Saturday, January 05, 2008

Good things about this Sunday:

1. It is one day before my vacation;

2. The Chargers are in the play-offs; and

3. The fifth and final season of the Wire starts on HBO.

I'm not a huge TV watcher, except for my obsessive devotion to Murder She Wrote, Ellery Queen, Diagnosis Murder, and Law & Order Criminal Intent. You may notice that only one of these shows was made in the last 20 years. I would go so far as to say most TV these days is complete crap, except for The Office and 30 Rock.

The other exception to this is HBO's The Wire, a show that has been called the best show on TV by by TIME, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, Slate, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Philadelphia Daily News. Despite the positive reviews, the show has failed to draw an audience commensurate with its quality.

The show was created by David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, and has a wonderful team of writers including Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos. Each season has delved into a different aspect of life in the crumbling inner city of Baltimore: the battle between drug dealers and the police; problems on the docks; corrupt politicians; and the schools. In particular, season four dealing with the ineffectual education system should be required viewing for anyone trying to implement "no child left behind". The finale was heartbreaking.

All the characters - and the casts are extensive - are developed and realistic. Police officers are not all good, and drug lords are not all bad. The show has been described as "Dickensian" - Dickens used the setting of London to shed a light on society's ills, and Simon does the same with the Wire, set in Baltimore.

I can't in good conscious urge anyone not familiar with the show to tune in on Sunday. Instead, I beg you to begin with Season one on DVD, and bring yourself up to the current season. In a day and age where few politicians focus on domestic problems on the campaign trail, and where most news programs focus on fluff, the Wire reminds us that there are many tragic problems close to home that should not be conveniently ignored.


Blogger Karen said...

Go Chargers!

Vacation, where you goin' girlfriend!?!

1:52 PM  
Blogger NY KAT said...

Hopefully the bad weather won't affect your trip!

3:13 PM  
Blogger EditThis said...

I keep hearing good things about the Wire. I need to start at the beginning on DVD, I think.

7:09 PM  
Blogger GetFlix said...

This could be a solution to my lack of decent television!! Thanks for the recommend!!

7:38 PM  
Blogger LA said...

Speaking of HBO, I watched 7 back-to-back episodes of Six Feet Under yesterday.

The Wire doesn't look like my genre, but the TV reviewer whose blog I frequent is a big fan.

Have a great trip!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Have a great trip! i leave for Colorado in 2 days!
I know it will be freezing.

1:27 PM  

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