Thursday, January 29, 2009

Watching The Wire

I just finished season 2 of The Wire and I was, once again, utterly blown away by how good this show is. I was slow coming to it, having just started watching a couple of years ago, but since the discovery I do bang the drum hard and loud whenever and wherever I can. So far, I've had little luck hooking anyone on it, and have only gotten so far as getting Jen to watch an episode or two with me but, as the saying goes, if at first you don't succeed...

Back in the day, I loved David Simon's Homicide (which was developed by Paul Attanasio, Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson for NBC, then joined by Simon in the fourth season) and I was hesitant, initially, to jump on a show that was about wire-tapping and surveillance. I didn't know any of the actors and the fact that I didn't have access to HBO probably didn't help matters much, either. I think what finally put me over the edge, though, was an interview with Howard Chaykin over at The Word Balloon and he was talking about his first experience of the show. I think he said that when he was given the DVD set he locked himself in a room and watched all 12 hours in one sitting. It was a beautiful, sunny, California summer day outside, but he stayed in because he just couldn't stop watching. If you've ever seen the show then you already know its magnetic pull. How, on the surface, each episode seems very slow and nothing much seems to happen. And yet, every chapter of this story drives you into the next and the next after that until you get to the end. It is one of the densest, richest, well put together programs on TV; period.

I'm going to take a bit of a breather before embarking on season 3 where Simon, Ed Burns and Co. take on the Baltimore city bureaucracy, but I've got the anticipation building already.

Oh and, by the way, my birthday is in September and there is a complete DVD set of the series so, if you were fishing for ideas...



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