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Bri

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Why do people insist on saying "better than . . ." ?

Why can't this show, the Shield, Sopranos, etc., all just be top-notch TV and leave it at that?

IMO, the 1st through 3rd, and 5th, seasons of The Sopranos are some of the best TV ever made.

The Wire seasons 1 and 4 are top-notch TV, on that same level.

Everything else made by the two shows is better than 99.9% of all TV series ever made.

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Watching season 1 for the first time. On episode 5 I think, or maybe 6. Great show. Never seen an episode before today, and I imagine I'll be watching all of the first season by tonight.Funny episode in first season, where McNutty and his partner recreate the scene where the college girl was shot, only using "####" (f-word)...didn't realize it at first, but after about the 15th time they said it, I thought it was funny.

Episode 9 is incredible(might be 10 but pretty sure it's 9) I won't tell ya what happens but I guarantee that regardless of your plans you will watch episode 10 right after. Easily one of my favorite episodes.
just read the episode guides. its 10
Did you get up to this episode yet adonis? I am not advising you to jump ahead, I'm just asking. Don't want to be a "spoiler" for you
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Why do people insist on saying "better than . . ." ?Why can't this show, the Shield, Sopranos, etc., all just be top-notch TV and leave it at that?IMO, the 1st through 3rd, and 5th, seasons of The Sopranos are some of the best TV ever made.The Wire seasons 1 and 4 are top-notch TV, on that same level.Everything else made by the two shows is better than 99.9% of all TV series ever made.

I used "better than" when comparing it to The Sopranos b/c that has been the gold standard in television(especially HBO television) for the past 6-7 years. I think people like myself were so surprised that a show that gets so little publicity is so great. When you are labled the best, you open yourself up to comparison.
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I watched season four this year and had not seen seasons 1-3. I joined Netflix b/c of it and have caught up on all the episodes.

It really is the best show on TV with nothing else even being close. I agree that Sopranos season 1 was great, but it is not the same anymore. While watching all The Wire episodes, there was not one that was a disappointment or a let down. Quality, quality stuff.

I live in Baltimore so I recognize a lot of the area. I work downtown and have to take 395 off of 95 to get there. From the ramp of 395 you can overlook all of Western Baltimore. While watching season 1 I would always look out and try to find the towers. Not sure if they were ever there, but I found out they were blown up in a later season.

I'm not sure if Baltimore is worse then what is portrayed or not. If it is, it's kept seperate from the downtown area. Last year there was a couple who were in Western Baltimore. The woman(I knew) was pregnant and I think the guy was buying coke/heroin. Anyhow, the transaction must have went bad b/c the guy was shot in the car and the pregnant woman was shot in the back after getting out of the car and running down the street. They both died at University Hospital. The cops found the killer(15yo) and he had a text in his phone saying "I just killed two people and the B**** was pregnant." which was sent 15 minutes after the shooting. Turned out the cops didn't have a warrent to search the phone and the kid got off. Still hasn't been brought in again. I guess the game will just have to take care of it...

There is NO reason to be in Western Baltimore!!!

wow. that's an awful story.

If you need to get your fix while you wait for the next season to start, check out 'The Corner'; there's a book & DVD. Again, it's about west Baltimore. Specifially, Monroe and Fayette.

I live near DC so knowing that the show is taking place up the road certainly makes it more enjoyable because it's more real.

Nobody here has really talked about the use of music in the Wire. Season four has links to the songs used in each episode. Info on the past seasons can be found on this website; this is the guy that arranges the music for the show:

http://www.tenthousand.org/?p=132

Edited by T-Bone976
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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 weeks later...

I haven't seen season four yet but I rewatched season II and am watching season III right now.

Serious question: Is there a show in the history of TV with a better cast of characters?

McNulty, Kima, Herc.

Then you have Major Colvin, Lt Daniels, Cuddy, Bunk, Freaman, the fat Sgt at homicide, Cheese, Rawls, and Bubs.

Unbelievable group of characters.

