Thursday, February 28, 2008

Near the end of The Wire

With only two episodes left -- just one for those with HBO On Demand -- one of America's most underrated television shows is preparing to end. The beauty about The Wire is that like the city it depicts (Baltimore), fans are sprawled across demographics of race and class with very different reasons for watching. Whether you're a fan of the streets, the school, the politics, the police or the newsroom or the entire web, The Wire is a novel set in the declining American metropolis with a gallery of atypical but compelling characters.

Periodically The SOULution will provide links of praise, criticism and discussion about this seminal work of fiction. The first is an excellent essay by Brian Cook for In These Times with an excerpt below:

"Throughout its five seasons on HBO, The Wire has created riveting fictional drama out of the residents living, policing and selling dope on the streets of Baltimore. Described by its co-creator David Simon as the ultimate "anti-cop show, a rebellion against the horseshit police procedurals afflicting American television," The Wire obliterates easy dichotomies of "good cops" and "bad drug dealers." Instead, it builds morally complex characters on both sides of the law whose individual decisions are largely shaped by political and economic forces outside their control. After detailing the ravages of the drug trade in its first season, the show broadened its scope in each subsequent season, examining the city's collapsing industrial sector (and unions), political system, public schools and, finally, journalistic institutions."

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