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13 total views, 1 views today
By Christopher Schmaltz
Um, ok. I finished watching the entire series The Wire this past weekend. I binge-watched the last 2.5 seasons or so, but watched the entire series beginning to end over the last 6 months. The last 2.5 seasons were watched over about a 2 week span. It’s fresh in my mind.
I didn’t watch the Wire when it was on HBO a decade ago. I have always read, in all my pop culture and entertainment reading and podcast listening, that the Wire was incredible and woefully under appreciated in modern entertainment culture. I heard and read references to Omar, and Bubbles, and Stringer Bell, and Bunk, and McNulty, and Prop Joe, never really understanding what those references meant. The references, however, were always made consistently in the tones of awe, amazement and reverence. I didn’t understand because I had never watched it.
I understand now.
The Wire is easily the best show I have ever watched. It has to be objectively considered, if not the greatest television drama ever, then top 3 of all time. (Sopranos, and [insert many contenders here] the other 2)
I know, I know. You haven’t watched it, and this statement seems ridiculous. I am here to shout from the rooftops that everyone in America needs to watch The Wire. EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE.
You are right to be skeptical. I absolutely support and encourage your skepticism. I will attempt to provide you with a rationale to investigate and evaluate it for yourself, and convince you why it warrants a Constitutional amendment requiring every adult in America to watch it.
The efficiency and effectiveness of its storytelling over 5 seasons is breathtaking. It follows a group of police officers in Baltimore from Season 1 all the way thru Season 5, weaving tales of drugs, politics, city management, blue collar workers, schools and newspapers in and around the core group. The show examines each of these areas of modern American life, not in a rote or check the box, I need to comment on this way, but in truly elegant organic storytelling. Honestly, I would call it Homeric.
What do I mean by that? Homeric in the sense that the tale is a compelling story, in and of its own right, with characters and plot that are beyond interesting, always engaging the viewer, and demanding attention at all times. And at the same time, every moment is a deep examination of modern American city life, its culture, pressures, power, and humanity. It’s a tale of us, a cultural touchstone for all time.
The show never loses sight of the humans at the center of it. Lots of shows want to be commentaries on, …name your Big Idea. Politics, or Power, or Crime. The humans in those shows are simply vehicles to move around to tell the big tale, or vessels from which flow Important Statements.
And note that it is not until late here that I mention race and race relations. The racism in the show isn’t one of the things it wants to overtly Comment on. The racism is simply a given. Of course the show is commenting on it, but the racism is not treated as a separate thing to be examined, dissected, and disapproved of. The racism, from everyone, is treated as an immutable part of everything that all the characters say and do. The show’s genius is found in its ability to depict the unconscious (and conscious) bias and racism in all the characters, without putting neon on it. And yet, every human watching gets it.
What the makers of the Wire mastered is grounding all that commentary in real humans, making real decisions, from which emerges the devastating view on all those big things other shows try to shout about. Every character evolves. Some evolve in the direction of extinction (real or metaphorically) and some evolve toward some version of success. I am still shaking my head at how they managed to sustain it over 5 seasons, with threads in every season stitching all the central characters together to create a tapestry of hope, love, faith, despair, frailty, chance, pragmatism and outright venality.
Humans encompass all of those things. The Wire depicts it all almost perfectly. It is a stunning artistic achievement. Add it to your bucket list of life, watch it, think about it, discuss it, and share it. It is transformative art.
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By Patrick Schmaltz
Hey look! They are not all dead. The season one finale left on a huge cliffhanger. Quinten, Penny, Margo, Eliot, Alice, and Julia all went guns blazing after the Beast and got rocked like a hurricane only to not be completely wiped out thanks to double crossing Julia who made a deal with the devil (aka the Beast, aka Martin Chatwin)
From the season two trailers we knew how they were not all dead. The explanations seemed pretty simple and a little weak, but I can move past that. This episode seems to be mostly about where season two is headed. Penny gets his hands fixed but they are cursed–or something–by “Crazy Healing River Man.” Julia gets offered a way to cover up her post-rape emotional damage, but is so far resisting. Q, Alice, Margo and Eliot have become the Kings and Queens of Fillory (which is revealed in an hilarious 90’s trivia scene) so, Eliot stays behind while the rest go back to Brakebills in search of the missing Fillory armory books.
It seems like a good start to the second season. They’ve set up some storylines and hinted at directions the characters will go this season. The show continues to be dark and humorous. Fillory continues to be crazy and unpredictable, and I am fully excited for more! Also, is that healer lady in the beginning of the episode going to come back and fuck everything up for Q?
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By Christopher Schmaltz
Damn, what a good show. I binged this show over the holiday break, and was so engrossed in it that I was surprised when the final episode ended and there wasn’t another one. It does such a good job of capturing the books and an even better job of distilling the characters and challenges for an episodic effort. The CG is fantastic. Full stop, no caveats.
I can’t wait till they dig deeper into the rest of Book 1 and the story that unfolds. So much to tell and so much to reveal.
The show also does an excellent job of looking like a plausible human future. The books and this show are tremendous is postulating a future that looks real. From the subtle touches of the high barriers around the Statue of Liberty (to address the rising waters from global warming), to the actual design of human habitation off Earth. The ship designs are great. The idea that ship design would reflect zero g, but also the “gravity” generated by the Epstein drives is excellent.
Bringing Avasarala into the first season was a great idea too. She doesn’t appear until Book 2 I think, but her character is so meaty and fun that it was really smart to introduce her early. Only bummer is her swearing from the books isn’t depicted in the show. They try, but the TV character loses a bit of her no nonsense, I don’t fuck around, from the books.
I love everything about this show.
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Episode Sixty Six: Thanksgeeking
It’s a disciplined episode of the BrothersGeek this time around, we keep it under 90 minutes!
With the holiday of Thanksgiving fast approaching each of us has something “geeky” to be thankful for. Only two of us are brought to tears, you will have to guess which two.
Our collective noodles get baked by the sci-fi drama Arrival and we implore the Academy to recognize the wonderful work of Amy Adams. We remark on the familiar formula of Doctor Strange. Also, Westworld completely f*cks us up. Patrick and Andrew dive into Montress. It’s dark, violent and beautiful. Patrick reports on his Wrath of the Machine raid attempts in Destiny: Rise of Iron. All the Boys slog through the week of Iron Banner, mostly having a good time.
Trivia is World War II movie themed. And it’s a challenge the Boys nearly conquer.
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