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July 6, 2008 11:22 PM   Subscribe

After 'The Wire,' Moving On to Battles Beyond the Streets - 'The Wire' co-creator Ed Burns talks about his life and his and David Simon's new project, 'Generation Kill', premiering next Sunday on HBO.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (34 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
This should be good. Nathaniel Fick, one of the platoon commanders involved, wrote an excellent book, One Bullet Away, about this Iraq campaign (as well as Marine Officer training & Afghanistan). I'm now reading Generation Kill, the book by Evan Wright on which the mini-series is based. He was embedded with First Recon.

The contrast between the two books, and how the TV programme stacks up against them, will be interesting.
posted by Huw at 12:14 AM on July 7, 2008


I've read both books, and I can't wait for this to air.
posted by mrbill at 12:44 AM on July 7, 2008


Men titta, Alexander Skarsgard Skarsgård är med i denna serie.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:04 AM on July 7, 2008


How is this here? A promo piece on an upcoming tv show is news worthy? What's next? A FPP about how the next FPP will be awesome?
posted by srboisvert at 2:39 AM on July 7, 2008


Dude, this isn't an "upcoming TV show". This is a David Simon/Ed Burns celluloidal event. You're like complaining, man, about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel being "nearly finished".

Please god let this be better than 'Over There'.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:59 AM on July 7, 2008


This is here for people like me who love The Wire and its creators but didn't realize this was airing so soon.
posted by palidor at 3:02 AM on July 7, 2008


Friend of mine was the DoP on a couple of the episodes. He says it looks great, but be prepared for just how much of it takes place inside the humvee. It's very much the world from their point of view.

Personally I hope it's an enormous and spectacular failure so everyone involved is forced to go back and make series six of the wire.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:11 AM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would agree with srboisvert, but come on...The Wire? Easily the best show on television, ever. Definitely better than The Sopranos, which is saying a lot. So everyone should be excited about the next Ed Burns/David Simon show. Everyone!
posted by wigglin at 4:44 AM on July 7, 2008


I'm fine with this being here, but then again I am also a Wire junkie and therefore irrational.

If Laurie Anderson had a new album or David Foster Wallace had a new book, I'd want it on the front page too, if only so that I didn't somehow miss it.

It's a MeFi thang, man.
posted by rokusan at 5:16 AM on July 7, 2008


How is this here?
It all begins when a man and a woman love each other and they decide to express that love and then blog about it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 AM on July 7, 2008


The Wire? Easily the best show on television, ever. ..So everyone should be excited about the next Ed Burns/David Simon show. Everyone!


well and good if you don't mind dialogue you occasionally can barely understand (cueing the close captioning) and gleaning the direction of the story from repeat viewings/online reviews and recaps... It might be the most cerebrally engaging series, but to my mind most viewing public avoid anything not spoon-fed -- I wouldn't be surprised that not *everyone* erupted in backflips and applause over this.

Setting "GEneration Kill" to the backdrop of war, gunfire & muffled shouts, I can look forward to enjoying the confusion more than ever and the online recap sites will get visits from me regularly.
posted by skyper at 5:55 AM on July 7, 2008


“There’s a rumor he’s up there with a barbed-wire compound with hounds he can release,” said Mr. Simon, who has yet to visit.

But though Mr. Burns may prefer a degree of solitude and anonymity, he is far from a recluse...
Did David Simon just make a Simpsons joke that the reporter didn't get at all?
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:12 AM on July 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


This may not be the place for it, but how many people think that Burns and Simon would have been better show-runner replacements for ABC's American version of 'Life on Mars'?
posted by vhsiv at 6:20 AM on July 7, 2008


Generation Kill has been sitting in my Amazon wish list for years, since it first came out. As someone who dabbles in "generational theory", it fits perfectly the archetype of Generation X and the Iraq war - sort of the exact opposite of the heroic Greatest Generation and WWII, the non-hero, the anti-social bloody killer that everyone loves to hate and disparage. The show will strike a chord in American zeitgeist.
posted by stbalbach at 7:07 AM on July 7, 2008


. . .how many people think that Burns and Simon would have been better show-runner replacements for ABC's American version of 'Life on Mars'?

Not me, for one.
I mean, I expect they would produce something as good as possible, given the constraints, but why would you want them to suffer under those constraints? We already have Life on Mars and do you really think that ABC is an institution capable of matching, let alone improving upon, the original?
I would much rather that these talented people be free to create something intelligent that I haven't seen before.
posted by Zetetics at 8:40 AM on July 7, 2008


Did David Simon just make a Simpsons joke that the reporter didn't get at all?

"Release the hounds" has been around as a jokey thing to say a lot longer than The Simpsons has been on the air. If the reporter did get the joke, is he supposed to interrupt his own interview to acknowledge it?
posted by autodidact at 8:53 AM on July 7, 2008


*nudges autodidact*

You do realize he's referring to his collaborator, Ed "Mr." Burns?
posted by Pronoiac at 9:03 AM on July 7, 2008


Gah. Nice title here, guys. Classy. Great way to kick off my workweek.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:18 AM on July 7, 2008


Finally a reason to keep HBO. They've been dead lately.
posted by chickaboo at 10:04 AM on July 7, 2008


a reason to keep HBO

For me, "a reason to remember to search for this on BitTorrent", or buy the episodes off iTunes if they're available.
posted by mrbill at 10:15 AM on July 7, 2008


Thanks for this Krafty! I'm a newcomer to the Wire, just finished season 3. Floored, amazed.
posted by storybored at 10:31 AM on July 7, 2008


His next projects include a feature film about a true but unlikely romance between Donnie Andrews, a Baltimore holdup artist who robbed drug dealers (and inspired the character Omar Little on “The Wire”), and Fran Boyd, a crack addict who recovered with his help and married him last year (and was also a character in “The Corner”).

