24 July 2007

The Wire: The Journey Begins...

So, after aeons of waiting, the time finally arrived. The 'time' in question was, of course, the temporal point at which I would start, at long last, being a viewer of that near-mythical beast, the most lavishly praised television show in the history of idiots like me staring blankly at cathode ray, plasma and LCD screens: The Wire. Well, the title of this post kind of pre-emptively sucked any suspense out of that little passage, didn't it?

Yes. As the above button with Brasseye, Seinfeld, Lost and Our Friends in the North will attest with just a solitary click, I am a viewer of much television. Being also a reader of the thoughts of other people about television, I couldn't help but notice the one show whose mind-boggling level of praise made the worlds critical appraisal of The Sopranos look like it was the return of Heil Honey I'm Home. Quite apart from every message board banging on about how great it is, the esteemed Charlie Brooker has gone on at length, repeatedly about how it is literally the best TV show ever. He even made a programme for Fox in which he knocked about for a bit in Baltimore talking to people about it.

Thankfully that Fox programme meant the FX channel was going to air the first four seasons, episode by episode, every week until it was done. Now, despite warnings that season 1 apparently wasn't that good, and the above-linked article comparing the show to a novel in its slow build, don't-expect-anything-life-changing-instantly formula, I warmed to it instantly.

That could possibly be due to a level of self-fulfilling prophecy, the massive hype and self assurance that I would love it leading me to love it. It could also be because I was expecting something slow and gradual because of the aforementioned warnings. I think that, partly due to my status of wannabe writer, I can be impressed with a programme that isn't overtly dramatic or ostensibly impressive from the beginning. I love the atmosphere of the show thus far, I can see the seeds of grand narrative (of which, due to contientious spoiler evasion, I am currently blissfully unaware) being sown*, and I very much dig the realistic, compelling characters and dialogue.

I won't go as far as to say its greatness makes the likes of Dexter unwatchable, but that may partly be down to my having seen more episodes of the latter thus far. I can certainly see how the Baltimore-set show massively trumps its Miami relation (they're both on FX in the UK, all right?) in terms of police department scenes and officer interaction. Obviously The Wire lacks any protagonists as obvious as a serial killer who works for the police (as far as I know~!~!~!), so any straight comparison right now is moot. I am incredibly excited, though, and might just pick the DVDs up. Or watch my seasons one and two of Homicide: Life on the Streets (David Simon created them both, see) in anticipation. I just wanted to mark the start of my Wire voyage, really.

I have a good feeling about this...


* And how grand it blatantly is!

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