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Latest Binge Watch: The Wire

So I’ve figured out that I’m a serious binge viewer.

I’ve also discovered I’ve got some serious gaps in my TV viewing knowledge. (Breaking Bad, anyone?)

One such ‘gap’ I’ve recently filled is HBO’s The Wire. I know, I know; watching The Wire verges on something akin to old news. It’s kind of like the Battlestar Galactica reboot. It took me a couple – okay, maybe more than a couple – of years to find the boarding ramp to the show’s cultural bandwagon. But, hey, I did find it. And it was an amazing ride!

Same logic applies to The Wire.

I can offer the caveat/explanation that I didn’t have HBO. I have a thing about paying for pay channels. That’s just me.

So, The Wire. THE WIRE!!

I understand why I’ve heard from so many corners, at so many intervals, over so many years that The Wire is bad ass and simply has to be watched.

Now, having completed all five (FIVE?!?!) seasons, I will say the same to you. Go binge it. Now. (AFTER you’ve finished reading this post, of course.)

Sure, as with any long-running series, there’s a bit of a slump here and there. Nevertheless, what emerges overall is an audacious character study of an American city grappling with how to reconcile a gloried but problematic history with the current complexities of society while pushing for solutions and big ideas that will lead the city forward into the brave new competitive marketplace. Sounds awesome, huh?

Each season focuses on a public institution or policy as filtered through the city’s police department.

The first season was my favorite. Looking back, you could see the series’s ultimate grand portrait foreshadowed in the way the first season established an intricate web of police investigations among groups of people and how the detective’s mantra, ‘follow the money,’eventually took you to all corners of the city.

The Wire makes its audience work. The investigation’s pieces, dumped out like a 1,000-piece puzzle box scattered on a table, were introduced and that was it.  So little context was given that you couldn’t immediately know how important or not important each person was or wasn’t going to be.  Instead, you had to engage with the characters and pay attention; a piece of information you came across haphazardly in episode two may not pay off until something later in episode nine. That’s pretty cool. Go figure, a series about police investigation that, in its structure, asks you to take part in that same tedious process to understand and enjoy the program.

What a concept!

How very cool!

I’ll miss you McNulty, Omar, Bubbs, Tommy, Snoop and everyone else, but your crazy attempts to live by a code and believe in your hometown, Baltimore, will live forever!

Have you watched The Wire? Thoughts?

What’s your latest binge addiction?

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