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Stringer and McNulty are coming home!
March 30, 2009 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Blatantly jumping on the opportunity to create yet another thread on The Wire, I'd like to remind you that starting tonight, BBC 2 will air the entire series start to finish, an episode every weekday. First episode starts in a moment, at 11:20 PM UK time. Watch!

I've you've never heard of the show before, here's a good write-up by Charlie Brooker, who also made a nice TV special on the show. We've discussed the series quite a bit around here and on the Green. [SPOILERS]

The final season wrapped up last year in the States, and while it never reached very large TV audiences it gained a rabidly evangelic cult following. Moreover, it seems to have been almost universally liked by the Metafilter contingent, which is definitely a rarity.

In any case, this should be a brilliant opportunity for those in the British Isles and elsewhere in Europe to catch up, so good luck and have fun.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (64 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just wish one TV station here in Australia had the balls to show The Wire. It doesn't matter to me in the slightest since I own all the seasons (about due for my own personal rerun, come to think of it), but, jeez, it would be nice to at least talk to somebody else about it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:19 PM on March 30, 2009


Did anyone catch Stringer Bell on The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency last night?

Keepin' it gangsta on two continents.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:22 PM on March 30, 2009


Also, one of my favourite quotes from the series:

Stringer: Are you takin' notes on a fuckin' criminal conspiracy?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:24 PM on March 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'd really love to see a David Simon show set in the White House. Like, NAO.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:29 PM on March 30, 2009


They're not showing it on the iPlayer for some reason. I was all happy getting ready to be camped out in front of iPlayer for the evening with Stewart Lee and the Wire, but Stewart Lee wasn't nearly as good as the first two, and now no (The?) Wire. Guess I'll just have to watch it in low resolution on the internet like I always do, just to celebrate the occasion. Really hope it becomes popular with the British terrestrial tv-viewing public though.
posted by dolca at 3:38 PM on March 30, 2009


Idris Elba, the actor who plays Stringer Bell, has also been in a few recent episodes of the Office. The man is a superb actor, has lived an interesting life and I think I might have a bit of a man crush on him.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 3:43 PM on March 30, 2009


Good on them! The brits don't mind the odd bit of swearing and are already disillusioned, so I can see why this is possible.
posted by flippant at 3:45 PM on March 30, 2009


doica, probably rights issues, or it could be because it's being broadcast as I type (fear not, gentle reader - I have watched all five seasons, and have my own copies of every episode, so I'm not missing out by bringing you this infomercial), and they're often slow to update. Wait 'til tomorrow, see if it's on iPlayer.
posted by djgh at 3:51 PM on March 30, 2009


The novel that the series is based on, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets" by David Simon, is quite good too.
posted by about_time at 3:53 PM on March 30, 2009


I see people from The Wire in all sorts of funny spots in movies and TV - probably the most ironic one was that the guy who played Scott Templeton (the fabricating reporter from season 5) played the son of one of the guys in Flags of our Fathers, and was writing a book on their experiences; basically being a reporter again. The movie also features Chris Bauer (Frank Sobotka) in a minor governmental role.
posted by LionIndex at 3:54 PM on March 30, 2009


I, for one, enjoy all FPPs about The Wire.
posted by sidereal at 4:00 PM on March 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, djgh, I was watching Stewart Lee on BBC2 as it was broadcast earlier in the iPlayer and it was fine - hope The Wire will be up tomorrow, as there must be many people who'll miss the first episode. I'll seen it enough times and should be working anyway - just wanted to celebrate the occasion :)
posted by dolca at 4:13 PM on March 30, 2009


Oh and, Jimmy McNulty criticises UK TV drama (not all that strongly)
posted by dolca at 4:18 PM on March 30, 2009


I just wanna say that this is maybe the best opening scene in all of television history. Never before or since have less than three minutes of dialogue, acting, and directing hooked me so completely into a story.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 4:20 PM on March 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Interesting to come back the first series again after watching all the rest. Third time through (yeah I watched it twice back in the day) and I'm noticing a lot of little subtleties I didn't see before.

All in the game.

