Friday, 9 October 2009

The Wire

I'm a latecomer to The Wire, as I type I'm watching the last episode of season 2. The Wire has been critically acclaimed as one of the greatest things since sliced bread. It's very good there's not doubt there. Some of the scenes are just pure genius, like the scene in season 1 where Bunk and McNulty are looking around a crime scene and using only one word repeatedly to draw conclusions and discuss their ideas. Or in season two when Greggs and Daniels are at dinner with their respective disgruntled partners and the camera rotates and switches between the two scenes.

These little moments of beauty are interspersed throughout a complex police investigation, conducted by talented but none-the-less flawed individuals, making them very relatable characters. Our protagonist, McNulty, is the antithesis of a classic hero, he sleeps around, he objectifies women, he's an alcoholic, but he's the best damn police Baltimore has ever seen, and more so than characters like House, his failings make him even more endearing.

The police investigation is wonderful to behold, these guys have a fraction of the resources of most police shows around, and yet they achieve remarkable things. We see every detail of the investigation, and the struggle to gather evidence when you know exactly what crimes the people you investigate are committing but can't take them down because of the lack of said evidence.

My criticisms of this show are few and small in magnitude. First of all is the character Prezbyluski. I think that's spelt correctly, when he first appeared he was violent, naive, abusive of his power and a bit of a little shit. However just a few episodes later he is this reformed, productive, resourceful and polite officer who everyone loves. Don't get me wrong I think his character is great, he and Lester are awesome but people don't just change like that. People barely change at all throughout there entire lives, and any major changes that do occur are usually things that the individuals have known to be true about themselves before the change. For massive change to come about, like that which occurred with Prez, it takes a long time and not one single event. In this the show falls down.

My next criticism is quite minor, the opening credits. They are so damned long, with that annoying song about Jesus or something. Opening credits can only serve to bore and frustrate viewers, they should be short and snappy, you throw up the titles and you go into the show.

Finally - and this isn't a criticism as such - I find myself only able to watch one episode at a time, which is strange because I'm the type that enjoys marathons. So my conclusion is that the show is not dramatic enough to draw me in to a sense of not being able to put this book down-ness.

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