Rarely do you see a show like this that has so much ambition in what it's trying to accomplish, and more rarely do you see a show like this succeed in it's intention of doing so. Let me introduce you The Wire, the best TV show put on small screens. The show that will, after you've finished it, live you empty inside, because you'll never find another TV show that can rival it. With it's five seasons, The Wire raised the bar of quality for TV shows, the bar that no TV show to date has managed to reach.
The Wire's story is set in the city of Baltimore, and it's about the slow fall of Baltimore city, about the pointlessness of the war on drugs, the bureaucracy and corruption that infest both the police force and drug-dealing gangs, class war against the labor unions, and the city's dysfunctional public schools system. And it's all shown through the perspective of law enforcement and drug dealers. As the story goes, you'll encounter well thought out plot twists, and you'll see a lot of characters die, because, as David Simon said: "We are not selling hope, or audience gratification, or cheap victories with this show. The Wire is making an argument about what institutions—bureaucracies, criminal enterprises, the cultures of addiction, raw capitalism even—do to individuals. It is not designed purely as an entertainment. It is, I'm afraid, a somewhat angry show.", and that makes the show so great, because deaths have meanings and consequences, and aren't just there for the shock factor like in Game Of Thrones. It also helps that Simons knows what he's talking about since he was writing a lot for the Baltimore Sun, and he saw a lot of things on the streets that are portrayed in the show.
One of the things I really love about The Wire is that characters aren't all good or all bad. They're gray, when it comes to their morality. Simon challenges the viewer to like characters, a lot of characters will do some bad things, and you'll probably agree on a lot of them given the situation they're in. The writing is just great, The Wire has a web of a lot of characters and the show spins them well. From McNulty to Stringer Bell, there are a lot of complex and great written characters, but there are also some weaker ones, but that's also to be expected, because the show has more than the hundred characters and you can't expect that they'll all be on the same level of writing. There is no plot armor in this show, a lot of characters will die, and, as I've already said, their deaths have consequences, and aren't just meant to be shock factor.
Acting team consists of familiar HBO actors, and of real cops and criminals, and they all did a pretty damn good job. Some are weaker, and that is most notable during season 1 and 5, but weak actor aren't that usual in the show, so don't worry. I'd say the best actor is easily Dominic West as McNulty, who stole the show for me, but since I'm biased towards McNulty, don't take my word for granted.
The only problem I had with the The Wire was one of fifth season's arcs, the one with the newspapers. It felt out of place for me, and it wasn't that interesting. It didn't introduce interesting characters nor was it on par with The Wire's better arcs.
In the end, The Wire did what little to no TV show could hope to do, it succeed with it's extremely ambitious, and I'd say impossible mission to tell a story of Baltimore's crumble. The social commentary, the writing on the characters, the well thought out plot twists, great directory, and David Simon's expertise on the case made The Wire the best television show ever seen on small screens. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, because once it ends, you'll be left with an empty whole within yourself, because they'll never be a TV show that could rival The Wire. Now go watch it already!