Well, well, well. How interesting to see the purchase of the nail gun we saw in the first episode of season four of The Wire come back around to bring everything together. "It's a tomb," says Freamon in "A New Day," and it all makes sense to me. Well, some of it makes sense anyway.
And then there's the teetering decision of whether Freamon will keep getting crap from the higher-ups about going out and looking for Marlo's bodies, using up manpower, and upping the murder rate of the city, or whether they'll do the right thing and actually do their jobs. Oh, the bodies that rolled in.
The system is outdated and always in need of a revamping, as technology and the proliferation of programming increases every year. Some contenders are just going to get a big, ugly, high school prom date snub.
That doesn't mean the process is without its no-brainers. I'm referring, of course, to the shows that deserve special recognition for changing the course of the medium and showing the world its possibilities and not to the people actually doing the nominating. The last season of The Wire will go down as one of the biggest no-brainers of all time.
I'm well into season four of The Wire (just finished "Margin of Error"; read my other Jane After Dark installments), and getting into the guts of the Baltimore political scene and how it's all interwoven with the cops and drug business.
Oh, those kids! It really makes you see how they've gotta be extremely driven to get out of that life, because a lot of the adults are just priming them to continue the drug business into the next generation. Not only their parents -- which is really sad -- but people like Marlo, who has his minions handing out back-to-school cash to build goodwill with the kids. At that rate, those kids don't have a shot of clawing their way out of a life of crime.
It will take me another run-through or two to really fit all the pieces together, but I'm digging how all of the characters have evolved ... or not ...
Well, holy cow. I did not see that coming, although from what you've all said, I was prepared for just about anything to happen on The Wire. Except that!
I feel like season three ended on a high note. Well, sort of ... at least for McNulty, now walking the beat in the Western Division. Even though he's wearing a uniform, which is just weird for him, he's talking and laughing with the residents, and that's really what it's all about. And Rhonda and Cedric are together (oh, that chiseled butt of his!).
Even with all the busts, though, the drug business sails onward, with Marlo moving up in the hierarchy and Dennis' boxing gym virtually deserted, all the kids lured back into the streets. But mostly, season three was all about Episode 11, "Middle Ground"; in particular, a few penultimate scenes...
After a brief break to watch season four of Weeds last week, Jane After Dark is back with The Wire. I'm half-way into season three, and while there are definitely parts of this show that put me to sleep (ducking and running for cover), it's still a brilliant drama. My teenage son popped in for part of an episode, decided it was too "real," and promptly lost interest.
To help me organize my thoughts, let's take a look at a few characters:
Stringer Bell. I'm really digging Idris Elba dressed up in his fancy suit, running the real estate company, working with government officials, and holding drug meetings using Robert's Rules of Order. It's fascinating that there's this whole hierarchy within the gangs that most of them respect and follow.
As John Howard noted in the comments in last week's Jane After Dark column, I really haven't talked much about Omar yet. I just finished season two of The Wire, and to be honest, most of my thoughts right now revolve around the Sobotka clan.
First of all, how stupid was Ziggy? The guy's always been a live wire, and you could see the bad karma building throughout this season, with him flashing money around, showing off his Italian leather coat, and going a little bonkers with the stolen Mercedes. Things were bound to go bad for him, and they did just that when his deal with Double-G went oh so wrong.
I'm three episodes into season two of The Wire. I tried watching it online as Usama suggested in last week's Jane After Dark comments (thank you for that awesome site!), but decided to just buy the DVDs, because I stop and start a lot and need easy access to it. So I looked around town and found a fairly reasonably priced season two at FYE. It's new; no one seems to have any used sets, which makes me think - as you all have suggested - that no one ever gets rid of their DVDs of The Wire. They keep them around to watch again and again. I'll probably just buy each season as I work my way through the series.
And speaking of starting and stopping, The Wire does not get any easier to watch while doing something else at the same time. Whenever I try to do that, I end up replaying those parts again, because there's way too many subtleties to be only half-paying attention.
As in last week's Jane After Dark column, I'm still a bit lost on exactly what's happening, but that doesn't seem to really matter. The characters are so interesting to watch. It's almost like you're watching a documentary about the real thing, rather than a scripted TV show. I took the suggestion of some of you and started watching with the subtitles on. It really does help!
I noticed that Alan Sepinwall is also blogging on The Wire -- and writing a masters thesis on each episode. He even has two different versions -- one for newbies and one for veterans. I'm the anti-Sepinwall, just trying to grasp the storyline and get the basic gist. But I did read his newbie editions and found them helpful.
I never intended to watch The Wire next in my Jane After Dark pursuits. In fact, I planned on watching Veronica Mars, as many of you suggested. But a good number of you also recommended The Wire, and I had season one sitting here, so I popped it in one night.
I'm not gonna lie to you. It's been slow going. Here's how it went down:
Episode 1: I was completely lost, so I watched it twice to see if I could grasp it the second time around. Then I read the detailed synopsis on The Wire's official HBO site. Clearly, this show is not meant to be watched while you're doing something else. You need to sit down and focus on what's going on.
David Simon, the creator of The Wire, has received a nine-episode greenlight for his new show Treme, a character drama that looks at the lives of New Orleans musicians in the post-Katrina reconstruction.
Simon brought the show to life with Eric Overmeyer, both of whom worked together on Homicide: Life on the Street. It will also star former Wire stars Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters as well as Steve Zahn, Khandi Alexander, Melissa Leo, Kim Dickens and Rob Brown.
HBO knows Simon and Fontana's work really well. Simon was the creator of The Wire and Fontana's brainchild was Oz. This is also not a new collaboration. Fontana turned Simon's book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, into the Homicide: Life on the Streets TV series for NBC.
Right now he's begging his readers to tune into HBO Sunday night and watch The Wire season 4. Like others have, Patton calls The Wire the "best show ever on television." Here's the money quote : "The Wire is one of the few times you'll watch TV and not feel like the people making TV think you're a fucking idiot."
Not only his reaction, but the reaction of a certain segment of the Baltimore population. YouTube also has a few other good clips on The Wire right now, including the two mini-documentaries HBO ran this summer in advance of the new season. (Video clip below the jump.)
[Thanks to Andrew Krucoff for sending this along.]
I've never seen the show, but everything I've heard about the show - from people whose opinion I trust in these matters - rave about it. Every single review of the show uses the words "brilliant" and "great writing" and "great cast," and the writiers and directors on the show (including David Simon, who also worked on Homicide, and crime novelists George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane) are an interesting bunch. So why doesn't the show get the same massive buzz that The Sopranos and Deadwood do?
The Star-Ledger's Alan Sepinwall has a long essay about what makes The Wire so great. It makes me want to watch the show (I guess it did its job), and that's a good thing, since it looks like a final, fifth season will depend on how many viewers tune in to the long-delayed fourth season, which starts September 10.