Thursday, September 3, 2009

You gotta keep the devil way down in the hole...

So on the advice of pretty much everyone on the Internet I went ahead and started watching The Wire. I gotta say, it's not bad. I'm still reserving judgment on whether it's the best show on television though. I will concede that for people with an irrational fear of sci-fi or fantasy it could very well be.For me though, the likes of Buffy, or more recently Lost and Battlestar Galactica trump The Wire in several ways.

What The Wire brings to the table is some great characters, and a massive overarching story that encompasses each seasons arcs and continuously builds on them. The characters themselves fill out more and fan out relationships until the whole thing becomes this great epic story of warring families and terrible betrayal. Actually, now that I think about it, betrayal seems to be a key theme everyone's always going behind each others backs in this show. It didn't really strike me while watching, but looking back the good guys and bad guys alike constantly screw each other. Not that there is clear cut good and bad. Sure, everyone sticks to their designated lawful/unlawful side of the fence, but all the main characters are definitely shades of gray rather than tones of black and white.

It' not all great though, while the characters and overall story are pretty great, the writing gets a little clumsy sometimes. Kima was a great character in the first season, but they had to telegraphed the crap out of everything that was going to happen to her, and then hammered the rest of her important traits every chance possible. Then they nerfed her character via storyline the rest of the show from season 2 onwards.

Furthermore, I never understood why Stringer Bell was the 2IC to Avon until much later on. In the first two seasons he's king bad-ass while Avon does very little of anything. Sure, they hint that maybe it's a Barksdale family history thing, but it's not something that gets explained until season 3.

I'm willing to forgive though. I mean, if I had to justify all the goofy stuff that happens between the good stuff in Lost, I'd need a week of essay posts. Besides, every thing in season 1 was worth it for the McQueen-being-sent-to-the-cooler style shot of McNulty on the boat at the very end. McNulty's such a wag.

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