Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Wire: Season 1

I just finished watching season 1 of The Wire last night. I had heard so many great things about this program and it definitely lived up to my every expectation. I caught one episode on MNET a few years ago, when I was home for Christmas, but could not follow the plot as hard as I tried (and this is coming from a veteran crime show viewer). When I got the DVD set and started watching my way through it, I quickly realised why. It is not your average cop show, in which the case is wrapped-up neatly by the end of the hour (it is apparently not even a cop show). This is one intricate story, which evolves from episode to episode. Like the show's creator/writer stated in the audio commentary (Yes, you read correctly - I watch the special features religiously. This is one nerdy girl.), The Wire is more like a novel transposed to television. You don't often get to see that on TV these days, since increasing competition between stations for ratings and viewers' shrinking attention spans, means that TV writers tend to keep things simple so that their viewers won't get all confused and (Heavens Forbid!!!) change the channel.

I am so glad that the writers of The Wire took that chance, because the end result is a highly-engaging drama with some of the most incredible and finely-nuanced acting I have seen on TV in a long time. I'm going to start season 2 tonight, so you know where you'll find me most evenings for the next week or so ......


Anonymous said...

The Wire is the best TV show ever, and it's not close. The first season didn't really grab me until about episode five, but once it did I was hooked forever. The show really lends itself well to multiple viewings so you notice intricasies and subtleties and how they connect to other episodes, whether or not they are even in the same season!

In my opinion, the second season is the weakest of the three to date. I still loved it, but it would be impossible to beat the first season.

Or so I thought! The third season is an absolute masterpiece -- better than the first, if only because by that time the patient viewer has invested a huge amount of time in getting to know the characters and their relationships. Season Three is incredibly rewarding.


Ore said...

Oh, man! I really agree that you get a lot more out of the show, the more times you watch it. I saw the first two episodes of season 1 again and caught several things that I had either missed the first time around or which did not make much sense to me until I had watched some of the later episodes.

I have heard other fans of the show echo your opinion about season 2 being the weakest, though many also believed that it offered so much in terms of character development and offered viewers the opportunity to really get to know each character, so that by the time season 3 comes along, you get even more out of it.

Now, I really cannot wait until season 3 comes out on DVD.

seke said...

yep. just finished watching season 1 and it's definitely brilliant. highly detailed, novelistic, and for all its contemprary flava, very classically structured. It also cements HBO's rep as the currently best purveyor of quality moving-image narratives (first the Sopranos hooked me, though that's getting a bit tired and needs revitalization for the upcoming alleged final two seasons; then I discovered the funny and clever Sex & the City via my little sis'; and now the Wire, via my older sis'). HBO's freedom from having to satisfy advertisers frenetic demands every ten minutes (as well as the relative puritanism of mainstream American TV values) allows them to really fly creatively.

Ore said...

@Seke: I'm glad you loved The Wire. I am 3/4 of the way through with season 2. I hope you enjoy that one too. Even though it was more low-key in many ways than the first season (and I hope that I'm not giving away anything by saying that), there were still several land-mark events which took place and I CANNOT wait to see how these play out by the end of the season and also in season 3.

Well, all I can say now is that it was probably a good thing that I didn't have HBO back in the States. I might have never left the house. LOL!