While I was out, amongst other things, I finished The Wire.
What to say? I don’t even know. To everyone who told me (repeatedly) it was the best show ever: You were (mostly) right. I don’t know that it is my FAVORITE show of all time, but it’s definitely the BEST show I’ve seen. Everything is top-notch, from the writing, acting, cinematography, use of location, etc. Everything is carefully and perfectly constructed. There are no mistakes. Not a word is wasted.
Now that I finished it, I want to go back and watch again. This is a show that needs repeat viewings. Although I watched carefully, I’m sure there’s still a ton of stuff I missed. Also, I could listen to that dialogue all day long. It’s brilliant.
As you can see, I have nothing intelligent to say about the show. I’m still processing. However, those looking for intelligent discussion and breakdowns should read Sepinwall’s excellent recaps. I supplemented my viewing with these, and found it helped a lot. Look on the sidebar for The Wire seasons. He even divided his recaps into two separate categories: “newbies” and “veterans.”
What else? Favorites? Sure. (Spoilers ahead, proceed with caution.)
Character: Bubbles. Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles. He was the heart of the show (to me). I also loved Prez, Cutty, Dookie, Bunny, Beadie, Lester, D’Angelo, McNulty (most of the time) and The Bunk (whom I always liked fine, but really came around to in season 5.) While I understand the appeal of Omar, and enjoyed him (especially in court – see my title), I wouldn’t count him among my favorites. Sorry, internet. But above all of them is Bubbles. And I now need to see everything Andre Royo has been in ever. Dude is amazing.
Season: Season 4, with season 1 a very close second. I know it’s a cliché to love season 4, but c’mon. I can’t think of another season of television that comes close to standing up to season 4. For those of you who’ve seen it: Can you believe how much you came to care about The Corner Kids in 13 episodes? Amazing. Off the top of my head, the only season of TV in recent memory that comes close is season 1 of Friday Night Lights.
Title sequence: Season 1, for sure. I liked all of them, but nothing beats The Blind Boys of Alabama. Also, I spent the first several episodes trying to figure out what they were showing us in the opening credits. When I finally got understood, it was quite satisfying. (apologies to Steve Earl; yours was my second favorite and I loved you in the show.)
Scene(s): This is hard. Anything with Bubbles is up there. Omar vs. The Bunk on the park bench. Bodie and McNulty at the end of season 4. D’Angelo teaching Wallace and Bodie how to play chess. Omar in court. Stringer spouting his Roberts Rules of Order and talking about a 40 degree day. The infamous “fuck” scene. Lester and Bunk figuring out about the vacants. And, of course, “Where’s Wallace?” (I’m still not over it. Nor am I over D’Angelo. His death cut me up the most.) And also, this: Bubbles’ redemption.
Most shocking moment: The death of Omar. I actually knew it was coming – came across it accidentally in an article about TV deaths. I saw Omar’s face and immediately closed my browser. So I knew he wasn’t going to make it out of the show alive (and even if I didn’t know, it became pretty apparent in the final season). However: Death by Kennard? HOLY SHIT.
I’ve only scratched the surface, here. But it’s all I can say for now. To those who are curious, wondering if they should watch: Do it. Just know this is not a show one can watch casually. It takes all your concentration. And even then you will probably still miss 20 things per episode. This is a show that will make you think and make you feel. It will break your heart. It will break your heart many times over. You will try not to get attached to characters. You will fail. But shiiiiiiiiiiiitttt, in the end, it’s worth it.
Videos of the Day: Someone has nicely put together two compilations of the best lines from the show. Enjoy.