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Jason Panella

The Wire (2002-2008)

142 posts in this topic

Homicide certainly pushed harder on convention given its prime time context. The Wire is what happens when good TV writers are given as much room to play as they want to, which is a freedom Homicide never enjoyed.

This is a pretty accurate statement, I think. I love Homicide, for what it's worth (I'm glad I italicized that!), but I have to disagree with Christian...as perfect as the first few seasons were (and they really were), they started losing me each season after that.

But lovable characters in the Wire? I don't know if a week goes by that I don't think about one of them with a smile.

Hmmm. I didn’t “love” the characters, but that’s not to say that I wanted them to be “lovable,” which suggests connotations I didn’t intend.

Do I think of them often? Not as often as you do, Jason, but I do think of them sometimes. That’s not to say that I loved the characters. I agree that they’re memorable, many of them.

Darren: I have the heart of Tom Reagan. In answer to your questions, No, no, no, no, no and no. I did have a soft spot for Lester, Bubbles and even Clay Davis (!), but I didn’t love those characters the way I loved Frank Pembleton, or Kay Howard – or even John Lange, who, as played by Vincent D'Onofrio, made a huge impression for just one episode.

I promise that I wasn't the person who wrote to Slate claiming that Homicide is superior to The Wire:

The single commenter who swam against the tide by suggesting that The Wire is an inferior version of Homicide: Life on the Street, was quickly taken to task by other commenters. (We cannot at this time verify the Wire-skeptic’s whereabouts.)

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Žižek comes late to The Wire

Meanwhile, I'm going to be dusting off my complete series set in the next month or so and giving the series a try.

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Meanwhile, I'm going to be dusting off my complete series set in the next month or so and giving the series a try.

You are in for something really special.

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Grantland.com is running a "Smacketology" tournament to determine who the best character on The Wire was.

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Grantland.com is running a "Smacketology" tournament to determine who the best character on The Wire was.

This is a bracket I can get into. The Grantland Facebook page has the polls running, it seems. But Levy beating Wallace? Really?

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I finally finished THE WIRE. My wife and I had held off on seasons 4 and 5, but we finally finished watching them.

Season 4 was, bar none, the most moving television experience of my life. Other seasons were more exciting, more invigorating, but the character work in season 4 was the finest in the series. By the end of it, my wife and I were devastated.

Season 5 was good, and served as an effective end-cap for the show, but on the whole, it's probably my least favorite season. In part because it's painful, given that it centers on the implications of a few destructive choices, but also because its look at the media isn't particularly vivid.

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Season 5 was good, and served as an effective end-cap for the show, but on the whole, it's probably my least favorite season. In part because it's painful, given that it centers on the implications of a few destructive choices, but also because its look at the media isn't particularly vivid.

I thought the same thing, which is strange, since David Simon was a reporter before he worked in television.

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Robert F. Chew, who played "Prop Joe" on The Wire, has died. He was 52.

This is a little over a month after the death of Donnie Andrews, the real-life inspiration for Omar. As things work in David Simon's world, Andrews also had a smaller supporting role in the show.

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Looks like The Wire is getting remastered by HBO!

 

There's some cause for concern, according to the friend of a guy on the Internet:

 


My friend who works at HBO says they are chopping the top and bottom off the 4 x 3 frame for the early seasons to "fit" 16 x 9. We saw this with FX's Simpsons Marathon and I really wish companies would stop doing this. It wasn't cool to chop the sides off Lawrence of Arabia and it is likewise not cool to chop the head and neck off of Stringer Bell.

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Looks like The Wire is getting remastered by HBO!

 

There's some cause for concern, according to the friend of a guy on the Internet:

 

 

My friend who works at HBO says they are chopping the top and bottom off the 4 x 3 frame for the early seasons to "fit" 16 x 9. We saw this with FX's Simpsons Marathon and I really wish companies would stop doing this. It wasn't cool to chop the sides off Lawrence of Arabia and it is likewise not cool to chop the head and neck off of Stringer Bell.

 

 

Now if they wanted to remaster GAME OF THRONES,

I guess chopping the head off of Ned Stark would be okay, though.

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There seems to be some debate as to whether The Wire was *shot* in 4:3 or merely *cropped* to 4:3 for its original broadcast. If the latter, then the high-def remastering would actually contain *more* information rather than less.

 

Babylon 5, a considerably older show (i.e. it predates the existence of DVD and the widespread availability of high-def TVs), was shot on 35mm film and broadcast in 4:3, but the DVD was remastered for 16:9 because they reframed the elements, in many cases showing *more* than what the original broadcast had shown. *However*, the visual effects were rendered by computers for 4:3 presentation, so all of the *visual effects* shots were cropped to 16:9 and thus showed *less* than what the original broadcast had shown.

 

This means that, when you're watching an episode of Babylon 5, if someone walks down a hall, it usually looks quite good (because it was mastered from the original film). But if they turn around a corner and the picture quality takes a drop, that usually means a visual effect (a laser blast, an alien decloaking, etc.) is about to happen (because the entire shot was rendered in video-quality 4:3, and now the image has been *blown up* so that it can stretch from one side of the 16:9 screen to the other, thus resulting in a lower-resolution image).

 

The recent high-def remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation (which, I believe, preserved the 4:3 aspect ratio) got around this by *re-editing the entire series* (the original edits had been done in video, but for the Blu-Ray they went back to the original film elements and digitally spliced everything together all over again) and *replacing the visual effects* with brand-new effects.

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I just finished the series a week or so ago.  Easily agree that the 5th season was a little bit of a let down; as Ryan says above, the newspaper work didn't feel particularly insightful.  But could Simon's disdain for the experience he had working at the paper that he couldn't see past his own anger?  (Not an original thought, but I can't remember where I'd read that, so no link). 

 

The series itself, I think, works because it excels at creating empathy.  While you may not find characters "lovable" you feel compelled to act on their behalf--even for a guy like Stringer Bell--but more so for a guy like Michael, or Cutty, or Wallace.  You want to help.  And the you realize they are just characters on the show.

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