The title of this post is actually the first Kanye West song I heard in college, back when his jaw was wired shut following a car accident, check it out if you aren’t familiar with it. However, the real wire this post is about is something entirely different: the HBO TV series “The Wire”.
Originally running from 2002-2008, I had only heard of the show because it followed my previous favorite TV series (The Sopranos), and I had a few friends that raved about it. Fast forward to 2010, Chelsea and I were looking for a new series to get in to, so I convinced her to try it out. We started watching occasionally back in May, and finished the very last episode this weekend. I think I can speak for the two of us when I say that it is definitely an amazing series, and one we would recommend watching.
The show is set in Baltimore, Maryland and follows the Baltimore police department around through various investigations and wire-taps. But it is so much more than that. It isn’t your typical cop drama with a series of self-contained episodes and a general theme. Each season in centered on, and tackles, a particular theme ranging from drugs to shipping to schools to politics to media. Pictured above are two of the main characters, and two of our favorites. And for a fun fact, at least two of the major characters in the series are British, (one of them above) but you might not be able to tell because their accents are so good.
Many critics agree that the writing on the show is outstanding, not only for its character development and storytelling, but also because of the realism it portrays and the issues it addresses. They even managed to make shotgun-toting gangster Omar pictured above, and the drug kingpin Prop Joe below, likable guys.
I have two basic criteria for what makes for a good TV series. The first is that when watching, I lose track of time. Each episode actually goes by so quickly, that when I get around to looking up on the display of the DVD player, there are only 5 minutes left. This is a testament to the writing really drawing me in. I only remember this happening with two other series: The X-files, which I made Chelsea watch with me, and The Sopranos, which I’ll make her watch in the future. Actually, the moment with the X-files always happened during the last commercial break, right as each episode really heated up.
The second basic criterion is that you get so involved with each of the characters, that you feel like you know them. Another example of excellent writing. This happened with The Sopranos in college to the point where one of my roomates started smoking cigarettes like Silvio, and we started calling him Bohmassio instead of Bohm. Well it has happened again with “The Wire”. Knowing that we only had one episode left, we were still curious how they would handle the rest of the storylines. I’m happy how everything tied together in the end, but a little sad because Jimmy McNulty and crew won’t be around anymore.
The good news is that we have plenty of other series to fill the void. Next on our list are: Dexter, Mad Med, and Breaking Bad in no particular order, along with some “girly” series to lighten the mood a little. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.