Tuesday, July 24, 2007

TV recommendation

I just finished season three of the HBO show, “The Wire.” I don’t have HBO, so I’ve been watching them on the season DVD’s they put out. I’m also a little late in the game, since the fourth season finished last winter and the fifth season is coming out this January. It’s a police/detective drama based in the city of Baltimore, based mainly on the drug life of the streets. I’ll quickly say this to set the tone for the rest of this blog entry, if “LOST” wasn’t on TV, this would be the best show on TV. Period.

I’m actually probably in the minority on this view that have watched “The Wire” and have it ranked below the number one slot. The number two position is too low the diehards will tell you. Here’s the funny thing, not a lot of people have even heard of the show. I found out about it randomly when reading something similar to this plug in a Bill Simmons article about a year ago.

Fortunately for you, I’m not the only one with these sentiments. The magazine Entertainment Weekly (maybe you’ve heard of it) puts out an issue every December, that reads: “The Best of the Year.” It ranks the best entertainment of the year. In a way of getting an unbiased opinion, the magazine had two head TV writers list their top 10 shows on TV right now. Three shows were on both lists. The other two shows were positioned differently in each list. Guess where “The Wire” finished? You probably already get the drift, but it finished #1 on both lists. Have I got your attention yet?

If you haven’t even heard of the show, you’re probably in a little bit of shock right now. Maybe you fell a little cheated. You should, but that’s alright, I understand. Feel cheated no more, go out and see it. Here is a sample of the 100 reasons why I love the show:

Reason #1- The cast-
It’s an ensemble cast with about 150 different people. Ok, maybe not that much, but it’s a lot. It does focus on a few characters more then others, so you can get attached to certain characters. The large cast provides multiple story lines that always keep you on your feet. There is never a wasted scene in “The Wire,” every scene means something.

The best part of the ensemble cast is the unrecognizable factor. I’m pretty good on knowing actors and where they’ve acted before, but I think I recognized six out of the 150. I’m shooting 4% in this category. I feel like Troy Hudson. To me, this makes the show authentic. You obviously know it’s fake, but you’ll get lost in the story sometimes thinking that it is real. Don’t you love shows like that? “Saved by the Bell” had the same affect on me… Anyways, I think a cast with known faces would have ruined this priceless aspect of the show.

Reason #7- HBO-
This one might be obvious, but it’s so true. Trying to soften up the harshness of drugs, gangs, & street violence for network TV wouldn’t have the same affect if you could show them in their true light. Thank God for HBO! This is like NYPD Blue on red bull and steroids. So, instead of drug dealers talking like kindergarten teachers, drug dealers are talking like drug dealers.

Reason # 36: Cars-
This one always gets me. People doing noble work like detectives barely getting by are driving around in sedans while the gangsters selling illegal drugs are driving around in beautiful Escalades. TV perception or reality? Probably the latter…

Reason #61: Hangouts-
Drinking by railroad tracks. Love it.

Reason # 82: Respect-
The rapport the detectives have with the criminals. It’s like one big game to both of them. It’s not a complete hatred. Both sides have semi respect for each other. Both sides are tying to out fox each other. The detectives want to lock these guys up and the dealers want to keep slinging. Both sides have clever ways to succeed in their missions and it also leads to some comical exchanges between the two parties.

Reason #100: Character names-
This pertains pretty much to the gangster/drug side. The names flow so well and seem to fit right with the lifestyle they lead. Like Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell (my favorite), Prop Joe, Bubbles, Omar, Slim Charles, etc…

Bottom line: I can’t guarantee that you’ll think this is the best TV show out there, but I can guarantee that it’s not going to be a waste of time and that you’ll love that got into it. So on those slow late summer nights or cold winter days, watch “The Wire.” You’ll like it, I promise.

Side note on the Season breakdown: Season one is off the charts; you’ll definitely be hooked. Season two is a little off, but don’t give up on it, because Season three is another grand slam. I’ve heard Season four is the same, can’t wait to see it…


Bellz said...


I also really like this show. I appreciate your insights.

May I recommend Showtime's "Weeds" to you if you haven't already watched. It is a much different tone than The Wire, but it moves quick and is as equally entertaining and intriguing series.

Tank said...

I agree Bellz. I've watched season 1 and have season 2 on the way. Another classic show.