My favorite is Omar. His testimony in season two, his job in general, and his way about him. And he's gay? Who writes this ####? Brilliant show. I am a huge lover of the Sopranos and I honestly think this show is as good. :hot:

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Dang, I saw this thread and the subtitle says "Starts Sunday night". I got extrememly excited for a minute.

David Simon and Ed Burns are the writers and it is by far the best show that I've ever seen.

ETA: They have been filming around Baltimore for the past month, not sure if they still are or if it's a wrap.

Edited by avoiding injuries
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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.

The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.

By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.

I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.

Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

It's a complicated show, with complicated dialogue. And to get into it really requires watching many episodes, as the story arcs go on for a long time, cover whole seasons, etc...I think these things hurt it w/r/t ratings but make it the quality of show that it is.
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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

It's a complicated show, with complicated dialogue. And to get into it really requires watching many episodes, as the story arcs go on for a long time, cover whole seasons, etc...I think these things hurt it w/r/t ratings but make it the quality of show that it is.
Totally agree. I think those same issues played a role in why the general public never really embraced Arrested Development, despite all the critical praise and awards.Both are shows that are best appreciated if you watch from the very beginning and actually pay attention. It also helps if you have a modicum of intelligence. For many folks, that is just too much to ask. :shrug:
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I haven't seen season four yet but I rewatched season II and am watching season III right now. Serious question: Is there a show in the history of TV with a better cast of characters?McNulty, Kima, Herc.Then you have Major Colvin, Lt Daniels, Cuddy, Bunk, Freaman, the fat Sgt at homicide, Cheese, Rawls, and Bubs. Unbelievable group of characters.My favorite is Omar. His testimony in season two, his job in general, and his way about him. And he's gay? Who writes this ####? Brilliant show. I am a huge lover of the Sopranos and I honestly think this show is as good. :hot:

:unsure: For the record:Season 1 of The Sopranos > Season 1 of The WireSeasons 2-4 of The Wire >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The last two Sopranos seasons.
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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

Yes, yes, and more yes. The only network-made one hour drama I can think of that is almost as good was Homicide. Homicide was also set in Baltimore. And it's no coincidence that David Simon also worked on Homicide.
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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

It's a complicated show, with complicated dialogue. And to get into it really requires watching many episodes, as the story arcs go on for a long time, cover whole seasons, etc...I think these things hurt it w/r/t ratings but make it the quality of show that it is.
Totally agree. I think those same issues played a role in why the general public never really embraced Arrested Development, despite all the critical praise and awards.Both are shows that are best appreciated if you watch from the very beginning and actually pay attention. It also helps if you have a modicum of intelligence. For many folks, that is just too much to ask. :thumbdown:
Yeah I think the whole premise is difficult for people to follow and the vernacular is complex. But the character development in this show is the best of any I've ever seen and the resolutions although not always to my liking, are extremely well executed. I think this is a show that if you sit down to watch it once, you need to go out and get the whole season. Episode three of season three (episode just before Amsterdamn) is probably the best 55 minutes of TV I've ever watched. If people watch that episode as their first and don't like it, they'll never like the show. If they do like it, buy season one and start watching and I'll guarantee you they'll get into it.
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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.

The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.

By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.

I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.

Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

Yes, yes, and more yes.

The only network-made one hour drama I can think of that is almost as good was Homicide. Homicide was also set in Baltimore. And it's no coincidence that David Simon also worked on Homicide.

:goodposting:

After season 3 of the Wire I went back and watched all 7 or 8 seasons of Homicide, the Corner, read the Homicide book that Simon wrote (tv series is based on his book), and read the Wire book about the series.

Love everything Simon does.

Also McNulty's wife was one of the Homicide detectives in its later years.

Not sure if this was discussed in this Wire thread but Simon and Burns are working on an HBO mini series about Iraq:

HBO has greenlit "Generation Kill," a seven-hour scripted miniseries based on the true story of Marines fighting in the Iraq war.

Gritty mini will look at the early movements of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion and depict the complex challenges faced by the U.S.-led mission even in the war's early stages.

David Simon and Ed Burns, both of "The Wire," have been attached to co-write and exec produce, while George Faber and Charles Pattinson ("Elizabeth I," "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers") are aboard to exec produce for HBO Films via their Company Pictures shingle.

