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My New Addiction: THE WIRE (HBO)

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#1 of 43 Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 02 2013 - 06:07 AM

When The Wire ran on HBO between 2002-2008, I paid no 

attention to it.  I didn't think that a gritty cop drama filled with

drugs and violent dealers in the city of Baltimore was really my 

thing.

 

Yet, over the years, I have heard the praises of the show from

friends as well as a radio show I regularly listen to.

 

For that reason, I ended up buying the boxed set about a year

or two ago when it became a Gold Deal on Amazon.

 

The boxed set has remained shrink wrapped on my shelf since

then.  I would look at it from time to time, but avoided opening it.

 

This week I am on vacation.  I really had nothing major on my

plate, so I decided to finally break that shrink wrap seal and throw

the first season disc into my player.

 

24 hours later I have just finished the first 7 episodes.  I am 

completely immersed in this show.  It certainly is living up to 

the hype that made me purchase the set in the first place.

 

Thought I would just come on here and let fans of the the show

know that I'm involved.  Maybe have a little discussion about where

I am at and without any spoilers, what I can expect.

 

That's it for now.

 

 


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#2 of 43 davidHartzog

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Posted September 02 2013 - 06:41 AM

Same here, I caught up with it the second season, assuming it was just another cop show. I picked up season 1 on dvd and was instantly hooked. "So, who shot snot?"
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#3 of 43 derosa

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Posted September 02 2013 - 06:54 AM

I have season one sitting on my shelf with the shrink wrap on it,

knowing that when i start watching, i'll be hooked for all the seasons.



#4 of 43 jcroy

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Posted September 02 2013 - 07:14 AM

(On a slight tangent).

 

Over the years I found myself captivated by some tv shows where I previously dismissed such shows, thinking that it wasn't my type of show or various other reasons.  Shows like:

 

- Homeland (season 1)

- Strike Back (season 1)

- X-Files

- PSI Factor

- Mad Men

- In Treatment

- Dirt

- etc ...

 

For a very long time (ie. over 20+ years), I largely dismissed tv shows that were not sci-fi or cop type shows.

 

In the case of Homeland and Strike Back, initially I dismissed them largely thinking that they were cynically jumping on the "war on terror" bandwagon.  But after watching one or two episodes of these shows and later picking up the dvd (or bluray) sets, I found they were capitvating to watch.  (I binged through a season over two evenings).

 

In the case of X-Files and PSI Factor, I was turned off by these two shows back in the 1990's, largely due to a friend who was fanatical about conspiracy theories.  This particular person was constantly ranting and raving about all kinds of conspiracy and paranormal stuff.  A few times I was at this person's home when X-Files or PSI Factor was on the telelevision.  During such viewings, this person was always talking about the subject matter as if it was for real (and not just fiction) and repeatedly attempted to convince me of it.  After this happened numerous times, I largely dismissed shows like X-Files, PSI Factor, etc ... as a joke.


Edited by jcroy, September 02 2013 - 07:24 AM.


#5 of 43 TravisR

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Posted September 02 2013 - 07:28 AM

"Omar comin'!"

 

Ron, it's already become something of a cliché but The Wire is arguably the best show in TV history and it's the best show of the new century (I love Breaking Bad but I give the nod to The Wire because it's trying to get people to notice real world problems that few seem to care about). Each season of the show looks at a various area or aspect of the city. Without getting into spoilers, I will say that you will probably be disappointed by the direction of the second season because the drug storyline becomes a much smaller part of the show as a new case is investigated. That being said, the show needed to broaden its look beyond the drug war so it could try to address what's wrong in American cities today.



#6 of 43 Walter Kittel

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Posted September 02 2013 - 07:36 AM

I picked up one of the complete sets during an Amazon Gold Box and have only watched Season 1 in its entirety.  It was pretty damn terrific.  

 

For some reason I haven't gotten back to the series.

 

- Walter.


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#7 of 43 CraigF

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Posted September 02 2013 - 02:52 PM

The "problem" with The Wire is it demands your attention and dedication. It's not really something you could drop into and drop back in occasionally (when it was on TV). Kind of like The Sopranos (most of the time) in that regard: you miss an episode, you miss something that will have important future story ramifications.

 

Can't give you any hints. It's a complete story, and saying this or that person dies here or then for whatever reason doesn't really do any justice to how we get to that point. Just gotta watch...

 

I got the amazon Gold Box deal 2-3 years ago too; it still comes up at similar or even lower prices these days (check .ca too). Edit: BTW this has got to be the most annoying form factor box of any set I've bought. Now why couldn't they have made it to stand "vertically"? LOL


Edited by CraigF, September 02 2013 - 02:56 PM.