I'm psychotically excited by this.
posted by bayliss at 11:31 AM on July 7, 2008


Wait a second, wasn't someone reading Generation Kill in the last season of The Wire? I remember noticing it because I'd just read the book, though it was just totally in passing...
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:36 AM on July 7, 2008


Why? Why is The Wire so good? Someone explain cause "The Wire is so great!" doesn't help those of us who haven't seen it.
posted by Dantien at 2:54 PM on July 7, 2008


Salon interview with Ed Burns.

Why? Why is The Wire so good?

For most people, The Wire shows an authentic-seeming look at a culture that they can't see or know in real life. It's morally complex; the "good guys" do good and bad things, so do the "bad guys." It's got excellent character development over entire seasons and over the series as a whole. (The last episode had scenes and lines that paralleled the first season.) It gives the audience credit for being intelligent and rewards paying attention. The acting is mostly excellent, and comes from a cast of people who either aren't professional actors or were relative unknowns before The Wire. It's got black actors playing a wide range of roles instead of the typical stereotypes.*

* See also: Stuff White People Like: The Wire
posted by kirkaracha at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


well and good if you don't mind dialogue you occasionally can barely understand

Neither me nor my friends who watched the show with me ever had that problem. Not trying to be rude, but maybe you should turn your volume up on your television
posted by wigglin at 4:21 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


So it's the drama version of Arrested Development? That sounds like something worth watching....

*back to Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica*
posted by Dantien at 4:42 PM on July 7, 2008


The Wire probably was one of the best shows on TV, but that’s faint praise. I came in a bit late and could never quite make good sense of it. There were just too many characters and each one had the same emotional and ethical valence as every other one... so it was hard to key on individual storylines. McNulty and Omar had different faces and did different things, but they did them like they were the same person doing different things.

Maybe that was the point, but it doesn’t make for good drama... particularly when you have to follow a multitude of characters for four years. Compare The Wire and its flat characters to The Sopranos or Deadwood, with their strongly differentiated characters... or anything by Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller. And that’s giving The Wire a pass on women.

As for Burn’s recollections of West Baltimore in 1971, I was a night-time ghetto cab driver back then and the core of West Baltimore was Pennsylvania Avenue just east of North Avenue, a Black cultural jazz club oasis unknown to normal white folks. Closing time on a Saturday night back then was like a little Mardi Gras. In any case West Baltimore in 1971 probably embodied the highest hopes of Black Baltimore with an expanding Black middle class moving on to nice homes in Liberty Heights and beyond to the Jewish/Gentile suburbs where I grew up.

Burns cliched Baltimore so I suspect he’ll do the same thing with Iraq, but I’m still waiting with baited breath because its “good TV”.
posted by Huplescat at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2008


I always looked at The Wire as a sort of pseudo-documentary, akin to Walking With Dinosaurs. I could never fully believe that it was one hundred percent accurate but I trusted the ability and experience of the writers so much, and the quality was so consistently good, and the culture, environment and atmosphere portrayed so comprehensively foreign, that I was happy to be convinced. Plus the language (particularly the corner slang) was just so damned interesting and refreshing.

It can be a hard show to get into, sure (I imagine less hard for people within Fortress America). You really do need to start with the first episode of the first season and watch as many episodes as you can stomach in a single session in order to appreciate it as more than just a "quirky" police procedural or fable of the criminal underworld. It really is a serialised novel. You can't just pick it up and take a bite out of it and proclaim it "yuck", but instead need to get the napkin in your lap and turn it into an experience. Which is an overplayed analogy and oh my god I have no idea what I'm talking about any more.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:23 PM on July 7, 2008


Neither me nor my friends who watched the show with me ever had that problem.

I certainly did. In many scenes the jargon, slang and/or technical terms were so thick I couldn't parse what people were saying. This didn't detract from my enjoyment of the show at all, however, it made me appreciate it even more. But I did have to watch the DVDs with the English subtitles turned on.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:31 PM on July 8, 2008


Yeah I love the show, but always have to watch it with subtitles on. "Turn the volume up?" Spare me.
posted by jcruelty at 5:32 PM on July 8, 2008


You really do need to start with the first episode of the first season and watch as many episodes as you can stomach in a single session in order to appreciate it as more than just a "quirky" police procedural or fable of the criminal underworld.

I'm looking forward to HBO rerunning the whole thing. I'll be all over it like a cat on a nice chunk of tuna.
posted by Huplescat at 6:03 PM on July 8, 2008


So what's the verdict on Generation Kill? Anyone care to share an opinion?
posted by storybored at 8:04 AM on July 16, 2008


The first episode was amazing, and I can't wait till next week.
posted by mrbill at 1:24 AM on July 17, 2008


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