Project, based on the Evan Wright nonfiction tome of the same name, is HBO's first scripted take on the war (Daily Variety, July 29, 2004). Paybox has previously focused on the war via docs, including "Baghdad ER" and the Oscar-nommed "Iraq in Fragments," which airs in March.

Insiders said "Kill" will aim for the immediacy and the spectacle, if not the production budget, of HBO's hit WWII project "Band of Brothers."

But execs were quick to point out that the tone of the two projects, like the wars themselves, would be substantially different.

Project isn't the first scripted drama a cable net has tried about the war in Iraq. FX's "Over There," produced by Steven Bochco, was lauded by critics when it aired in 2005, but it failed to find an audience and went off the air after 13 weeks, drawing just 1.6 million viewers by the end of its run.

Andrea Calderwood ("The Last King of Scotland") is producing "Kill"; Nina Noble co-exec produces. No cast has been attached yet.

Mini will begin a six-month shoot this summer in Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.

Wright was embedded with U.S. troops in the war's first phase in 2003, writing a three-part series for Rolling Stone that went on to win a National Magazine Award.

The mag stories later grew into a book that won a number of prestigious prizes, including a PEN USA Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

It also garnered the Gen. Wallace Greene Award, which the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation hands out itself.

Simon, who called the material "narrative journalism of the first rank," is a well-known former journo who's also the force behind the net's critically acclaimed "The Wire." Burns, his frequent writing partner, is a producer and scribe on "The Wire."

HBO had purchased rights to the book in 2004. Wright is also credited as a co-writer and consultant on the miniseries.

Essence of the project, according to net, is how elite members of the Marine Corps confront the military bureaucracy in the midst of a war.

Simon was paired with the project because, similarly, "The Wire" focused on cops and civil servants and how they deal with the Baltimore city bureaucracy in the face of gang warfare.

Tome also focuses on how today's military personnel differ from their WWII and Vietnam forebears. Wright wrote that Marines are "on more intimate terms with videogames, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents."

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111796026...mp;cs=1&p=0

Edited by Fiddles
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Essence of the project, according to net, is how elite members of the Marine Corps confront the military bureaucracy in the midst of a war.

That has me :popcorn: but the Wire has given me a tremendous amount of faith in these writers' ability so I'm anxious to see this.There was an article I read on the Hawitha(sp?) Damn that was just fascinating. The wayyyy outnumberred soldiers stopping the Iraqis from blowing up that damn and flooding+all. Someone bought the rights to that story(can't recall who) and then.....well it's been years, WTF? I feel almost cheated here. Forgive me if I mis-state the numbers but it was in the ballpark of 25 Americans vs 500-1000 Iraqis.Eh well anyway I hope this one Fiddles posted comes thru and we really do see this miniseries
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Side note : I have the last two discs of season 2 and all 5 Season 3s in my queue right now, but I don't see season 4 available. Is it not available to rent yet?

No, not yet. It's another great one though.
Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.
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Side note : I have the last two discs of season 2 and all 5 Season 3s in my queue right now, but I don't see season 4 available. Is it not available to rent yet?

No, not yet. It's another great one though.
Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.
that's a really tough question. I don't think I can answer it. All 4 seasons were equally awesome to me...but McNulty seems to play a smaller role in season 4, so I think that hurts it a little.
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Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.

I'm not sure most people liked 2 more than 1 - I recall some complaining about 2 (I think because it strayed somewhat from what they got comfortable with in season 1).I don't really like to rank the seasons - obviously you need to watch it and make up your own mind. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Sometimes they are available OnDemand if you have cable.
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Essence of the project, according to net, is how elite members of the Marine Corps confront the military bureaucracy in the midst of a war.

