The Wire: Season 1 on DVD
You don't need me to tell you that The Wire is the best television show ever... just about every critic and blogger and all your friends and enemies and acquaintances have been saying it for years. But if you don't need me telling you, then what the heck are you waiting for? As a way-latecomer to the show—I just finished Season 1 last week, thanks to Debbie's amazing Christmas gift to me of Netflix for six months—let me suggest that you put Season 1, Disc 1, at the top of your queue right now, you'll get totally sucked in, and so have 37 hours of excellent entertainment awaiting you. And by the time you finish all that, Season 4 will probably be out on DVD.Why is The Wire so good? This epic tale of Baltimore cops vs. Baltimore criminals—in Season 1, all the action centers on the drug trade in a westside housing project, and we come to know both sides intimately—is smart and surprising, the writing crackles, the acting is top-notch, the characters are complicated and likable and infuriating (often at the same time), it's well-paced, it's funny, it feels real.
The Wire was created by David Simon, who also wrote two of my all-time favorite non-fiction books, Homicide and The Corner. Edward Burns is the co-author of The Corner, as well as a writer and producer of The Wire. If you haven't seen it, The Corner—which portrays a year in the life of a family of Baltimore junkies—is a terrific HBO mini-series, and is also now available on DVD.