Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Oasis in the TV Desert

I'm happy to report that I've (belatedly) discovered a sanctuary in the vast, blighted wasteland that is contemporary television. It's taken me a while to come around, but I am now totally hooked on The Wire. It's set in Baltimore, and to say it's a TV crime drama is like saying Hamlet is a story about a sad Danish kid. This show is more than TV...it's literature. Seriously, high school kids are going to be studying this in their English classes in about 100 years. The characters are fantastically complex, nuanced and deep. The bad guys are often quite likable, or are only bad because their circumstances demand it. Likewise, the good guys don't wear shining armor or white hats...they're good, but they're only so good. To the extent that there's a unifying theme, the show is about the way individuals interact with institutions (e.g., a detective vs. the police bureaucracy, or a poor city kid vs. "the game" of urban drug-dealing), and it's at once engaging and philosophical. In short, it's the best thing that's been on TV in decades, if not ever. Do yourself a favor: find a way to see this show.

2 comments:

The Deacon said...

Oh, man, we love this show. We're almost finished with season three (in fact, we watched three straight episodes yesterday afternoon). I have yet to be disappointed in an HBO original series (Six Feet Under is a personal favorite), but The Wire is especially good. McNulty - he's good police.

The Deacon said...

Oh, man, we love this show. We're almost finished with season three (in fact, we watched three straight episodes yesterday afternoon). I have yet to be disappointed in an HBO original series (Six Feet Under is a personal favorite), but The Wire is especially good. McNulty - he's good police.