That has me :cry: but the Wire has given me a tremendous amount of faith in these writers' ability so I'm anxious to see this.There was an article I read on the Hawitha(sp?) Damn that was just fascinating. The wayyyy outnumberred soldiers stopping the Iraqis from blowing up that damn and flooding+all. Someone bought the rights to that story(can't recall who) and then.....well it's been years, WTF? I feel almost cheated here. Forgive me if I mis-state the numbers but it was in the ballpark of 25 Americans vs 500-1000 Iraqis.Eh well anyway I hope this one Fiddles posted comes thru and we really do see this miniseries
I have read Generation Kill and I am not sure about how the "confronting the military bureaucracy" part relates to the source material. But Generation Kill was a good book about some compelling events and Simon, et al. are masters of writing realism. I will definitely be watching.
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Side note : I have the last two discs of season 2 and all 5 Season 3s in my queue right now, but I don't see season 4 available. Is it not available to rent yet?

No, not yet. It's another great one though.
Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.
For me, seasons 1 ,3, & 4 are a virtual dead heat, with season #2 lagging behind. But not by much.If I had to force rank them, I'd probably go: 1, 4, 3, 2.
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Side note : I have the last two discs of season 2 and all 5 Season 3s in my queue right now, but I don't see season 4 available. Is it not available to rent yet?

No, not yet. It's another great one though.
Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.
For me, seasons 1 ,3, & 4 are a virtual dead heat, with season #2 lagging behind. But not by much.If I had to force rank them, I'd probably go: 1, 4, 3, 2.
This makes me look even more forward to watching 4. :D
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Best show on TV ever. The only drama that is even in the same league is Band of Brothers, and that was a mini-series.

The quality of the characters, dialogue and story over 4+ seasons is amazing.

By comparison, the Sopranos is completely overhyped dreck. I still watch it and enjoy it, because it is still better than most things on TV, but there is no question that it has slipped. And the Wire's Season 1, 3 and 4 were all better than the Sopranos has ever been.

I can't say enough about it. Most others who have watched it (and paid attention) agree, but apparently there aren't very many people who give it a fair shake, because it gets pretty crappy ratings...even for HBO.

Thankfully HBO has made a bet on quality and hasn't given up on the show.

Yes, yes, and more yes.

The only network-made one hour drama I can think of that is almost as good was Homicide. Homicide was also set in Baltimore. And it's no coincidence that David Simon also worked on Homicide.

:D

After season 3 of the Wire I went back and watched all 7 or 8 seasons of Homicide, the Corner, read the Homicide book that Simon wrote (tv series is based on his book), and read the Wire book about the series.

Love everything Simon does.

Also McNulty's wife was one of the Homicide detectives in its later years.

Not sure if this was discussed in this Wire thread but Simon and Burns are working on an HBO mini series about Iraq:

HBO has greenlit "Generation Kill," a seven-hour scripted miniseries based on the true story of Marines fighting in the Iraq war.

Gritty mini will look at the early movements of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion and depict the complex challenges faced by the U.S.-led mission even in the war's early stages.

David Simon and Ed Burns, both of "The Wire," have been attached to co-write and exec produce, while George Faber and Charles Pattinson ("Elizabeth I," "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers") are aboard to exec produce for HBO Films via their Company Pictures shingle.

Project, based on the Evan Wright nonfiction tome of the same name, is HBO's first scripted take on the war (Daily Variety, July 29, 2004). Paybox has previously focused on the war via docs, including "Baghdad ER" and the Oscar-nommed "Iraq in Fragments," which airs in March.

Insiders said "Kill" will aim for the immediacy and the spectacle, if not the production budget, of HBO's hit WWII project "Band of Brothers."

But execs were quick to point out that the tone of the two projects, like the wars themselves, would be substantially different.

Project isn't the first scripted drama a cable net has tried about the war in Iraq. FX's "Over There," produced by Steven Bochco, was lauded by critics when it aired in 2005, but it failed to find an audience and went off the air after 13 weeks, drawing just 1.6 million viewers by the end of its run.

Andrea Calderwood ("The Last King of Scotland") is producing "Kill"; Nina Noble co-exec produces. No cast has been attached yet.

Mini will begin a six-month shoot this summer in Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.

Wright was embedded with U.S. troops in the war's first phase in 2003, writing a three-part series for Rolling Stone that went on to win a National Magazine Award.

The mag stories later grew into a book that won a number of prestigious prizes, including a PEN USA Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

It also garnered the Gen. Wallace Greene Award, which the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation hands out itself.

