The Wire returns for its fifth and, sadly, final season Sunday night. I'm very late to The Wire party, but I'm all caught up, and I'm sure glad I took the time and effort to watch the first four seasons. It's fantastic.
I can't remember exactly why I didn't give it a chance when it first aired several years ago. With The Sopranos being so good, and Deadwood reaching similar status, with me at least, not so much with all viewers, maybe I underestimated The Wire figuring that sooner or later an HBO drama would surface that just wasn't that good.
Turns out I only had to wait until Big Love premiered.
But, as was the case with The Office, Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, etc., I'd read so much about how great The Wire is, I caved, and started the long, but incredibly rewarding process of watching previous seasons.
The writing is what sets The Wire apart as one of, if not the best drama on television. Rarely do I ever watch a scene and question what a character says, or how he says it, in the context of how or why a scene is played out. And, for each gripping piece of drama that oozes from an episode, there is a great deal of humor as well. It's biting, dark, and very appropriate for the settings in each season.
You gotta give credit to The Wire as well for being able to maintain such quality, while tackling, in essence, a different theme each season as its main story arc. Whether it's drugs, the docks, politics, education, or this season, the media, the show tackles each topic with grit and realism. You don't get tidy endings, or positive results with all of the characters involved.
In some cases, stories carry over from season to season, so the only way to get the full effect of how great this show is, is to watch from the beginning, and learn the origins of McNulty's dealings with the department, and the bottle...the Barksdale organization, Marlo, Omar, Bubs, Daniels, Rawls, the Sobotka's, Chris and Snoop, Prez, Prop Joe, Cutty, Bunny, and the four kids from season four, Michael, Dookie, Namond, and Randy.
So while you don't have time to catch up on all four seasons before Sunday's fifth season kicks off, it wouldn't hurt to start renting the DVD's and begin the ride you won't regret.
I can't recommend it enough. You feel me?