Re: The Wire.......any good?

#31
Detective Hunt wrote:Just caught the first 3 episodes last night. I was hooked right away and the acting is terrific. Probably unfairly, I find myself comparing the show with The Sops and I doubt that's a wise choice, at least as I watch through them. While the pilot episode was great, it does not stand alongside the pilot of The Sopranos. And no character in The Wire (at least yet) stands next to Tony. We'll see as it goes.

Looking forward to plowing through the five seasons. I'll be back with more thoughts as I progress through them.


Took me a few more episodes to embrace the show. And my initial resistance was based on wanting to jealously uphold the assertion that the Sopranos was and is the best series ever.

No doubt the shows are different. The Sopranos was mainly about Tony and his juggling the life of a mobster with being a father and husband. The other characters were essentially supporting roles albeit all were each in there own way significant to the overall story.

The Wire (like Treme) as a whole is an ensemble show, and the focus shifts between different characters and groups.

So many characters that make for brilliant storytelling - McNulty, Bunk, Kima, Freeman, the Barksdale crew, the docks, the Greek, the schoolkids, the politicians including Senator Clay Davis, Avon and Brother Mouzone.

I cannot recommend it enough now. Right now I am revisiting the Sopranos, watching the last episodes of the first season of Treme, and looking forward to Mad Men and Dexter.

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#32
conkom wrote:Took me a few more episodes to embrace the show. And my initial resistance was based on wanting to jealously uphold the assertion that the Sopranos was and is the best series ever.


LOL, I can relate to that. To me, The Sopranos hit such an personal, emotional note with me (pun NOT intended, lol), that there just won't ever be anything that will ever compare. Watching that show in my living room every Sunday night (lights turned out, no talking, phones off) with my mother, friends, etc. at rapt attention. Nothing will ever re-capture that.

The Wire is a great show but I think the fans can get a little over-zealous with the better than Sopranos assertions.

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#34
Finished The Wire series over the weekend and I must say - I was impressed. So much so, that I pretty much need to start back at the beginning and take it a bit slower so it all sinks in. There is a lot going on in each episode, especially as the series truns to seasons 2, 3, 4 and then 5 (my least favorite.)

Favorite characters? Easily Omar, of course. And McNulty. Bubbles, to be sure. But I was also very fond of Lester, Bunny Colvin, the boys from season 4 and definitely the Bunk. To list all of them would pretty much mean I am listing the whole cast. Snoop in the last three seasons...she was a winner too (and I am told was not in any way a trained actor.)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS below so don't read if you don't want to be spoiled:

As for comparisons, I am not sure it is worth it to put this against the Sopranos. Both were great shows and in many respects, were about a lot of the same things - rot in a city (or family) that is destroying it from within. If the Sops has an edge, it may be it was less bleak if you can believe it. David Simon may be even more a cynic or negative than David Chase. They ended up saying many of the same things, I think, but there was some sense of humanity in the familial life of Tony, Carm and the kids (or any of the mobster's family, really - think Sil and his wife, or Johnny Sac and his) that you rarely got in The Wire. I don't believe we ever even met Bunk's wife and once Lester hooked up with Shardeen, you didn't see her again until the last episode.

Closest we got to home life was McNulty really and that just showed us how screwed up he was. That said, I don't know that I have ever seen a show portray it's leading character as that messed up...we got the full "warts and all" look at Jimmy McNulty and it makes the show for me. Not that I like watching others suffer but I am so impressed that we were able to see a true portrayel rather than an act all the time. He cleans it up for a little while and then...well, watch season 5. :icon_wink:

To rank the seasons, I'd probably say 4, 2, 3, 1, 5. I was really touched by the 4th season's look at the schools and the 2nd season's dock workers were all terrific (especially when Ziggy finally falls.) Frank Sobotka was an amazing role. 1, 3 and 5 all seemed variations on the same theme in some way even though we got more politicians in 3 and then the paper in 5. Still, after the first go around with Avon, Stringer and the gang, the 2nd go around started to feel a bit old hat. At least we got some Brother Mouzone in the picture.

And the finale...it worked very well and I appreciated Simon trying to get as many people back for that last season as he could. And even with all the bleakness and life goes on theory he and the gang were spouting, to see Bubbles able to walk up those steps finally and sit at the table with his sister and I presume her son...well, a few tears came to my eye after everything the man went through. There was some hope there...some hope in Simon's vision.

I'd urge anyone that has not yet seen the show to watch it now. I refuse to call it better than the Sopranos (as nothing will likely ever take that perch than I can see), but it belongs on the lofty mount most consider it as it is easily one of the top 5 TV shows I have ever watched. Great cast, great scripts, great shooting and sets, costumes, casting...pretty much everything worked perfectly. Like I said...time for a full rewatch. :icon_biggrin:

EDIT - Oh, and best line of the show easily goes to Clay Davis..."Sheeeeeeeeet!" LOL!
"Leave the gun...take the cannoli." - Clemenza

Think Tony Died? Consider this...

Visit my Blog at Hear the Hurd

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#35
Detective Hunt wrote: As for comparisons, I am not sure it is worth it to put this against the Sopranos.