... and I've just realised I've missed Stewart Lee earlier tonight. To Iplayer I go...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:35 PM on March 30, 2009


When Charlie Brooker reviewed it last year, I was interested because I liked 'Oz' and 'Homicide', but none of the clips he showed or the characters he discussed were female. They managed better than this on 'Oz' :D

Mind you, this could be Brooker's own issues and clip selection, rather than a total lack of women in the story. As I said, I loved their other programmes.
posted by grapefruitzzz at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2009


When Charlie Brooker reviewed it last year, I was interested because I liked 'Oz' and 'Homicide', but none of the clips he showed or the characters he discussed were female. They managed better than this on 'Oz' :D

Totally Brooker... there are a few strong female parts in the show (Kima Greggs and Ronnie Pearlman particularly).
posted by The Michael The at 5:01 PM on March 30, 2009


Slim Charles: What if they don't cop our re-up dough?
Stringer: Well, I'ma worry about that when it happens. Until then, Mr. Charles, we're going to handle this like businessmen, sell the shit, make the profit and later for that gangsta bullshit. [Poot raises his hand.] Yeah.
Poot: Do the chair know we gonna look like some punk-ass bitches out there?
Stringer: Motherfucker, I will punk-ass you!
Shamrock: Yo, String, Poot did have the floor, man.
Stringer: Shut the fuck up, this nigga too ignorant to have the fuckin' floor!
posted by Rangeboy at 5:02 PM on March 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


arcanecrowbar wrote: I just wanna say that this is maybe the best opening scene in all of television history. Never before or since have less than three minutes of dialogue, acting, and directing hooked me so completely into a story.

Thanks for reminding me how awesome the first season was. IMO it far outclasses the others. Not that the others aren't better than almost anything else ever shown on television, but season one puts the rest to shame. It was just that good, I guess.
posted by wierdo at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2009


The novel that the series is based on, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets" by David Simon, is quite good too.

A piece of reportage rather than a novel, this book spawned its own tv show, Homicide. As did Simon's next book, The Corner. (To which The Wire also owes a debt, imo.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:14 PM on March 30, 2009


I see people from The Wire in all sorts of funny spots in movies and TV

Both John Donan (Rawls) and Clarke Peters (Freamon) have popped up this year on Damages, much to my pleasure.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:17 PM on March 30, 2009


That's three mentions of Stewart Lee. Surely I can derail my own thread for a moment -- I've never heard of him, is he any good?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:18 PM on March 30, 2009


about time: The novel that the series is based on, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets" by David Simon, is quite good too. It's more closely based on the nonfiction book "The Corner." (Which was made into a minseries) And Homicide is not a novel.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:21 PM on March 30, 2009


I just wish one TV station here in Australia had the balls to show The Wire.

Actually, Channel Nine have shown the first four seasons and are probably about due to start showing season five soon. I know this because I discovered The Wire on Nine. Of course they show it late at night and don't promote it, but all in all they seem to treat it with much more respect than they did Sopranos. It has the same (albeit crappy) time slot every week, they don't stop running it until a season ends, and they show the whole season from start to finish. They've even been running repeats of earlier seasons before starting a new one. Having said that, I too have them on DVD and don't tend to watch on free to air.

At least we know we'll have something to talk about if I ever manage to make a Brisbane meet-up.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:28 PM on March 30, 2009


Never before or since have less than three minutes of dialogue, acting, and directing hooked me so completely into a story.

arcanecrowbar...I've never seen The Wire *no cable*. I watched the scene, and am about to watch it again. I feel like I totally had my guard down on some drama stuff, which it was, and got knocked out with a right hook at the end. It never crossed my mind why Snot would be allowed to keep throwing bones. I was born in Cabrini Green so, you know, I know the types. Or, I am the type. Bizarro world, for sure. I have five nephews like them cats. Anyway, I'm going to buy them all now.
posted by Flex1970 at 7:09 PM on March 30, 2009


Both John Donan (Rawls) and Clarke Peters (Freamon) have popped up this year on Damages, much to my pleasure.
Bunny Colvin surfaced tonight on How I Met Your Mother as the exasperated owner of a laser tag franchise.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 7:15 PM on March 30, 2009


That Snot story is based on a true story btw... one of the many, many things I like about The Wire is the realism.
posted by jcruelty at 7:22 PM on March 30, 2009


