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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars are not enough for The Wire
It is very easy to get caught in the media hype of current popular entertainment, considering the longevity of so many reality-TV, sitcom and hospital drama series that play so perfectly to the nuances that reign in the mainstream demographic.

Enter... The Wire. No media hype - just critics that have been blowing a horn with few people taking the time to open...
Published on May 10 2010 by Torval Mork

versus
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest shows; a horribly produced product
I've never encountered anyone who has not been able to wholeheartedly recommend this show. It's incredible. I'm only up to season 3, but there's no doubt that it's something special. The reason that I'm leaving this review is - as many others have stated in their reviews - the manufacturing quality of this box set is so incredibly poor that at least some of the DVDs are...
Published on Feb. 22 2012 by Gregory Fenton


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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars are not enough for The Wire, May 10 2010
By 
Torval Mork (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wire: The Complete Series (DVD)
It is very easy to get caught in the media hype of current popular entertainment, considering the longevity of so many reality-TV, sitcom and hospital drama series that play so perfectly to the nuances that reign in the mainstream demographic.

Enter... The Wire. No media hype - just critics that have been blowing a horn with few people taking the time to open their ears to hear.

Critics have hailed it as one of the masterpieces of TV - one of the best ever produced (See: Metacritic, Salon, Slate, Time, New York Times, London Guardian, London Telegraph)

The series was created by David Simon, a former police reporter with the Baltimore Sun, in partnership with former Baltimore homicide detective Edward Burns. Over its 5 seasons it didn't gain a large audience, but it is saturated with relevant social and political themes that will resonate for a long time to come.

The name of the series refers to the small squad of Baltimore detectives who's directive is to bring down the burgeoning drug business of Avon Barksdale. Their tactic is to implant wire-taps on the pay phones in and around the tenement buildings surrounding an inner-city Baltimore courtyard where most of the small but lucrative drug deals go down. As a viewer, the problem you are immediately faced with is that both sides of the law in this series have characters that you are empathetically drawn to. Jimmy McNulty provides the outward bravado for the team of detectives, with his supporting crew of Herc, Freamon, Sydnor, Greggs and his new lieutenant Cedric Daniels each having richly written story-lines that are equally compelling. The same holds true for Barksdale and his ilk - his nephew D'Angeloe Barksdale, Bodie, Poot, and most notably Stringer Bell being the business minded mastermind, using Robert's Rules of Order for his meetings with his underlings. Throughout the first few seasons he is suave and persuasive but not afraid to lay a heavy hand when it comes time to claim territory.

The cast is composed of numerous character actors, mixed in with the likes of folks you've seen playing fantastic roles in other series. Watch for the singer/songwriter Steve Earle as Walon, the leader of the 12 step program attended by Bubbles, a scene stealing drug addict who is quick to to give a tip now and then to the detectives for a few bucks. The opening song, "Way Down in the Hole" is a song composed by Tom Waits. Each season it is performed by a different artist. In the first season by The Blind Boys of Alabama, then in successive seasons by The Neville Brothers, DoMaJe, Steve Earle, and for the final season, Tom Waits.

Season 1: Deals primarily with the Barksdale syndicate, and sees the introduction of Omar, the somewhat equalizing foe who plays both sides to his advantage. The detectives work to build their team, while Barksdale sees to build his empire.

Season 2: Focusses on the corruption on the Baltimore docks, with a Russian/Greek mafia understory that adds even more mystery as the episodes play out.

Season 3: Brings a political theme to the forefront, with the power-plays of city councillors and mayoral candidates in their quest to make their way to the top, exposing the gritty reality of all levels of government in the microcosm of Balitmore politics.

Season 4: The school system is explored, as a member of the detectives team, having made a fatal error in judgment on the police force, takes a job as a teacher. His attempts to divert one of his students from a life of crime are noble, yet too little for the magnetic pull of the upward mobility of a young drug hustler.

Season 5: A serial killer myth is perpetuated by McNulty and Freamon, leading the media down a path that they think serves their needs, but ultimately becomes the machine of their undoing.

This series is entirely satisfying. It serves as a magnifying glass on any big city and the various cultures that ultimately result. It is not a case of "favorite episode", "favorite season" or "favorite quote" - the compendium of The Wire should be watched in its entirety.

Immerse yourself in the phenomenon, you won't be disappointed.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific TV series, Feb. 19 2009
By 
Book Nut (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wire: The Complete Series (DVD)
Great characters (Hey, it's Omar!), great plots and dialogue. The best TV series people haven't heard of.

This is not mindless entertainment. It *is* entertaining but it also makes you think. It doesn't spoon feed you, you have to pay attention to figure out what's going on. In the meantime you end up learning a lot about police procedurals, gang life, inner city life, working on the docks, teaching inner city schools and working in a city newsroom -- because each season takes the core group of characters through different venues.

There are no stereotypes, no plot twists that are put in just to amp up the story line. Instead there are characters that feel real, that you end up caring about.

Check it out!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest shows; a horribly produced product, Feb. 22 2012
I've never encountered anyone who has not been able to wholeheartedly recommend this show. It's incredible. I'm only up to season 3, but there's no doubt that it's something special. The reason that I'm leaving this review is - as many others have stated in their reviews - the manufacturing quality of this box set is so incredibly poor that at least some of the DVDs are defective (not scratched, but actually defective). I didn't encounter a problem until the last disc of season 2 when the ending of an episode froze up and simply refused to continue. I moved the disc between my XBOX 360 and my Sony Blu-ray player, and neither one of them would let me finish the episode. When I went to play the other episode on the same disc, the season 2 finale, the episode wouldn't play at all. The disc had never left the box set before I popped it in. When I inspected it: no scratches, smudges, or other marks. I tried giving it a clean, no luck. Thankfully I had a Chinese DVD player in the house that is designed to play DVDs of any quality. But even after I set that up, the disc immediately skipped to half way through the episode; I had to rewind it back to near the start just to watch it properly.