I know I've said this a million times here, but what I really think gets lost in the Sopranos vs. Wire comparisons is how funny The Sopranos was. Both shows covered similar bleak dramatic terrain, but The Sopranos augmented it with a layer of humor that added so much dimension to the characters, their lives, etc.

That's a huge component of what made The Sopranos, and people sometimes forget it or take it for granted.

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#36
AJColossal wrote:I know I've said this a million times here, but what I really think gets lost in the Sopranos vs. Wire comparisons is how funny The Sopranos was. Both shows covered similar bleak dramatic terrain, but The Sopranos augmented it with a layer of humor that added so much dimension to the characters, their lives, etc.

That's a huge component of what made The Sopranos, and people sometimes forget it or take it for granted.

There is that humor angle, to be sure, and with that you really may be on to something. While I said humanity above, part of that might be the sheer joy the various characters on the Sopranos were able to feel at times...laughter, breakthroughs...at times even peace, however fleeting. It seems to me far less than counterparts on The Wire were allowed.

We did see a few moments like that with McNulty and Greggs...maybe Prez (and through him, Dukie)...Daniels and Pearlman for a while. Sure, Greggs got a little closure at the end and Bubs certainly found a place in this life...Namond found a place too and was damn lucky for it, but the rest of the Corner Boys got no chance at that...nor many others on the show. (One could look at those same corner boys like they look at Chris, really. But he was only one of many. The drug gangs of The Wire are not so removed from the crews in Jersey.)

As I've thought on it more, the difference in the shows may very well be that vision...both wanted to look at the warts, but I think Chase was able to find some true moments of sheer joy within his characters. I don't mean to suggest that The Wire didn't present three dimensional characters, because that is FAR from the case. But we only got to see those hard moments in their lives and how they deal with it, by and large. In the Sopranos, we really did get to see what made Tony happy which is likely why it was so difficult and compelling for us to watch what made him so sad.
"Leave the gun...take the cannoli." - Clemenza

Think Tony Died? Consider this...

Visit my Blog at Hear the Hurd

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#37
DH-

Yeah. Even life's most depressing moments have levity or silliness. That's real life.

Take "Pine Barrens". By and large, a really strange detour that had little to do with any ongoing plot. And it had some of the funnier (there are just really too many to count for me) moments in the series' history.

Or take the scene in "The Telltale Moozarell" where the police are trying to use the pizza as a clue to determine who vandalized the pool at AJ's school.


It's a sense of the show not needing it's audience to take it 100% seriously all of the time. What serious dramas have been willing to do that? There's humor there, but maybe more importantly, there's also this willingness to be just silly and just...wacky. It really lent itself to a sense of the show being 100% unpredictable to me. It really was used to amazing effect by the second half of season six. I felt, dread, apprehension, tension, and then I would be laughing hysterically at something Paulie said.

It was a combination of emotions that I had never experienced watching anything before, and it was felt because the show had taught us to expect absolutely anything.

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#38
I would say that The Sopranos and The Wire are polar opposites, and kind of compliment one another. The Sopranos is focused largely on one individual, Tony Soprano. everything in the universe of The Sopranos orbits around this man, who is in a way "larger than life". and what The Sopranos basically does is mine deeper into Tony's psyche, searching for the root of his neuroses. Tony Soprano is a bottomless black hole of a character, and has 86 hours of television dedicated to plumbing his depths so to speak. You have a select few characters who are also explored in this way, such as Carmela, Christopher, A.J., etc. But ultimately a huge part of their characterization is the way Tony affects him. Like I said, Tony is their center of gravity. It's a very introspective show.

On the other hand you have The Wire, a very outward-facing show. The Wire does not have a center of gravity holding it together, because it searches for a more objective portrait of society than The Sopranos. It's a show about an entire city, and all of the gears in that city, big or small. Basically, Baltimore is to The Wire what Tony is to The Sopranos. We watch the people who run this city, the people who are run by this city, and everything in between. Nobody's really in charge, no one character is at the center of every ripple effect in the plotline. And just as each season of The Sopranos pushes deeper into Tony's psyche, each season of The Wire expands into a new area of Baltimore, a whole new section of cogs and gears that turn in this machine.

Ultimately, I would say The Sopranos is better art. While the function of a society is fascinating, the function of an individual is endlessly more so. Societies are too tangible. A human being leaves more room for nuance.
Taps, lights out, 2200 hours. What's missing? Give up? Television.

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#39
Wonderful post, zwingli, with some very astute observations and contrasts. I only watched maybe 10 episodes of The Wire, which I thought were very good, but I'm just much more intrigued by character than plot (although Aristotle would say character IS plot) and find more illumination in interior worlds than exterior ones because the former ultimately cause the latter.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: The Wire.......any good?

#40
Thank you :icon_smile: I came to the same conclusion, that while the Wire's portrait of a city-machine is quite interesting, it's really only on a clinical level. The characters themselves in The Wire can be pretty compelling, but they don't quite seem like real people the way the characters of The Sopranos do. most of the characterization and motivation in The Wire is pretty straightforward and fictional - McNulty's work is his life, Omar wants revenge against the drug rings for his murdered boyfriend, Stringer wants to run the drug ring like a business, etc.
Taps, lights out, 2200 hours. What's missing? Give up? Television.

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