#8 of 43 Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 03 2013 - 01:20 AM

Nice reading these replies.

 

Just finished watching the last episode of Season One.

 

At this point I guess I should state the obvious...

 

I loved it!  Not certain if I would rank it among the best

shows I have seen but that could change as I move forward.

 

Moving on to Season Two later this morning.  

 

Travis, your comments about Season Two are not 

surprising.  I have heard enough people say that it's not

a popular season and many get turned off to the show by it.

With that in mind, I have been told to stick with it because the

seasons that follow more than make up for it.

 

I'll let you know what I think of Season Two in the next few days.

 

Spoiler

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#9 of 43 TravisR

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Posted September 03 2013 - 04:34 AM

^ Having seen the series a bunch of times now, I have to say that the second season is one of my favorites because you see people and situations that you don't see in any other season and like I said, it was the beginning of the show broadening its horizons beyond the streets. However, the first time around, you're itching to see more of the characters that you liked in the first season.



#10 of 43 Sam Favate

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Posted September 03 2013 - 05:00 AM

We did the same thing about two years ago - bought the show from Amazon in one of their deals, after so many friends told us it was great and that we'd personally love it. We were not disappointed. We watched it during the fall of 2011, one episode per night, and I can't imagine watching it week to week, over a period of years. It's too addicting. 

 

I do think it's probably the best thing that's ever been on TV. And many critics think so too. Just this year it was voted the best TV show by EW's critics in their "best of everything" issue.

 

That's lead to backlash, of course, as these things do. About a year ago, a co-worker went on about how he was tired of hearing how great the Wire was. I mentioned I thought it was terrific. "Are you going to tell me now it's the best show EVER?" he said. "It just might be," I said. "Ooooo, the WIRE!, The Wiiiiiiiire," he said.

 

So I asked, "Have you ever seen it?" He stopped laughing and said "No, actually, I haven't." And I said "So shut the fuck up!" And he laughed.

 

Enjoy it, Ron. There's really nothing else like it.



#11 of 43 Sam Favate

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Posted September 03 2013 - 05:11 AM

BTW, in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was asked about his favorite show, which he said was The Wire, and added that Omar was his favorite character. “That’s not an endorsement,"he said. "He’s not my favorite person, but he’s a fascinating character.”

 

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#12 of 43 Sam Posten

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Posted September 03 2013 - 05:59 AM

Awesome Ron, glad you finally got into it.  I also ate the box set up up over a 3 week period starting between Christmas and New Years.  First Season is the best IMO but it's great the whole run, especially whenever Omar shows up.  I was sooooo confused tho, by the Snot Boogie scene.  I had heard how great Omar's character was and here Omar Snot Boogie gets shot in the opening scene of the show and I was like "That's it????"  Fortunately it all made sense when the second, real, Omar showed up.

 

You will never guess MY new addiction:  Downton Abbey.  Who'da thunk I'd enjoy that?  But it's fantastic.  Give that a shot next if you haven't already,


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#13 of 43 Hollywoodaholic

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Posted September 03 2013 - 06:48 AM

When you finish watching the series, pick up this book, "Difficult Men" by Brett Martin. It dives deeply into the development of The Wire by writer/show runner David Simon, as well as the other writer 'David' shows (The Sopranos by David Chase, and Deadwood by David Milch). A really great read for anyone who has followed these shows and how they've revolutionized television.

 

http://www.amazon.co...s=difficult men

 



#14 of 43 TravisR

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Posted September 03 2013 - 06:54 AM

We watched it during the fall of 2011, one episode per night, and I can't imagine watching it week to week, over a period of years. It's too addicting.

I always say this but I loved watching it (and other serialized shows) week to week because it amped up the anticipation when you can't go to the next episode. That being said, this show is detail oriented enough that multiple viewings and watching an entire season or the entire series fairly quickly (rather than over the course of 3 months or 6 years) certainly pays off too.



#15 of 43 Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 04 2013 - 01:22 AM

As I inch halfway to the middle of Season Two, I have

to say that I'm surprised how much I really like it.

 

The first episode was pretty bad, but now that the story

has picked up on the rivalry between police officer and

union boss, it's getting pretty damn interesting.

 

Plus....

 

Spoiler

Will check back.


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#16 of 43 Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 05 2013 - 04:46 AM

Just finished Season Two.

 

Despite all the bad things I heard about it....

 

I really liked the season.  Quite good.

 

Some thoughts....

 

Spoiler

 

On to Season Three, episode One....


