The Wire is almost too good. Almost.
Up until I tore through the first four seasons of the mind-crushingly excellent cop drama The Wire on DVD earlier this year, I'd been hearing for a few years how it was the best show on television, maybe even the best show ever. It seemed like ridiculously high praise, and I took it with a serious amount of salt, until I watched it and was hooked. As much as I hate hype, sometimes hype is actually accurate, and The Wire, for my money, is one of those cases.
If you don't know, The Wire is a cop show from HBO (which means cussing and nudity!) set in Baltimore that follows a single investigation for each of its five seasons, more or less (it gets more complex as it goes on, and I can't be more specific lest I spoil anything). It was co-created by former reporter David Simon (he wrote the non-fiction book NBC's Homicide was based on) and former Baltimore cop Ed Burns. With each season, the show expands its scope, giving time to not only the cops and the drug dealers they're chasing, but also to encompass the upper echelons of the police department, as well as city hall, the media and the public school system. It features some of the best acting I've ever seen, anywhere, as well as an ensemble cast of characters that are, to a person, all totally fascinating.
The fifth and final season of The Wire was just released on DVD, and it's not exactly the best place to start if you're new to the show – a good buddy of mine who actually convinced me to give it a shot after watching the third or fourth season On Demand after never having seen any of it before has since lamented that, as he goes back and watches the DVDs in order, he's already spoiled several of the bigger plot points for himself – but if you can rent the DVDs or buy them cheap (or expensive – it's totally worth it) and work through it in order, it really is the best American TV show I've ever seen (though I'd also put HBO's Deadwood in that conversation). Believe the hype, people. If television gets much better than The Wire, I'm not sure I could handle it.
Labels: TV on DVD
A blog about movies, by a guy who probably watches too many.