Simon, who called the material "narrative journalism of the first rank," is a well-known former journo who's also the force behind the net's critically acclaimed "The Wire." Burns, his frequent writing partner, is a producer and scribe on "The Wire."

HBO had purchased rights to the book in 2004. Wright is also credited as a co-writer and consultant on the miniseries.

Essence of the project, according to net, is how elite members of the Marine Corps confront the military bureaucracy in the midst of a war.

Simon was paired with the project because, similarly, "The Wire" focused on cops and civil servants and how they deal with the Baltimore city bureaucracy in the face of gang warfare.

Tome also focuses on how today's military personnel differ from their WWII and Vietnam forebears. Wright wrote that Marines are "on more intimate terms with videogames, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents."

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111796026...mp;cs=1&p=0

Nice. That should be good. I need to re-watch the entire Homicide series.
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all of the seasons are amazingi dont think i can rank them

I agree with this. My wife liked the season with the dock workers more that the drug seasons because it was so refreshingly different. But I think all 4 seasons are just one uninterrupted stream of brilliance.
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Side note : I have the last two discs of season 2 and all 5 Season 3s in my queue right now, but I don't see season 4 available. Is it not available to rent yet?

No, not yet. It's another great one though.
Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.
that's a really tough question. I don't think I can answer it. All 4 seasons were equally awesome to me...but McNulty seems to play a smaller role in season 4, so I think that hurts it a little.
True, but the 8th graders' stories were so good it made up for it really. I dont think there was any type of drop off. You really got a glimpse of life for these kids. I cant rank the seasons either really.
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Rank the seasons for me so I can see where four might stack up. To me it's 3, 1, 2 but I think most people liked 2 more than one.

I'm not sure most people liked 2 more than 1 - I recall some complaining about 2 (I think because it strayed somewhat from what they got comfortable with in season 1).I don't really like to rank the seasons - obviously you need to watch it and make up your own mind. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Sometimes they are available OnDemand if you have cable.
The other thing about ranking the seasons . . . even though season 2 was more about the stevedore's union than the streets, it didnt forget about the Barksdale crew. Also, they are all related to each other's overall story arc of politics and crime in balmore.
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The other thing about ranking the seasons . . . even though season 2 was more about the stevedore's union than the streets, it didnt forget about the Barksdale crew. Also, they are all related to each other's overall story arc of politics and crime in balmore.

Right, I guess at that time viewers didn't realize that the show would look at so many different facets of Baltimore. It adds so much to the depth of the show. Season 2 also has one of my all time favorite scenes when Frank goes to the meeting under the bridge.
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The other thing about ranking the seasons . . . even though season 2 was more about the stevedore's union than the streets, it didnt forget about the Barksdale crew. Also, they are all related to each other's overall story arc of politics and crime in balmore.

Right, I guess at that time viewers didn't realize that the show would look at so many different facets of Baltimore. It adds so much to the depth of the show.

Season 2 also has one of my all time favorite scenes when Frank goes to the meeting under the bridge.

when i went and re-watched 1-3 after season 4 was over I caught a lot of things that were related to past seasons. For those that havent seen 4 yet:
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3

1

4

2- Ziggy was F'n annoying but so great at the same time.

Watching the :trainwreck: that was Ziggy was annoying as hell, yet you couldn't pull yourself away. I couldn't get rid of the feeling that something very very bad was going to happen to him.
ziggy was annoying but awesome at the same time. those guys dropping eggs in their beers for the early shift . . . man I loved that season also. Great show. cant wait for season 5!

For the record, I think the Wire is better than the Sopranos. This is coming from a guy who loves the Sopranos, even the episodes people ##### about (like Columbus day) I even usually like. I'm a greasy wop dago, but I still think the Wire is the best thing HBO has put out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

3 more episodes left in Season 4.

I like it a lot, but not sure where it ranks for me. I think 3, 1, 4, 2 might be my rankings so far.

I love the school/politics subplots, and marlo and his crew are some cold ### mofos.

Anyone know when is Season 5 slated to begin??

