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The Wire


yorkleyblue

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Given all that has been written about The Wire, in this forum and all over the media, I was so looking forward to the BBC showing the program from episode 1.

I have recorded the first two weeks and started to watch last week. I am up to Episode 4.

Now then, I have reservations.

When Hill Street Blues hit the screen, it was immediately and electrically compelling, so much so that my whole weekend was f**ked if I missed an episode. The same applied to the first few series of Homicide, Life On The Streets and NYPD Blue (though both of those went downhill after a few series.)

In a similar way, but obviously differently, ER and The West Wing were equally compulsive, not to be missed viewing, and still are, although ER had a sticky patch in the middle when their main characters were too weak to carry the show.

From all that had been written about The Wire, I was expecting at least the same level of instant impact. This is, after all, a program that has been described as "The Best Televison Series EVER made".

I don't want to be mis-understood here, this is still very very good television, but, for me, so far, with my, admittedly, limited amount of viewing, it does not have the "f**k ME, that was f**kING amazing" factor.

So, I have a question for all of the forum members who were raving about The Wire in various threads.

Does it get better later on? Does it have that WOW, unmissable-ness? Does it take me to places that demand I spend huge slices of the next day talking about each episode with equally addicted work colleagues?

Or is it a bit of "Emperor's New Clothes?"

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Depends on what you are looking for YB.

It is very much not a 24, or Prison Break, or any of the other fast paced dramas that sacrifice realism for the sake of non-stop drama and action packed episodes. The best conmparison I have heard is that it is like a novel, but on TV, and so the focus is on creating deep, complex characters, who you can't simply polarise as 'goodies' and 'baddies,' and interwoven plot strands that span all 5 series.

Obviously it's a personal thing, but I went into it slightly sceptical due to all the lobster that i had heard about it, but IMO it more than delivered on the hype. It doesn't have the dramatic plot twists that conveniently round off every episode of 24, but stick with it and im sure that you will find it very very compelling viewing. The very fact that something 'big' doesn't happen every 20 minutes means that when it does it is that much more enthralling.

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Yorkley

Funnily enough I sent a PM to G4 along exactly the same lines when I finally started watching it - something like 'This better get better' or words to that effect.

It does take a bit of getitng to used to, if for no other reason than to get to know all the characters as there are plenty of them.

I must say that now that I am in the second season I still wouldn't classify it as the greatest TV show ever and I do think it is a bit over hyped however it is still very very good.

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Stick with it YB - I think you'll find it worth it.

The character building is a slow burn but it is thorough. Social comment is profound at the end of the 1st season.

Its refreshing they used 'unknowns' for all the main characters and although its 'all American' it doesn't jar the way many yanks series do.

One of the best things Ive seen on TV

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It gets better and better. Once you are accustomed to the characters and the language it eventaully just clicks. The sereis really picks up in the latter third, but the real improvement starts when the sereis progress. Series 2 is very very strong. It's also quite funny becasue Stringer Bell, one of the heads of the Barksdale crew, is actually from Hackney. He's a Chelsea fan as well if I remember rightyl. McNulty is from Sheffield as well.

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  • 1 month later...

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
OK - so I persevered and I am totally glad that I did. Apart from my HD Recorder only catching 8 minutes of one (crucial) episode, series two has got dead good and I'm now getting all panty and moist about series three!

Cheers

Kev

Is it worth it starting to watch from series 3 or will I not have clue about what’s going on?

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The main characters have developed through the first two series, but the storyline will be part ongoing and part brand new - I'd say give it a go, but with the proviso that I haven't seen all of it yet, I'm stuck with what the Beeb give me.

If anything, I thought series one was weak and confused, but that could be a load of scene setting and stuff. But, even last night a major plotline was related to something that happened in series one.

I don't f**king know

kev

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I think you have to start with Series 1 to be honest. I've just finished 4 and I seem to remember a fair few 'in' jokes that related to past series and incidents. Sure, it would still be good without that context, but why deprive yourself of that...

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Cheers. I will hang on to series 3 then until I get hold of the previous two. What caught my interest was hearing on the radio that a couple of novelists I like Georges Pelicanos and Richard Price are co-writers. Although, from a further look on the web they only seem to have come in series 5.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have finally caught up with the rest of the world and am watching the first series of the Wire. I bought the DVDs ages ago, but hadn't got round to starting it.

My biggest problem is how hard I have to concentrate to work out what they're saying. I hadn't realised how wide the gap between English English and American English had grown. I'm almost tempted to put the sub-titles on.

Apart from that I've reached episode 5 and am beginning to warm to it.

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I thought it was absolutely f**king terrible... I'm generally impatient which probably doesn't help when it comes to shows like this, I couldn't even get past the language either, I don't mind swearing in shows or films at all, and in fact don't even notice it most of the time, but in this I just... I kinda f**king found it a bit c**ting hard to f**king know what the f**k those c**ts were f**king on about, the language was just so f**king bad, you know what I'm f**king talking about? c**ts.

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It has that much swearing because that's how people speak. Some characters swear more than others, and they swear more in certain situations and around certain people because that's how it works in real life.

Life isn't pretty and especially not in the areas and walks of life they portray in The Wire. Surely that would make you expect it to be a little bit more gritty than your average. Swearing is just part and parcel of it. It's a truly great program, if it can truly be called that, blize, don't be put off by something like that.

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It's brilliant - I watched all 5 series on DVD and after the first 2 series I was watching 3 episodes at a time. If you like reading check out David Simon’s Homicide (heavy going but worth it in the end) or for the “Wire lite†any of George Pelecanos’ books.

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