First Impressions: The Wire, HBO (2002)
Baltimore returns to prime time and it does so on the most prestigious stage in American television: Sunday nights on HBO, the home of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. The news is that The Wire, a 13-week series about life on both sides of a major drug investigation in the Baltimore housing projects, deserves to breathe that rarefied air.
Like those two dramas, The Wire might be an acquired taste for viewers who warm to innovative programming slowly. But those who stick with the show for two or three episodes are going to find themselves caring about people with whom they might never have imagined becoming acquainted.
For some viewers, though, the biggest reward will spring from the way the show speaks to widespread feelings – anger, disillusionment, unease – about the workplace or other once-trusted institutions.
The pilot for The Wire starts out looking like a traditional police drama – specifically, Homicide: Life on the Street. That's not surprising since The Wire's creator is David Simon, author of the book upon which Homicide. Furthermore, Clark Johnson, who played Detective Meldrick Lewis on Homicide, directed the debut episode.
The first episode is not perfect. At times, it assumes an insider's sense of city government. And in the drug dealers' world, the use of dialect and slang make it difficult to catch the nuances of what is being said. Some viewers may bristle at the idea of Simon, a white writer, creating this sort of dialogue for African-American characters. There also are problems with how women are portrayed. Overall, the combination of flaw and innovation is enough to give me pause in predicting how large an audience the series will ultimately find. But I'm rooting for The Wire – not because it is produced in Baltimore and creates local jobs, but because of how high it tries to reach.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Breaking Bad season 6 hoax: Vince Gilligan has not confirmed a new series
Strictly Come Dancing v X Factor: Simon Cowell blasts BBC over scheduling war
Doctor Who series 8: Ofcom will not investigate lesbian kiss
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >