Possibly the best thing written for television ever; certainly the best to come out in the last 25 or so years.
"The Wire" escapes the melodramatic pitfalls of shows like "the West Wing," "Six Feet Under" and even "The Sopranos" (which are all smartly written--or rather have had their moments of greatness).
Here is a show which over the course of 37 hours weaves together scores of very tautly detailed characters. It's not easy to watch--and its certainly challenging. But it is surely worth it.
The story unfolds in Baltimore and is a study on the effect of institutions on its members: police, politicians, criminals, addicts.
Some may find the show didactic. This is understandable because its creators make heavy usage of allegory (for instance, seasons three's not-so-subtle criticism of the situation in Iraq).
Didactic or not, the show forces its viewers to think about and hopefully start a larger discussion of the issues it touches upon: the failure of the drug war, the gradual extinction of the American worker and the dangers of a presumptive, preemptive war.
Hats off to creators David Simon and Ed Burns (a retired BPD detective) for creating one of the most interesting, daring shows in the history of television.
Let's hope HBO renews it for another 26 episodes.
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