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#17 of 43 Charles Smith

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Posted September 05 2013 - 04:50 AM

Wow. Congrats, Ron, on taking this plunge. I'll say more later when I'm off the smartphone and typing on a real keyboard.

#18 of 43 Charles Smith

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Posted September 05 2013 - 06:57 AM

For me, this did become one of the greatest series ever.  I started late.  Real late.  I think the fifth season was about to begin when I finally accepted the strong recommendations of friends and bought the first season on DVD and started getting into it.  

 

The first episode, first time through, was a hard start for me.  I let it sit for a day or two, then as soon as I was really in the mood to dig into it again, I watched it over and then went on to the second episode.  Now I started to feel fairly comfortable with the goings on.  But I still wanted a better feeling of understanding, so I browsed the HBO/Wire website for a while, finally settling into reading the synopses for those first two episodes.  Wow!  Suddenly all the lights turned on.  Since I was finding the various interactions and street dialects and whatnot fairly challenging to take in and comprehend as well as I wanted, this was a godsend.  These synopses were detailed, covering every scene and who does what to whom.  I was so excited by what this overview had given me that I went back and watched those first two episodes one more time...this time in a state of pure ecstasy.  Now I had arrived.

 

I soon made that my routine -- watch the next episode, go online and read the synopsis to pick up anything I'd missed (often more than I'd care to admit), then either watch that episode again, or if I felt fine with it, move on to the next.  I eventually got to where two episodes per day was just perfect.  I later discovered one other incredible boon, which was repeating particularly difficult passages with subtitles turned on.  All of this probably sounds like I was way overdoing things, but in my desire to be truly immersed in this, it turned out to be the most wonderfully rewarding approach ever.

 

Okay, so I got through Season One, and by then had already picked up Two.  And...whoa!  Talk about switching gears.  Whole new story, right?  Well, I as soon as I got into this season, I was just as hooked as before with the new locale, situation, and characters.  Really, seriously, hooked.  And then what did Season Three do but thrust us back into the city proper with some of the more familiar goings on, and some really incredible new characters to boot?

 

I had finally read enough commentary to appreciate that the whole concept of the series was to illustrate the gradual disintegration of the institutions in a major 20th-century American city:  police, unions, politics, schools, journalism.  And what a journey those remaining seasons would be.  A thing unmatched.

 

It just happens that around this time I'd also discovered the writings of Laura Lippman; namely, her Tess Monaghan series of mysteries taking place in and around Baltimore.  

 

[EDIT:  She and David Simon married, and if that isn't one of those made in heaven, I don't know what would be.]

 

Between these books and The Wire, I rapidly fell in love with a city I'd only ever seen in the distance from the vantage point of interstate highways.  I just happen to love cities and learning my way around them, anyway, so I picked up a street map of Baltimore and started making notes on the whereabouts of things and places featured in Lippman's books and on The Wire.  When friends and I decided to go to one of the Edgar Allan Poe birthday events held there in January, I went down a day early, map in hand, and explored all of that to my immense satisfaction, really learning my way around the place in the process.  That experience would take a whole 'nother series of posts, and I shan't bore you with it.  Suffice it to say I've become fascinated with, and enamored by, all that is wonderful and horrible about Baltimore.  I have no roots there myself, but it's now a passion.

 

Ever since going through all of that some five years ago, I've looked forward to my eventual return to the series after a suitable break, and I'm always telling people how "it won't be long now".  Those DVDs are beckoning, waiting patiently, and with the revival of interest sparked here by Ron's postings, I think that return will be happening sooner rather than later.

 

Sorry to be so long-winded about it!


Edited by Charles Smith, September 05 2013 - 07:08 AM.


#19 of 43 TravisR

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Posted September 05 2013 - 07:07 AM

^ If you haven't watched The Corner or read the book yet, you should do it. It ended up basically being a prototype for The Wire and focuses on a Baltimore family ravaged by drug addiction. Fair warning, it's very sad.


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#20 of 43 Charles Smith

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Posted September 05 2013 - 07:24 AM

I have the DVD but haven't watched it.  Thanks for the reminder.  I'll do that before making a return to The Wire.

 

Speaking of the ever-growing web of Wire-related things, we mustn't forget Simon's early series, Homicide.  Have I watched it myself?  No.  But a Wire-obsessed friend very generously gave me her copies of the Season 1 and 2 DVD set when she upgraded her holdings to the entire series.  And there is also Simon's book about his early working experience in Baltimore.  But I'm getting ahead of myself....


Edited by Charles Smith, September 05 2013 - 07:25 AM.






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