I hadn't thought about the spoiler angle of a show that ended several years ago, but it makes sense as it could detract from those who may watch the show. Although, it should be pretty clear when it's being discussed before anything is really revealed.
SPOILER ALERT: For example, a couple of years ago I was watching a show on TV that was along the lines of the top 10 most shocking things from TV. One of them was when Omar got killed. I knew I was going to watch the show at some point, so I wished I hadn't seen it. A couple years later I couldn't remember if it was Omar for sure, but I was pretty sure it was. As soon as he walked into that corner store I knew that was the scene. Had I not known that, I probably would have fallen out of my seat in shock. Instead, I knew all along Omar wasn't going to last the series and that detracted a little from it.
Interesting take from Bill Simmons on The Wire when he watched it between seasons 4 and 5. I agree with him here, especially the part with him wondering why SO many more people watched The Sopranos than The Wire, yet The Wire was better in every way.
I found it fascinating that, in the same month that "Gridiron Gang" became the No. 1 movie, HBO ignored perpetually crummy ratings and renewed "The Wire" for a fifth and final season. After plowing through the first 37 episodes of "The Wire" in three weeks this summer, I agree with others who argue that it's the most important television show of all-time, surpassing even "The Sopranos" because of its ambition and social relevance. The "Sopranos" worked because the acting and writing was so exceptional, we found ourselves identifying with unlikable characters who were basically unredeemable (save for Tony's wife, his children and his therapist). We excused every horrible action because we grew to like these characters personally over the years. In real life, we probably wouldn't like any of them, and we would definitely be afraid of them. It's fantasy disguised as reality: Lose yourself in the show for an hour, digest it when it's over and move on to something else.
Well, there's nowhere to hide in "The Wire." The characters are stuck in Baltimore, a washed-up city ravaged by drugs, poverty and political corruption. Our closest thing to heroes are renegade detective Jimmy McNulty (a likable, hard-drinking iconoclast who disappears for much of Season 2 and becomes completely irrelevant in Season 4) and a gun-wielding nomad named Omar (a scarfaced Robin Hood, only if Robin Hood was gay and stole from drug dealers). We spend three full seasons watching Baltimore police break the city's biggest drug syndicate ... only to watch an angrier, more ruthless group of rival dealers immediately pop up in its place. The current season centers around four poor teenagers (all of them threatening to succumb to the drug lifestyle) and Baltimore's incompetent school system (which can't even begin to hope to save them), with the show elucidating in painstaking detail why these kids can't be salvaged: They have no role models and no chance to escape, and things will never change because the lead politicians and major police heads only care about themselves. There's no overall plan to save the city, no passionate leader on the horizon, nothing. All of it would take too much effort. Like a dead fish, Baltimore rots from the head down.
It's an exceptional show, and I'm not even sure "exceptional" is a strong enough word. Of course, barely anyone watches it. HBO deliberated over its renewal all summer until the gushing feedback for Season 4 left them no choice. Late to the party, I spent the past few weeks devouring the show, then the next week wondering what took everyone else so long to jump on the bandwagon, and more importantly, what took ME so long to jump on the bandwagon. Two weeks ago in this space, I explained how I'm one of those people who doesn't like when other people tell me, "YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS SHOW!" If anything, that makes me not want to watch it. I like to stumble across these things organically.
Now I'm wondering if I avoided "The Wire" because its central themes -- drugs, corruption, urban decay -- were realities that I simply wanted to ignore. Instead of being haunted by a show like this, it was easier and safer to skip it entirely. Most people feel this way, I'm guessing; it's the only conceivable reason why five times as many people would watch "The Sopranos" over a show that's better in every way. See, when most Americans dabble in inner-city TV shows or movies for our "taste" of street life, we're hoping for the Hollywood version. We don't want despair and decay, we want hope and triumph. We don't want the zero sum game of drug dealers killing each other, we want the Rock coaching juvie kids and turning their lives around in two hours. We want them to win the big football game, we want the movie to end, and we don't want to think about these people ever again.
That's the real reason why "Gridiron Gang" became the No. 1 movie last weekend, and that's the real reason why "The Wire" was barely renewed for a fifth season. Upon further review, maybe the problem isn't Hollywood after all.
OK, so finally finished and I'll stop derailing the thread. Season 5 - Ugh! It's like they totally forgot all the things that made the show so great.
I'm going to treat the whole "fake serial killer" story kind of like I have The Godfather 3 - it just never happened. It was one of the dumbest plot lines of any show I've ever watched and I can't believe it was The Wire where it happened. So as far as I'm concerned, I never saw it.
This season also violated what is perhaps my #1 TV show or movie pet peeve, and that's completely unrealistic courtroom testimony. The prosecutors just say there while Clay Davis went on some several minute long oratory that had nothing to do with what he was asked. He was allowed to say whatever he wanted and then walked away free. Again, I couldn't believe the same people who made the first 4 seasons would be so lazy and allow this to happen.
There were some things I liked about it, but overall this season is not one the show should be very proud of. Had that one been first there would have never been a second, IMO.
Mike, here's an interesting column by the man himself, David Simon, about Season 5.
The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.
Next week ends the second installment of An Idiot Abroad, the only show my wife and I watch together. It was once again good for a lot of laughs.
I know some gave up on The Walking Dead last season; while I enjoyed it, I understood the dislike from many. At any rate, if you're not watching this season, under the new cast, it seems to have taken a nice turn back to what it first was, including a key development in last night's episode that was much needed in my mind. It appears pretty obvious how this season is going to conclude, which is kind of a shame since I never saw last season's ending coming, but it should be fun to watch it unfold.
The last two episodes of The Walking Dead have been much better.
I wish they'd go full on Lost with it and focus on one character a week. You could even do backstory episodes like Lost did with many of the characters. Last week's episode was probably the best overall, apart from the very first, and I think it's because they narrowed in on just a few characters.
Last night was the first time I've ever rooted for a 10 year old to get killed and eaten on screen, so there's that.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
The problem for me with last season of The Walking Dead was the search for the little girl that seemed to go on and on and on and on and on..... Good to see them moving back to what made the show so enjoyable the first season.
If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.
@Medford & Kory: it's still Season 2.
Choo got it, dude.
just finished watching season four shenanigans of the incorrigible novelist hank moody in "californication".