Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The best show on television is back!

The season premiere of The Wire was last night. It's amazing how little attention and acclaim that show has gotten. It's criminal how overlooked the show is. Salon.com agrees with me. When you look up television writing in the dictionary, there should just be a free coupon to rent the entire first season from Blockbuster. They have three novelists on the writing staff. And not just a bunch of hacks either. George Pelacanos, Richard Price (Clockers), and Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) are all critically acclaimed authors. You can tell the difference just by watching one episode. A good television show might have a scene in the beginning that doesn't immediately make sense. By the end of the episode, everything has been explained. On The Wire, you may be kept slightly in the dark until 3 or 4 full episodes later. The show definitely expects its viewers to work a little bit harder, but the payoff is worth it. Why has a show like this gotten so little press you ask? Simple. The main characters of the show are black people and lower-middle class white people. America would rather watch a skinny, upwardly mobile white woman fuck and shop her way around Manhattan than watch someone who has real, every day problems. Working man problems.

And not the sanitized version of the working man that ABC gives you. Nah. The Wire shows you young black drug dealers who walk and talk like young black drug dealers. The Wire shows you middle-aged white dock workers who go to the bar BEFORE they go to work in the morning. The Wire shows you cops who drive drunk. The Wire isn't set in NY or LA or Chicago or Miami. It's sit in Baltimore.

You have to love a show that spends an entire first season introducing characters and developing story lines, only shift the focus in a completely different direction in the second season. You have to love a show that features a character who makes his living robbing drug dealers with a shotgun, and also happens to be openly homosexual. You have to love a show that kills off one of it's main characters in the first season...and then does the same thing in the second season.

What I'm about to say will be considered blasphemy to some people. The Wire is a much better show than The Sopranos. And I'm not comparing it to the current Sopranos. I'm talking about the first and second season Sopranos. It's that good. So, do yourself a favor and watch it.

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