David Simon's The Wire, which is set to soon be re-broadcast in high definition, continues to be hailed, in some corners, as the greatest television show of all time. In an effort to elevate it to the level of high art, many critics (including Simon himself) have reached for comparisons with other, less lumpen forms, from Greek tragedy to Dickens—anything, in short, that isn't a television show. But Linda Williams, a professor of film studies and rhetoric at Berkeley, in her new book, On The Wire, thinks that the show's greatest accomplishment is its use of melodrama. I talked to Williams last month about melodrama and [...]
Down the rabbit hole of online message boards, few topics are ranked and debated with the same intensity as the Greatest Onscreen Deaths (e.g., "Best Film Deaths," "50 Best Movie Deaths,” "Greatest Movie Deaths of All Time," and that’s before we even start talking about the “Best Deaths By ___” categories). The criteria for ranking these scenes vary; some are judged by degree of violence, others by such particulars as the songs accompanying the scenes. But there's one aspect of onscreen death these lists leave out: What's it like on the other side of the camera?
So in episode two of The Wire, our heroes in the police department-and the non-heroes among the bunch, because some of these cops really are the bottom of the barrel!-get their very own office space, in the basement of the police department. Which is "dank," at best. We learn very quickly about the loser cops, because the kind of hot white one with the bad attitude and his dumb friends go into the projects at 2 a.m. all drunk and start shaking people down, and then the awesomeness happens, which is that the people in the projects start pelting them from above with bottles and old TVs and stuff. That [...]
Raekwon's new video might have been filmed in the basement of one of the abandoned buildings where Chris and Snoop would take people who wound up on the wrong side of Marlo on The Wire. That is a place you really don't want to be. The song describes a similar scenario. And it's graphic and horrible. But with its gorgeous beat (constructed by North Carolinian producer 9th Wonder out of an old soul song that I wish I knew but don't) and Raekwon's tantalizing rhymes, it's wonderful, too.
"The Wire" is a fictional television show that many people really liked and that many people think is a very revealing take on The Way We Live in Urban Cities now. As you probably know, it is being taught at universities including Harvard, in a seminar on urban inequality. Now comes a defense of that choice: "'The Wire' is fiction, but it forces us to confront social realities more effectively than any other media production in the era of so-called reality TV," writes the director of the Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program at Harvard Kennedy, an esteemed sociologist. How is that possibly true? It's fiction. It's made [...]
Hey, this show The Wire? It is kind of cool. I think. I don't know if you heard about it-it started on the TV back in 2002, five years before the launch of Tumblr, four years before the launch of Twitter, so I'm not sure how you would have heard about it really? Anyway, I've only watched one episode so far, so here are some first impressions. So: in episode one, a homicide cop named Jimmy (played by Dominic West, who is actually ENGLISH, and who has a delightfully wrinkly forehead), accidentally starts an investigation into a big-time drug lord in Baltimore.
Ladies, what if a guy said to you, "Let your guard down/Let this brother enter/Your private garden?" Would you let him draw on you in day-glo body paint? If he promised to be gentle? Would you paint on him back? What if you were on the beach in Puerto Rico? What if it was Stringer Bell from "The Wire"?
"If it gets a little tiresome all the bien-pensant papers banging on about The Wire, then that's a comment on the paucity of everything else on offer. It's not snobbery, just thin pickings." Why critics would rather write about "The Sopranos" than "According to Jim." Or whatever the English equivalents are.