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One of the greatest shows; a horribly produced product
on February 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).