Wired

Be back on WEDNESDAY.

When the weather is as bad as it’s been around my parts you tend to veg out with a good book or two or a good series. I haven’t seen grass since before Christmas.

But I am proud to say that I have seen every episode of “The Wire” since (around the last time) I saw Kansas City’s grass.

D-Milz badgered me into watching the first few episodes, as a few others had tried before. But this time, I was almost immediately hooked. I couldn’t stop watching the show because I wanted to see what happened next. I’m actually glad I didn’t sit through five years of waiting a week to see the next episode, and watch the entire thing. It is that good.

I do hate that I missed out on the conversation about the show back when it happened. So, I’m gonna add my two cents hear with a few reasons why I think every breathing American should be forced to watch “The Wire.” Again, I apologize for being a few years late on all of this.

1. Idris Elba’s character Stringer Bell. I wondered for the longest time who this Idris dude was when he showed up on the big screen in 2007 (Daddy’s Little Girls, American Gangster and This Christmas). Come to find out, he played maybe the most compelling character on The Wire and did so brilliantly.

2. The cops. There are just as many who receive the same kind of play as the drug dealers… and they’re lives are just as interesting. They’re maybe more vital to the show. My personal favs are Pryzbylewski (because of the transition he makes from horrific police officer to a teacher) and Lester Freamon (he seems to be the brains behind the operation). I find it interesting that not one of them was killed, though.

3. Omar. If there’s one street character who rivals Stringer Bell for most compelling, it’s Omar Little, the homosexual stick-up artist who robs drug dealers and has most everyone scared to death (He’s everything The Boondocks’ Gangstalicious aspires to be). If it seems like it might scare you away, just watch the first season, you’ll be endeared to Omar, and see him as the hood Robin Hood.

4. The writing. It’s overwhelming and amazing. I read somewhere that the show’s creator David Simon wanted the show to read like chapters of a novel. And it does just that. It’s a seamless story that never skips a beat. It’s witty, edgy, imaginative and bold. More than anything, it’s real. There are several scenes that are classic (like the convo between Avon and Stringer before Stringer gets got). They make you wonder how someone could write something so real.

5. Season 4. This is hands down (and up) the best thing I’ve ever seen made for television. The writers take what seems like a major detour for the drug trade and tell the story of children in the education system of Baltimore and how they end up in the game. The child characters come to mirror some of the characters of the previous seasons, and in a way, show how they ended up where they were.

6. It’s methodical. It’s a story that couldn’t possibly be justified in a three-hour time frame. It’s sorta like American Gangster tried to tell a similar story, and where it succeed in some places, it couldn’t possibly show the depth this saga does in that time span. And that they don’t try to shove too much of the story into one season forces you to watch it all because you really invest in the characters. (It actually makes me wonder if the story of Precious wouldn’t have been better told like this. Random, I know. But it’s just a thought)

The only things that upset me about the show were Wallace getting killed and the Jayson Blair-like reporter and the level of play he received in the fifth season. I understood why Wallace had to go. But I’m still shook about it. That reporter, though, was the worst thing to happen to the show, period.

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21 responses to “Wired

  1. I never got into The Wire, mostly because I hardly ever have HBO or any other movie channel that costs me an arm and a leg every month. I’m almost certain if I had HBO that I would have watched it, because everyone that has watched that show always goes on and on about how good it was.

    Glad to see you are back, I delved into a good book over the break and got some well needed rest. I recommend ‘White Lines’ by Tracey Brown…a great read with a triumphant ending. I’m about to start reading ‘The Destruction of Black Civilization’ by Chancellor Williams. It’s been recommended by many of my peers.

  2. Welcome to the club, man. The Wire should be considered one of the greatest tv shows of the last decade, if not all time.

    Season 4 is my favorite as well. I should’ve asked for it for Christmas, but I’ll be getting on that soon.

  3. Better late than never. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: While Season 2 was not the strongest season, it still was one of the most interesting. A lot of people were put off by the turn toward the docks, but the show was about the city of Baltimore and its underbelly. That includes unionized laborers working in a dying field (starting at the docks and ending up at the paper; think on it). It introduced us to The Greek, his henchmen and Beadie (one of my favorite characters).

    Season 4 is the greatest 13 hours of television you’ll ever see, but Season 2 is no sleeper, either.

    • A friend warned me about Season 2. He told me that I would be thrown off because it would be a deep departure from Season 1, but to just go through it.

      What I discovered (and I imagine he wanted to hint at) was Season 2 is tha pivotal season. You can’t watch The Wire without watching the second season, and still walk away understanding it. A lot of stuff got set up in that season.

