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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 4, 2007
HBO's The Wire is a compelling and gritty series that takes it's time to work through the details of policing and police work. Most 'cop'shows are slotted into hour long segments where the crime is committed, investigated and solved in 48 minutes plus commericals. The Wire spends time building a case and while doing so building a relationship between the viewers and the characters. The world of drug lords and dope dealers is alien to me ... the writers and the actors, however, managed to 'humanize' people who are usually only presented as deviant, defiant and dangerous. Marvelous television. Brilliant writing. Stunning acting. Awesome viewing.
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on June 28, 2004
The Wire is far above and beyond the typical police drama. Although I'm not a cop, I have a feeling that this show is about as real-life as any cop show on television. The Wire skips the typical, predictable (and wholly unrealistic) Law and Order formula of crime committed/stalwart cops take the case/case cracked/bad guys jailed--all in one action packed hour. Instead, The Wire builds a case over the course of a season. Instead of the formulaic good guys and bad guys (or even good cop and bad cop) characters, The Wire features a collection of well-rounded, lifelike people, each with their own flaws and strengths. The Wire also gives you both sides of the story--you get to know both the cops and the suspects they are after. And shockingly, these characters actually develop as the season moves along! Unlike the formulaic cop shows, where all the cops are single-mindedly focused on getting the job done, The Wire shows us how much incompetence, stupidity, corruption, and careerism influence police work.
All of this makes The Wire well worth watching--again and again. In my personal opinion, I rank it a notch below HBO's two best series, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, because it is sometimes confusing and hard to follow. But The Wire is far more interesting and worthwhile viewing than just about anything you'll find on network television. I can't wait for the second season to come out on DVD, too.
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on June 15, 2004
I wanted to somehow incorporate the word renaissance into this review, and find a clever way to call "television in the last 4 years or so" a renaissance. For lack of creativity I'll take a personal stance for this.
I was never a regular television viewer. I always preferred the VHS and later the DVD over watching a television program. Seemed like such devotion to be there every week. But what was sparked by an interesting premise, 24 hours in the life of the counter terrorist agent, and each episode in real time, lured me in. I fell for 24, than I fell for the Shield when it premiered later a few months after 24 did. I am still thankful I saw "The Shield" advertisement on the corner of 39th and 9th Avenue.
I always saw posters for The Wire on the Path Train. Had no idea what it was all about. I was chalking it up to another spy type show that ABC would produce perhaps. I heard all the critical acclaim, still didn't bite. Than I saw that HBO On Demand was showing episodes 1 through 5. So I tuned in. Watched all 5 episodes in one day. Went back and put them on a blank tape. I'm glad I didnt have to long for HBO to put a new batch of episodes On Demand. They showed 6-10 next. And that's when it got so damn hard. Episode 10 ends in such a cliffhanger and (for those who have the On Demand channels) the next set of episodes wasn't set to be available for 4 weeks or so.
And thus my life for the beginning of this year was all about when the next batch of episodes would cycle through On Demand. I thought about savoring them too, when the middle of season 2 was shown I thought of watching one a could never happen though.
I could have reviewed the show and talk about the characters and the plot that just keeps going, two seasons now, with season three on the way. But it's the experience that should be the selling point. For those who have seen the show know what I mean. It almost hurts to have to wait a whole week to see "what happens next". For those who have never seen the show feel happy that you can now see all of Season 1, at once.
24, The Shield, The Sopranos, Deadwood, and of course The Wire. It's a pretty fair arguement, or rather I can arguement my point well. Does television get any better than this?
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on July 14, 2004
In terms of fictional series, HBO is the only real reason to own a television set.
The Wire is the best of the HBO Original Series. And the most underappreciated. The only criticism one may have of The Wire is that it is too complicated. But in actuality, I think this is The Wire's best selling point. It's a rarity in television to find a series that compels the viewer to rise to the level of the writing instead of the typical lowering of the writing's quality to dumb it down to attract the most mass appeal to sell ad slots. That's the beauty of HBO - you've bought the service, so you get what you pay for or cancel your subscription. HBO is not targeting the unwashed masses to sell ads, it puts out quality television to attract subscribers. It's a beautiful system that I believe (you heard it here first) will someday become the norm in cable television (channel-by-channel subscription with no advertising).
HBO's format raises the quality and The Wire epitomizes the beauty of this system the most of all HBO Original Series. The plot is so complicated, so multi-layered that I keep watching over and over just to make sure I get it all. I feel that I am failing as a human being if I don't do The Wire justice and get the whole plot line straight. You can't criticize the Wire for being too complicated; it's quite refreshing to have a television show that challenges me as the viewer instead of spoon feeds me.
In 1961, FCC Chairman Newton R. Minow said that television was a "Vaste Wasteland." He was right. HBO wasn't founded until 1971 and The Wire didn't premier until 2002.
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on August 22, 2011
The First Season of "The Wire" is just plain good story-telling. An excellent premise combined with outstanding performances makes for some pretty compelling watching. It's one of those shows where you finish one episode and then say "I'll just watch the first 5 minutes of the next episode..." and before you know it, it's 3 hours later.
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on November 18, 2012
So good! The Wire is one of the best tv series I have ever seen. I enjoyed being able to watch some of the episodes with David Simon's commentary. I will buy anything David Simon releases. Product was in great shape on arrival and arrived on time.
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on March 30, 2015
Hard to get into at first, but I was warned about that. After the first 2 episodes is where I think most people will begin to get hooked and understand the world. I found it very engaging, and there was one scene which I think may be one of the most brilliant things I have EVER seen on TV. It hooked me and I watched all seasons within a few months. I would say S1 and 2 are the best.
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on January 5, 2014
Listen Carefully. The tagline on the dvd case but also a guide to viewers. Give this show a few episodes before deciding on it if you find yourself not immediately hooked on it. The show is an amazing accomplishment that takes viewers through a sociological and political study of today's North American societies (well technically, late 90's - early 2000's societies).
Watch in awe as you see the underlying connections between politicians, kingpins, street-corner dealers, school kids, ranked police officers, beat-walking cops, dockyard workers, unions, and more. While the prospect of following this all may seem as entertaining as reading through a college-level poli-sci text book, this series fills the screen with real-feeling characters that have story arcs, flaws, redeeming qualities, and motivations that make you attached to how their stories will play out.
On a micro level each character is just fun to watch, like being in on a joke.
On a macro level this show is orchestrated through five seasons of brilliant narrative that will change how you view society.
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on December 5, 2014
David Simon the producer/writer/originator of this series is an absolute genius. I have never seen/experienced anything like this before on tv. Each season is like a complete novel with each episode being a chapter. It is gritty and realistic unlike anything else on tv. I'm glad to have bought the dvd set because I can watch and rewatch the chapters at my own pleasure. The team he has assembled is astonishing. My normal complaint about movies and tv is about bad casting but here every character is spot on and is played by a dynamite actor. The language is very 'street' so if that's a problem for you then I guess you'd better pass but again it's so realistic. I wish there were more than five seasons but the series works beginning to end.
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on February 17, 2014
First and foremost this is an HBO series. It has graphic sex, nudity, course language and violence. The Wire is a gritty television show not for the faint of heart and if you are easily offended by the previously-mentioned content, then steer far and clear of this series. BUT, if you can "forgive" these things then you are about to watch one of the best television series ever made.
Now that being said, The Wire is also really hilarious in some scenes and it is not all doom and gloom.

Finally, do not just watch the first episode and say "THIS SUCKS MAN!" Give it a chance and you will keep watching right to the end.
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