Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Introducing.....Talking The Wire

I'm so excited to introduce a new, weekly feature that I will be participating in with two, fun ladies -
Talking the Wire, with Amy from My Friend Amy, Nicole from Linus's Blanket, and me!

I'm sure many of you remember last year when Amy and I had weekly discussions about Supernatural. We had a lot of fun, but after our break for BBAW we were never quite able to get back into the swing. So when Amy and Nicole asked if I would be interested in joining them for this roundtable discussion, I jumped at the chance.

We will be watching and discussing The Wire, a show that premiered on HBO in 2002. It is a hard show to describe - here's how Wikipedia explains it:

"The Wire is an American television drama series set and produced in Baltimore, Maryland. Created, produced, and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States. The Wire premiered on June 2, 2002 (see 2002 in television) and ended on March 9, 2008. The five seasons comprise 60 episodes.

Each season of The Wire focuses on a different facet of the city of Baltimore. They are, in order: the illegal drug trade, the port system, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media. The large cast consists mainly of character actors who are little known for their other roles. Simon has said that despite its presentation as a crime drama, the show is 'really about the American city, and about how we live together. It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge or a lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to.'

Despite never seeing large commercial success or winning any major television awards, The Wire has frequently been described by critics as the greatest television series of all time.The show is recognized for its realistic portrayal of urban life, literary ambitions, and uncommonly deep exploration of sociopolitical themes."

We plan to start discussing episodes next week - this week, we've each answered a few introductory questions about why we are interested in this show in particular. Enjoy!

Watching The Wire

An Introduction

How did you first hear about The Wire?

Nicole: I don't really know. The Wire was one of those shows that over time just seeped into my consciousness. Everyone was always talking about how good it was and how realistic, but I am pretty sure that I might have been in the middle of watching Oz on demand and that was all of the gritty realism that I could take at the time. The Wire was also on on that time when it was impossible to hear anything bad about HBO programming. They literally could do no wrong- even though I am still mad that they canceled Carnivale before I could figure out exactly what was going on.

Amy: Well, I think I probably read about it on the TV sites. I used to read TV blogs and TV Guide Online everyday before books marched in and took over my whole life. I don't have HBO so I couldn't watch it. But unlike any other media art form, I almost always trust television critics. They really know their stuff so if they liked the Wire, I figured it was at least worth my time.

Elizabeth: I was watching the fantastic show Six Feet Under on HBO when The Wire premiered, so I knew about it right from the start. (And Nicole - I hear you about Carnivale - my husband and I still have dreams that some other station will pick that series up and at least give it an ending!)

Were you interested in watching it right away? If you were what stopped you? You do realize this show is no longer on the air, don't you?

Nicole: I was watching Oz all of the tine and didn't have any room for The Wire. But I also think that I may have tried to watch a few episode in the middle of the series and couldn't get into, and just thought it was best to not join in watching in the middle.

Amy: I've never had HBO so I couldn't watch it when it was on. I've been interested in watching it for a long time though. If you tell me it's well written, I'll probably be interested.

Elizabeth - I initially dismissed it as just another "cop show" - I knew that if it was made by HBO it would probably be good, but it wasn't until I started hearing raves about it that I actually decided to watch it at some point in the future.

What have you heard about the show?

Amy: Just that it's incredible, very dark and gritty.

Nicole: I have heard the same thing as Amy. It's supposed to be super realistic.

Elizabeth - gritty and realistic, and apparently "the best show ever on television".

What are your expectations on the show? Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to or dreading?

Amy: I'm interested in how I handle the darker side of it, if I'll be appreciate the art through it.

Nicole: I am expecting to watch a good show. I read The Turnaround by George Pelecanos and I really enjoyed reading it so I am very curious to see his work on the small screen. This was one of those shows that was discussed around the "water cooler", so I am hoping that Amy, Elizabeth and I will be able to have those moments as well.

Elizabeth - I've seen SO much praise for The Wire that I have incredibly high expectations. I almost worry going into it that there is no way it can live up to the hype surrounding it. I'll be interested to see if I can get over the "cop show" aspects, because I don't normally find those all that interesting.

Stay tuned next week as we give our first impressions on the show! And if you'd like, watch along with us - we'd love to hear your thoughts as well!

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