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.)
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.
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 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.
EDIT - Oh, and best line of the show easily goes to Clay Davis..."Sheeeeeeeeet!" LOL!