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3 more episodes left in Season 4.I like it a lot, but not sure where it ranks for me. I think 3, 1, 4, 2 might be my rankings so far.I love the school/politics subplots, and marlo and his crew are some cold ### mofos.Anyone know when is Season 5 slated to begin??

Not sure on S5, but those episodes you have left are good. Wonder if it will jump S1 for you.You guys see that Stringer is in 28 Weeks Later?
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3 more episodes left in Season 4.I like it a lot, but not sure where it ranks for me. I think 3, 1, 4, 2 might be my rankings so far.I love the school/politics subplots, and marlo and his crew are some cold ### mofos.Anyone know when is Season 5 slated to begin??

Not sure on S5, but those episodes you have left are good. Wonder if it will jump S1 for you.You guys see that Stringer is in 28 Weeks Later?
ya hes been getting some roles lately which is good
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3 more episodes left in Season 4.I like it a lot, but not sure where it ranks for me. I think 3, 1, 4, 2 might be my rankings so far.I love the school/politics subplots, and marlo and his crew are some cold ### mofos.Anyone know when is Season 5 slated to begin??

Not sure on S5, but those episodes you have left are good. Wonder if it will jump S1 for you.You guys see that Stringer is in 28 Weeks Later?
ya hes been getting some roles lately which is good
He;s in some romantic comedy or kids movie coming up soon.
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Don't know if this is a Honda, but the SF Chronicle's Tim Goodman wrote a good review of the show last September:

Yes, HBO's 'Wire' is challenging. It's also a masterpiece.

Tim Goodman

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Over the course of its first three seasons, "The Wire" on HBO has been one of the great achievements in television artistry, a novelistic approach to storytelling in a medium that rewards quick, decisive and clear storytelling. It has never flinched from ambition -- dissecting a troubled American city, Baltimore, as well as and certainly more truly than any history book could have. It has tackled the drug war in this country as it simultaneously explores race, poverty and "the death of the American working class," the failure of political systems to help the people they serve and the tyranny of lost hope. Few series in the history of television have explored the plight of inner-city African Americans and none -- not one -- has done it as well.

On the off chance that you need to be reminded, this is not "Desperate Housewives."

And yet, the curse of "The Wire" and the thing that makes its creator, David Simon, nearly apoplectic, is the notion that "The Wire" is difficult and dense and hard to follow if you haven't been there from the start. Simon, perhaps the best writer in all of television -- a label one should not toss around lightly -- has a point when he jokingly suggests that critics who love the series should temper the part about it being difficult to jump into. That scares away viewers. It makes people believe he's forcing them to eat their vegetables on a cable channel that offers brilliance in other packages, some of them a whole lot easier to swallow -- like "Entourage," for example.

And yet here are the hard truths about "The Wire," not all of them the kind of accolades that might sit well with a producer hoping for a big turnout come Sunday. First, it is, in fact, a difficult series. Viewers would benefit greatly from having seen the first three seasons, currently available on DVD or waiting like little orphans at Netflix. (That said, you can slide into Season 4 on Sunday with less effort than it took to hook yourself on Season 3, in part because "The Wire" is essentially starting from scratch, and new viewers could check out the immensely helpful HBO Web site to familiarize themselves with the characters, and also come to Jesus on the issue of great art taking a little more effort than, say, watching a sudsy hospital drama.)

Second, the argument over whether "The Wire" is the best show on television needs only two other participants -- also from HBO -- in the form of "The Sopranos" and "Deadwood." Rather than split hairs, let's just say that the breadth and ambition of "The Wire" are unrivaled and that taken cumulatively over the course of a season -- any season -- it's an astonishing display of writing, acting and storytelling that must be considered alongside the best literature and filmmaking in the modern era.

If you're not interested in "The Wire" after that, Godspeed to your unexamined life. That said, expecting the series to be simple, easy or unchallenging is a ridiculous notion. And we speak of it no more.