      • Exactly!! You get a better look at Prop Joe, the mayoral election is set up, we meet Clarence Davis, all kinds of good stuff.

      • @A Smith
        Agreed. I think season two is so important because it shows the SOURCE/distribution of drugs and how they even get into the country, since the feds, who are in charge of our borders, sometimes have competing interests. I also appreciated the look at blue-collar union jobs slipping away and the domino effect throughout society. It was also the first time I had seen “wigga” drug dealers portrayed in a serious context. I understand that’s for real in cities like Boston, Phillie, etc out east.

        Overall, I think season 5 was the weakest. I know they were hurriedly wrapping things up but the conclusion of the Marlo storyline seemed odd. I agree with Damon that the faux reporter was strange and seemed out of place, but I appreciated how the storyline gave more insight into the press room, more than the serial killings or political campaign coverage could have.

        I like how the series ended though, basically that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • @aye: I want to throw Clay Davis off a bridge…. But you’re right. It’s impossible to just skip the second season. It’s just as interesting as the others… from the human trafficking to the Greek to the Pollacks on the docks to seeing Ziggy implode. very interesting.

  4. What I appreciate most about the Wire is the fact that it examines every aspect of American life in excruciating detail. It builds a complete prism of America through examining drugs but you see it all – who’s supplying drugs, the role of the government, how people fall into the criminal lifestyle, how the system (federal, state, local) is broken, how the money flows up from the streets and back down from government, how the media influences public perception. Basically, how people realistically operate day to day, regardless of their criminal status, occupation, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, etc with people from all walks of life represented.

    I also really liked that you get to see what motivates people’s choices and then how, years later in some cases, those choices have a domino effect. For example, how Herc’s seemingly harmless decision not to take Randy seriously completely ruins the kid’s life.

    I think the Wire is the best TV show of all time. It’s a real shame it was on the same time as the Sopranos (which I’m now watching, also didn’t have HBO in college) and was overshadowed.

    • @d-milz: This is on point. You said it better than I did. and I’m glad I listened to you. The scope of the entire show is just overwhelming. It covers most everything….

  5. Yes! Another member of “The Wire Rocks Fan Club”. This might be the MOST slept on show of all time.

    It was first brought to my attention because I was a religious follower of Homicide and that same team put The Wire together. The writing was brilliant, you could not anticipate the twists and turns of the story and where it would take you next. And the cast was superb.

    How else is Omar a character you find yourself admiring? How are your feelings hurt when Stringer Bell dies? And no one who watched the season on the schools could avoid the feeling of hopeless heartbreak.

    The show was brilliant on so many levels. Impatiently waiting for anything as smart to come along…

    • “The show was brilliant on so many levels. Impatiently waiting for anything as smart to come along…”

      You must not like reality television, either. lol.

      • “You must not like reality television, either.”

        This is why I do not have cable. I am happy renting (or free at the library) older TV series that are so much better than anything on cable.

    • The producers of The Wire are doing another HBO show with the guys who played Bunk and Lester. The show is going to be about post-Katrina New Orleans. I think Bunk and Lester are going to be playing Second Line musicians. Something to look forward to.

  6. Hey, y’all!

    One of the best series ever! I love The Wire. My husband & I watched each episode together all the time and last summer had a Wire marathon. It never gets old. Love the quotes from it as well.

  7. I can not believe it took you so LONG. I loved the wire from the very beginning and I know that HBO received a lot of flack for Season II a lot of people felt as though that was HBO’s first “black show” and for them to then switch it didnt set well with many. Anywho, I loved the Wire and Idris Elba was a great actor in his role as Stringer Bell it was funny to later find out he was actually from London and has a strong accent. (helps that he is sexy.. but i digress)

  8. I never reply…only read. But yes the death of Wallace STILL makes me shiver.

    Glad you came around. I too watched it via Netflix after it went off the air (mostly because HBO costs money that my grad student budget doesn’t afford).

    It is (was) a great series. The mayor of Philly threw a watch party for the last episode, that’s just how powerful it was.

  9. ok, so i must be the last chocolate person to have not seen this series. welcome back dame. can i watch it on hulu for free?

  10. Howdy, first time viewer of you blog.

    I’ve been living and working in Iraq for the last four years. I never really got into The Wire until I got here. As our TV options are limited, we watch alot of movies and DVD series. I purchased the first three seasons of the Wire all at once and waxed it off in a week and some change, once season four and five came out I did the same. Many a nights of sleep were lost.

    Best TV ever.

    Just waxed off season 1 again and I’m on my way through season 2.

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