Today is


   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Hooked on The Wire

Sadeeq and I recently watched the first season of The Wire on DVD. I had gone into it with a somewhat skeptical attitude, since I figured the almost universal praise for the show made it likely that it would turn out to be overrated.

It wasn't.

I have long been a fan of "police dramas" on television, from the psychological thrust and parry of Columbo to the tragicomic sensibility of Hill Street Blues. The Wire is both a worthy successor to those great shows and a beautifully played riff on the crime drama theme. It's an inherently dramatic form, since the detection or capture of criminals provides the kind of plot to which the ferreting out of character and motivations is integral. As critics have noted, there's a "sociological" depth and breadth to The Wire that is rare in television. The way that large institutions and cultural forces can shape individual choices and acts is made part of the drama, and it works quite well.

I might have looked askance at the series had it seemed to present an entirely deterministic worldview. Naturalism of any stripe is not my cup of tea. But the well-written and fleshed-out characters chip away at the "naturalist" structure. Among the police, there are McNulty, Daniels, and Greggs. Among the others, there is Omar, Robin Hood of the projects, outlaw among outlaws, avenging angel/demon, specter haunting the dysfunctional culture that conjured him.

Omar saves the show from being a fascinating naturalist project and makes it into a work of art.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Templton Peck said...

So "TopDog" and I now have someone else who has experienced the addiction of the WIRE...as I might have mentioned here before...I think it is the best show on HBO and perhaps all of Television. Welcome to the club Kate !!

May 02, 2007 3:05 PM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

Thanks, Temp! I have to admit I doubted you guys, but I shouldn't have.

It was fun to be able to watch the entire season over the course of about a week and a half. We're planning to get Season 2 soon.

May 02, 2007 3:58 PM  
Blogger Retired Geezer said...

Haven't seen The Wire (don't have HBO), but if you want to see a top-notch cop drama, watch Boomtown.

Great cast and stories with a 'Rashamon' type editing.

It was cancelled after one season (think Firefly).

July 27, 2007 8:03 AM  

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