And if you haven't read The Corner, do so. One of the strongest works of journalism I've ever read. It will break your heart though.
posted by jcruelty at 7:24 PM on March 30, 2009


Agh, let's talk about what is really important! HBO has produced nothing since The Wire went off the air? So for awhile they had sort of a trifecta, The Wire, The Sopranos, and Sex and the City (don't laugh, I felt it parodied the excesses of the late 90s Gilded Age excesses better than it, or its fans, will ever realize, and I say this seriously as someone who watched all the episodes). Then, like guy who gets lucky and manages to get a girl way beyond his league, HBO totally goes off the deep end. In Treatment? And the show about good looking people having sex? When did HBO go all self absorbed bobo? And now I'm forced to watch this detective show set in Africa which is a step above listening to my friends who went to "New Ivies" come back from some trip and talk about how great the third world country they went to was and how I need to leave the country and explore the world because they had an amazing experience. Yeah whatever HBO, get out of the post-college daze and start producing some real drama. Oh god and you abandoned Deadwood, what the hell? At least Showtime is trying. There I said it.
posted by geoff. at 7:34 PM on March 30, 2009


the miniseries was also good. i need to check the book out.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:39 PM on March 30, 2009


Omar Little is like my favorite television character in the past decade.
posted by troybob at 8:04 PM on March 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually, Channel Nine have shown the first four seasons and are probably about due to start showing season five soon...

For reals? Wow.

Good memories here.

McNulty: I'm late for soccer practice.
Bubbles: Suck what?

posted by turgid dahlia at 8:35 PM on March 30, 2009


Sheeeeeeit.

McNulty and Bunk.

Frankie Faison, who played Burrell, was in Do the Right Thing and is the only person to appear in all four Hannibal Lecter movies.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:55 PM on March 30, 2009


Both John Donan (Rawls) and Clarke Peters (Freamon) have popped up this year on Damages, much to my pleasure.

David Costabile (editor Klebanow in season 5) is also in Damages as the detective/killer Messer. He's also in a T-Mobile commercial. I kinda have a crush on that guy.
posted by troybob at 10:25 PM on March 30, 2009


Hey Turgid Dahlia-

i think it was channel nine showed The Wire in Australia for a while last year- hideously out of order and in the middle of the night, as they seem to do with all the great shows here in the topsy turvy land of Oz (eg 30 Rock, Boston Legal, Curb Your Enthusiasm).


But yeah, the best way is just to watch it all on DVD.
posted by Philby at 10:30 PM on March 30, 2009


oh. i see that's already come up. whoops.
posted by Philby at 10:35 PM on March 30, 2009


To anyone who, like me, found themselves disconsolate after having finished season five of The Wire, just allow me to say Generation Kill ... will ... fucking ... rock you like a partystar. Get some!
posted by rudster at 11:43 PM on March 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's crazy that they're putting it on so late and so often. With an earlier slot once a week I think it would've built a sizeable following.
posted by malevolent at 12:55 AM on March 31, 2009


Wire wire wire everyone's always going on about the bloody wire I'M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR ELECTRONICS PROJECT OK
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:50 AM on March 31, 2009


David Costabile (editor Klebanow in season 5) is also in Damages as the detective/killer Messer. He's also in a T-Mobile commercial. I kinda have a crush on that guy.

And he's in Flight of the Conchords as Doug, long suffering husband of their greatest fan, which really freaked me when I saw damages and flight back to back once (he's so different in the roles, even though I'd seen him a lot in both I never made the connection - I can be quite slow sometimes).

Plus, of course, when Amy Ryan turned up as Holly on the Office I was all "Don't I know you from somewhere?" Scuttlebutt is she's back this season, too.
posted by Sparx at 1:56 AM on March 31, 2009


That's three mentions of Stewart Lee. Surely I can derail my own thread for a moment -- I've never heard of him, is he any good?

Yes... he's also not been on tv for a long long time. Check out 'Fist of Fun' and 'TMWRNJ' / 'This Morning With Richard Not Judy' on the 'tubes.

It's crazy that they're putting it on so late and so often. With an earlier slot once a week I think it would've built a sizeable following.

