Thursday, 11 February 2010

No Mandyville for The Wire

I've written before about how impressive The Wire is. But having just finished watching the fourth season, I've gone into whole new realms of appreciation. The obvious thing to write about here is how every season builds up to a captivating finale, but the really impressive thing is how every season builds on the last. Literally nothing is forgotten. No character or plot thread ever goes to Mandyville. It's like one 60-hour long episode. Every season actually deals with different situations and investigations, but it always feels like a progression of the same story. I occasionally find myself rewinding a scene just to watch it again. Not because I didn't understand it, but because it's that good.

The fourth season looks at children's place in Baltimore. The four boys - Dukie, Namond, Randy and Michael - all find adopted fathers - Prez, Colvin, Carver, Chris. It is the success of these fathers to look after the boys that contributes to the 'Final Grades' of the last episode. Some boys have the ability to be gangsters and murderers, other's don't. Others are just lovably pathetic. The portrayal of the school is also disturbingly realistic. It seems that Maths class is the same in Baltimore as it is in Wales (just with more knifing). Outside the 'ordered' classroom the streets are being ruled by a cold new drug king, who's doing away with the old code and making his own rules. It's the inability of some of the 'old' gangsters to adjust to the new climate that makes up another interesting thread.

Which brings me a statement that I find a bit troubling. Something that changes what I've always believed. I might regret this. I might have nightmares about it. But here it is: The West Wing is the best television ever. But so is The Wire.

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