HBO's The Wire: A Novel For TV

HBO’s The Wire has a nice featured article in the New Yorker.  Season five has finished wrapping and the show is set to premiere January 2008. I love this show and think it is the best TV series on television today. As David Simon has described it: it’s a novel for TV. I own the first three seasons and have watched them repeatedly. Like any good novel, you pick up details or nuances that you might have missed the first time. the-wire1.jpgDespite how good this show is, The Wire has had a hard time maintaining an audience and you have to ask yourself why that is. One of the most common complaints you hear is that viewers can’t seem to follow it. When I started watching the first  episode from the first season, I was hooked. Unfortunately, each season does not stand alone well. Like a novel, you must have prior knowledge of the previous season to follow the series. Another common complaint is that many viewers don’t understand the street jargon or can’t identify with the characters. A valid complaint regarding the street jargon but my TV has subtitles and I confess to not understanding a little of the dialogue between a couple of characters myself.  What I love about the show is that it is unflinching in the reality of police corruption  politics (must be thinking of The Shield as that show is full of police corruption) and the drug trade in the urban black community.  The show shares the perspective of life on the street from the view of the criminals and the law.

The show is character driven and centers around homicide detective Jimmy McNulty, whose nemesis on the street is Stringer Bell.  An college educated black man who grew up on the street, Stringer Bell runs the drug trade like a business. Stringer Bell’s character destroys the myth or stereotype of your typical drug dealer. And the writing on show? Awesome. David Simon and his crew are meticulous in the research and making sure that they get it right. The writers on the show are just as diverse as its cast members. Crime novelists Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos both write for The Wire. You just don’t get this type of quality show everyday.

With all this greatness, The Wire has never won an Emmy nor has David Simon ever been acknowledged as the genius that he is for creating a show that is difficult to compare to any other cop show on television. I’m grateful to HBO for keeping this show on the air despite the fact that it didn’t have the audience to warrant even a second season. I look forward to the fifth  and final season of The Wire with great anticipation and joy for what I know will be a kick ass final season. As with everything, all good things must come to an end.

I started this topic only to point out the New Yorker article and just couldn’t help gushing about this show.  So for that, I do apologize. I hope many of you read the article and head over to your favorite video store to rent the first season and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I do. Peace.

[tags]HBO, The Wire, David Simon, TV show, Cops[/tags]

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Avid Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to HBO's The Wire: A Novel For TV

  1. jmc says:

    Thanks for the link to that excellent article! I haven’t watched The Wire (no HBO), but I really enjoyed Simon’s work back when we wrote for Homicide. Must put The Wire in my Netflix queue.

  2. Avid Reader says:

    jmc: you’ll need to let me know how you like it! I re-watch this show often, I love it that much. I have never seen Homicide: Life on the Street. Also, David Simon, the creator of the show, is married to Laura Lippman! I’ve never read her but she’s a very popular crime novelist and it also explains why a certain character was shown reading her books and Lehane’s books on the show. Glad you enjoyed the article!

  3. Pingback: Pages tagged "Homicide: Life On The Street"

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