Amazon has a return policy of 60 days. Obviously, watching 5 seasons of The Wire takes longer than that, unless you have a much less busy lifestyle than I do. By the time I stumbled across a clearly defective disc, I had nowhere to turn. Now I have to cross my fingers that I don't come across another disc that doesn't work, as I'm still not finished working my way through the full show.

Buyer beware - it's great to own a box set of The Wire, but picking up this set could be a risky proposition. Or at least a frustrating one. If you've got the coin, it's probably safer to buy the individual seasons.

Also, I do want to point out that a blu-ray version of this show is unlikely. Also, the show displays naturally at a 4:3 aspect ratio because of the way it's filmed (all five seasons are like this). The show's creators have stated this aspect ratio is part of the feel of the show. They were going for a less polished look, meaning that you might need to adjust your screen settings and shouldn't hold out for blu ray. That being said, the show looks gorgeous as it is (when the DVDs work).
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This IS a complete series!, Feb. 19 2009
By 
TV Fan (Toronto, ON) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wire: The Complete Series (DVD)
The reviewer above is WRONG!!! The Wire was on the air for 5 seasons, 60 episodes, all included here. This show is AMAZING-- the issues are so complex, the characters gripping. Once you start watching, you won't want to stop-- you'll wish that there WAS a sixth and seventh season (but there aren't!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show!!, Feb. 20 2012
This is the best show you've never heard of. It is a great inner city crime drama. You really care about the characters. I enjoyed all the episodes and am saddened that there are no more episodes to watch. The only negative is that it is not filmed in high def so the episodes are a little grainy. The series was filmed before hi-def was the standard (started in 2002). Buy this box set, you won't be disappointed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE WIRE, July 5 2010
By 
This review is from: The Wire: The Complete Series (DVD)
This is an excellent series, gritty and true to life, showing the short lives and violent endings of the people that choose to live by preying on the less-fortunate and weak-willed.

I highly recommend this as a parallel to Deadwood, another must-see.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Briliant show, very bad discs!, March 7 2012
By 
The show is brilliant but be warned that the discs in this series are defective! Also, in season 4 the picture quality was so bad that I thought that somehow I got a bootleg version of the series. Go with the individual seasons and forget about this set.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars condition of DVDs, March 8 2012
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We were so excited to get the complete set of The Wire but the 3rd DVD of the set was flawed and kept scrambling and pausing so we were quite disappointed...how does a "new" set get in this condition? The rest of the DVDs are fine so far,but we are kind of sitting on the edge of our seats to see if it happens again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wire: Every Cop is a Criminal and All the Sinners, Saints, May 8 2012
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Watching the Wire is akin to reading one of those enormous 19th century Russian novels with maps and a fold-out genealogy of the characters. It could as well be titled Crime and Punishment.

The series gradually builds up a portrait of a whole society, through a huge cast of engaging characers tragically linked by drugs and corruption, from the police, public housing projects and street corner drug society, through declining industrial unions and international smuggling, developers, city and state politics, the school system, and the media. The lines between reality and fiction are blurred: some of the characters are played by professional actors, but others are played by non-actors who come from the character's milieu. Baltimore, Maryland = "Bodymore, Mudderland" (graffiti)= the USA and perhaps all of western society. As in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, we are all implicated in the killing trade at the heart of this society, whether we know it or not.

One of the most corrupt continuing characters, Sen. Clay "Sheee-it" Davis, carries one of Aeschylus's plays with him into the courtroom, and there is a strong tinge of classical tragedy in the series' story arcs. No-one is fully in charge of his or her own fate and the laughter of the gods abounds: the gay gunslinger Omar Little, who has avoided death at the hands of professional hit-men like a cat with nine lives, is killed by a child with a gun, and we recall the scene in which neighbourhood children play at being Omar.

Is there hope in this series? A gangster's promising son is taken in by a retired policeman, Bunny Colvin, one of the clearest and most original thinkers among the characters, who has twice been thwarted in achieving real change on a larger level. If there is hope, it rests in caring relationships, especially with the next generation. This is not an easy answer, either: at least three other characters, Sgt. Ellis Carver, former gangster Dennis "Cutty" Wise and teacher Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, try very hard to save young people from the corner life, and are ultimately frustrated. Perhaps that's why several of the series' actors joined together afterwards to develop an arts program for Baltimore street youth.

The Wire has justifiably been called the best series ever made. It is addictive in its own right, and like classical tragedy, it will make you feel pity and fear. It will also make you laugh and think. Well worth the investment in time and money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty!!, March 16 2014
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Awesome series! The show is very gritty, but it does seem to offer up a very true depiction of the lives of people involved in the drug trade. We are still on Series 1, but we're definitely hooked. The inner city and the ever-expanding drug culture presented in this series appear quite realistic (and both frightening and sad at the same time) to those of us who've never experienced that life first hand. The acting is wonderful, and the characters are well developed. Michael B. Jordan is fabulous, and I can see why he was selected for the role of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. Gotta love Idris Elba (Luther) in anything he does as he is one phenomenal actor, and he certainly does justice to the character of Stringer Bell. At the end of the day, I'm so glad that I didn't have to navigate that kind of life growing up. Well worth the money1
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