After the death of drug dealer and entrepreneur Stringer Bell and the incarceration of his partner and empire-ruling (and ruining) leader Avon Barksdale in Season 3, "The Wire" returns yet again to dilapidated Baltimore to explore what remains. And much of it does. The wiretapping of young gang leader Marlo (Jamie Hector) is up and running, producing encouraging results for Major Crimes detectives Freamon (Clarke Peters) and Greggs (Sonja Sohn). McNulty (Dominic West) seems happy walking a beat as a street cop, and the mayoral race between incumbent Mayor Royce (Glynn Turman) and the white challenger, Councilman Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen), is heating up. The big hook this year is that former officer Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski -- who accidentally killed a cop in Season 3 -- is now teaching in one of Baltimore's tougher grade schools.

The whole gist of Season 4, in fact, revolves around education. And not just in the wildly dysfunctional, borderline hopeless Baltimore public schools system, but as has been the way of "The Wire" -- a series that has managed to contrast the mundane failures of office work (police) with the mundane failures of being a drug dealer running a syndicate -- the show will explore all facets of education, from what volunteer boxing instructor Cutty (Chad L. Coleman) brings to young kids trying to stay off the street to what kids on the corner are learning about the drug trade from older dealers to what "Bunny" Colvin (Robert Wisdom), the repudiated major in the police department (who tried to set up a legalized drug experiment), can do to help a Maryland university study at-risk kids.

It is a bold, sweeping and dense look at what education means on all levels in a faltering urban structure. Not the kind of fare you're going to get on NBC at 9 p.m. Not easy to decipher, not easy to access. Rewarding? That's a wholly separate issue.

The beauty of Season 4 is in how Simon and his team of writers deftly and slowly reintroduce past major characters into their new roles. In a way, Simon has decentralized the cast structure that nominally had West as the lead and Bell (Idris Elba) and Barksdale (Wood Harris) as co-leads. Now the enormous cast serves as one lead (how they act when they bump into each other -- wonderful plot elements at every turn -- should delight longtime fans without overly confusing new viewers, which is a structural marvel all to itself).

Yes, McNulty is back. Bunk is back. Pretty much everybody is back. Hell, even Wee-Bey is back. Best of all -- "Omar back."

And yet, what was true of "The Wire" the past three seasons is true here. It starts slowly. It continues to move slowly, with intricate strands of story revealing themselves at a leisurely pace, like a good, well-crafted book. No, check that -- like a great novel. As in seasons past, it's not until the third episode, where directions announce themselves, that the myriad stories pile up with irresistible pull and depth. By the fourth and fifth episode, once again you're caught in a bracingly complex, enriching tale you don't want to end.

"The Wire" is an inherently sad story. Though Simon and his writers infuse it with street-smart humor and even a droning, Dilbert-like quality that strips workplaces and government institutions to their flawed core, the heart of "The Wire" is a dark one, as always. The tale that Simon has told for three seasons can best be summed up this way: "It doesn't work."

The war on drugs is flawed not only from a police procedural standpoint but also because the department is beholden to the mayor and the mayor to special interests. Even the most cleverly constructed, forward-thinking drug gangs are flawed because the greed, hopelessness, laziness and fearlessness of others always intervenes. Politics fails because so much of Baltimore is in the death grip of immediate need, of decadeslong failure that demands reparation. And now we see how the education system doesn't work, from a strapped school district that advocates "social promotion" so that teachers don't have to deal with bigger, stronger troublemakers, to the cruelty of poverty and how it strips away chance and, ultimately, to the much more damning, complicated notion of historical nonparticipation of poor families in the very idea of necessary education for betterment.

An after-school special this ain't.

There is a crushing sense of failure at all turns in "The Wire," but that has never, in three seasons, been as disheartening as it might sound. That's because Simon has ratcheted down the age range of where hope meets reality. And at that intersection, we meet a whole new batch of kids on "The Wire." Emphasis on kids. Simon catches them at a crossroads, their innocence still intact despite it all. Their vulnerability exposed. Season 4 follows the lives of a band of grade-school kids who will find out sooner than they should that their world begins and ends at the corner.

It's not Simon who should worry that people won't watch his show because it's difficult. It's viewers who should worry that they are missing the absolute best of what television has to offer merely because it requires effort.

E-mail Tim Goodman at tgoodman@sfchronicle.com. You can read his blog, the Bastard Machine, at sfgate.com/ blogs/goodman.

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