Thursday, October 18, 2007

"You Can’t Make This Shit Up"

If, like any sensible human being, you’re counting down the days until the fifth and final series of The Wire starts airing on HBO in January, The New Yorker has a great article by Margaret Talbot about the show and it’s creator David Simon.


Simon makes it clear that the show’s ambitions were grand. “‘The Wire’ is dissent,” he says. “It is perhaps the only storytelling on television that overtly suggests that our political and economic and social constructs are no longer viable, that our leadership has failed us relentlessly, and that no, we are not going to be all right.” He also likes to say that “The Wire” is a story about the “decline of the American empire.” Simon’s belief in the show is a formidable thing, and it leads him into some ostentatious comparisons that he sometimes laughs at himself for and sometimes does not.

6 Comments:

At 10:10 am, Blogger Lucy said...

I haven't watched The Wire yet. What's good about it script-wise? [I'm geuinely interested btw, since so many American shows at the mo seem to have crashing exposition that sets my teeth on edge]

 
At 8:46 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Hon, The Wire is something I could rhapsodize about until the end of time. So, I’ll try and keep this brief.

It may look like a cop show, but, as the series developed from the police combating the drug-dealers in the low-rises in the first season to the docks, city hall and the school system over the successive years, The Wire is about Baltimore.

While each season tells one main story (along with numerous continuing subplots) over the 12/13 episodes – although they’re more like chapters – it allows for character and situation first, then story. (If you check the pages on The Wire on the HBO website, you’ll find sixty-odd characters listed. Marvellously, the “star” of the show – Dominic’s West’s Jimmy McNulty – hardly gets a look in in the fourth year.) I think it’s the second year where the police don’t get a handle on their operation and target until at least the sixth episode, by which time we have some understanding of what is going on and where everyone is coming from.

The stories are utterly compelling. There are no pat resolutions. Not everyone wins. Certainly nobody gets what they deserve. At times it’s shocking and absolutely heartbreaking. David Simon was, for many years a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun. Ed Burns served in the Baltimore PD for twenty years, spending most of that time as a detective in Homicide. It’s safe to say these chaps know what they’re talking about, and it shows in every frame.

The first three seasons are available on DVD and have been knocked down to sale prices for a while now. Treat yourself to the first season and decide for yourself. But make sure you have some free time set aside.

 
At 1:11 pm, Blogger Andrew Collins said...

I gave into relentless pressure about a year ago from those who were ahead me and bought the first season. A couple of episodes is all it will take. Money back promise. I didn't stop until I'd done all three box sets.

 
At 11:14 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Lucy, there you go honey...

An endorsement from Mr C. What more can you want.

So... BUY IT!

 
At 8:19 am, Blogger Lucy said...

I'm sold. Now I've just got to find some time...

 
At 8:21 am, Blogger Lucy said...

P.S. Tho I shld probably mention that if I don't like it, you get the blame GD and I may just get tipped over the edge into insanity by all the bad TV I've seen lately and kill everyone's ass on here. Just so you know ; )

 

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