Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Through The Wire

Well, that’s it - all five series of The Wire done and dusted. A noticeable chunk of my DVD collection now houses and proudly displays these box sets, but I do feel like a part of my life has come to a close - like I’ve just dropped my firstborn off at his/her's halls of residence, having gone through the various joyous stages of fatherhood. Slightly over the top perhaps? If you’re nodding your head in agreement with this, you obviously haven’t watched a single episode of this tremendous programme.

Actually, I’m not about to wax lyrical about The Wire (too much) as there’s so many writers out there who have done this more
succinctly and eloquently then I ever could. Suffice to say, this is some of the best writing that I have ever come across in any form of fiction. It’s a programme that when compared to the vast majority of contemporary Hollywood product out there, it really is impossible to believe that TV was once considered inferior to its big-screen counterpart.

Invariably, any fans you speak to will list their favourite series in this order – the best being the 4th, followed by 3, 1, 5 and 2. To put how great The Wire is into some kind of context, series 2, considered a slight departure in quality from the first one, focusing primarily on the grotty and less compelling milieu of the Baltimore docks, is still a billion times better than the greatest episode of The Bill ever produced.

That’s right, The Wire is that good. There is such a rich assortment of thoroughly fleshed-out and involving characters on display here, that you will argue and discuss for many hours with loved-ones, friends and work colleagues, who is your favourite. Gay, badass gangster Omar ranks quite high for some
people, but I find it hard to single anyone out in particular, although I have a soft-spot for the tough and principled police lieutenant Cedric Daniels.

A ‘better late than never’ shout-out must go out to the BBC who are now showing all five series on a nightly basis. However, for anyone who has yet to see this programme, I would recommend the box set approach as your level of investment and reverence will be compromised by having to wait for one episode a night - you will require a much quicker fix and the means of facilitating this. My missus and I have found ourselves taking in five or six episode in one sit-in, fully allowing ourselves to be immersed in one of, if not, the greatest TV programmes ever made. Much like the compromised and jaded figure of ‘Commissioner’ Daniels at the end of series 5, I haven’t been “juking the stats” when I make this claim.