, you intrigued Phillip and me with your New Year's Eve rave reviews and now we are also Wire addicts who had, almost immediately, to supplement netflix with trips to Hollywood Video (a place heretofore avoided like the plague) so that we can watch two nights in a row. Yes, we watch the whole disc at once. Even had a two disc (that was 5 shows and 5 straight hours) night. Mercifully, we're only part way through season3.

Omar rocks.
I often think of D-Angelo's take on the Great Gatsby.
Marvelous stuff.

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