After much stalling and waiting, I’ve started to watch The Wire. I consider Homicide: Life on the Streets the pinnacle of US television, so I have no idea why it took me so long to watch its creative and spiritual brother. Why did I deprive myself?!
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- The casting. No big names to jar me from the characterization. Omar is Omar, not Denzel. Phelan is Phelan, not DeNiro. And I appreciate the lack of whitewashing – the cast is dominated by African-Americans as it should be.
- The characters have multiple dimensions, so much so that I can enjoy watching a character without liking them.
- I love spotting the Homicide actor cameos.
- Nothing is tidy – not the city, the offices, their appearances, the money, the politics, or the storylines.
- Stringer and Avon are like Luther Mahoney (my favorite character from Homicide) but magnified tenfold.
- Wey-Bee has fish and he’s named them.
- I love Omar is the baddest man of all – and he doesn’t curse. Or target innocents. And just happens to be gay.
- My heart breaks watching Bubbs and his struggles.
- I’m startled and surprised by the plot developments – it’s not fait accompli. I don’t know if the good guys win or if the redemption will be achieved.
- That said, there is a sense of American tragedy that permeates the storyline, at least through the first season that I’ve seen. No matter what actions the characters take or plans they make, something unseen conspires against them.
You can find all sorts of cool insight and extras at HBO’s site but I’ve refrained from delving too deep. Just like a favorite meal, I cannot wait for more of The Wire but ultimately I know it will end. I want to savor it while I can.