The kids have now been out of the house for nearly two years, and during that time Kish and I have enjoyed having control over our family room TV choices. Occasionally we will hear from friends that a particular, long-running TV show is very good and we will watch an episode or two. When we find a show we like, we then can go back and watch the show from its beginning. We have done this with a number of TV shows — Deadwood, 24, and Foyle’s War being some of them — and the latest is The Wire.
We have just finished the first season of The Wire, and we think it is one of the best TV shows we have ever watched. I don’t know whether it is realistic or not, but it sure feels authentic. It doesn’t have the kind of forced pace that you find on some TV shows. Things seem to develop slowly and naturally. The characters look like normal people, not movie stars, and they act in ways that seem totally realistic. We are repelled by the horror of Baltimore’s drug-infested, crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods, yet fascinated by them, too. We have grown attached to the characters, care about their struggles, and are interested in seeing how they grow and change. We respect that the police and the drug dealers are portrayed with subtlety and shading, and we like how the crooks and the cops are engaged in a kind of ballet where every move by one side is quickly matched by a countermove by the other. I particularly like the fact that the show does not seem rote, and has managed to avoid falling into the kinds of patterns that you find, for example, on House.
We’re getting ready to begin season two on HBO On Demand and are looking forward to seeing what happens to McNulty, Stringer Bell, the Lieutenant, the junkie, and the other characters we have gotten to know. No spoilers, please!