It's not the first time. They ran Seinfeld in the same slot a few years earlier to many many complaints of 'why don't they put it on earlier?' But they don't won't to frighten their normal blando middlebrow HouseBuyingDoingUp / Gardening / Cooking viewers...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:18 AM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and, Jimmy McNulty criticises UK TV drama (not all that strongly)

I think it's testament to the strength of the show that it's so weird to hear all these guys like Stringer and McNulty speak in their natural accents. The characters are so strong that it's hard to believe they're not real people. (Actually, the best in-joke ever on TV might the Wire scene with McNulty talking in a ridiculously fake British accent...)
posted by Fuzzy Dunlop at 4:10 AM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, the best in-joke ever on TV might the Wire scene with McNulty talking in a ridiculously fake British accent..

I think you mean The Devil's Whore.

Speaking of corrupt policemen from Yorkshire, I heartily recommend the Red Riding Trilogy for people who liked The Wire.
posted by fullerine at 4:34 AM on March 31, 2009


shamelessly commenting just to put up my favorite little bit:

Bunk: (types in 'Peanut' in database ) 89? And that's just the ones with Westside addresses.
Vernon: Man, you got to narrow that shit down. Find some way to work with all them 'Peanuts.'
Bunk: Motherf**ker, do I look like George Washington Carver?
posted by hellogoodbye at 5:03 AM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


goodnewsfortheinsane: He also co-wrote and directed Jerry Springer - The Opera, and got death threats for it - but mostly he's just known for being one of the best standup comedians around (The Wikipedia article is good). He has a unique style of delivery that uses endless repetition and loves to play with silences in the audience - it's hard to describe, but technique-wise he's an artist of a standup. Seeing him on the BBC is a shock, especially after recently catching an episode of Horne and Corden - it's heartening like seeing the Wire finally on terrestrial tv. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but the second episode of the Comedy Vehicle, where he savages television from within, was particularly awesome. Fearless comedy. Don't know how he's going to get a second series, the number of people he must be pissing off.
posted by dolca at 6:24 AM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or, in short, as a youtube comment put it: "closest thing to Bill Hicks on tv".

Back to the Wire: Idris Elba was just astonishing in Season 3. 3 and 4 were the best for me - 3 had the pretty much perfect story arc (the opening and closing scenes - so beautiful...), and 4 had the most affecting characters - the kids, essentially, the heart of the Wire.
posted by dolca at 6:36 AM on March 31, 2009


Well, it looks like I have missed the first episode and I don't have time to watch it before they broadcast the second episode, even if I had a copy of it, so I will never catch up with the BBC broadcast. Maybe I will have time to watch five episodes at the weekend, then I will be up to date with the television. It seems like a lot of time to spend watching the TV, just so I can be down with McNulty references.
Oh, I know it is great television, so say us all! But I haven't even watched the last episodes of The Sopranos, so clearly there is doubt in my commitment to sparkle motion the television. I suppose I ought to watch it on the BBC, so that I can argue in favour of the License Fee, which I support.
posted by asok at 6:43 AM on March 31, 2009


jeez, it would be nice to at least talk to somebody else about it.
Given my experiences in a place where it did air, don’t be too confident that it will suddenly become water cooler material (unfortunately).

Omar Little is like my favorite television character in the past decade.
And Brother Mouzone may be my least.

Didn’t realize that HBO had gone downhill (if it has) but it’s still on an entirely different plane than other tv.

Also, testament to MeFi Wire love that a fpp about what's coming up on tv stands -- but I'll read any old thing about The Wire
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:18 AM on March 31, 2009


Asok, the Sopranos is to the Wire as Salisbury steak is to the finest, best dry-aged steak from bullocks raised on beer and hay from the hands of beauteous supermodels. It's the same basic meat product, but one is so much better than the other.

I firmly believe that Season 4 has a place in the so-called Western canon right up there with Huckleberry Finn and Madame Bovary.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:39 AM on March 31, 2009


Thanks for the background on Stewart Lee everyone, I'll check him out.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:41 AM on March 31, 2009


Also, testament to MeFi Wire love that a fpp about what's coming up on tv stands

I know! I was kind of pushing it really, I know, but I tried to flesh it out a bit. I was just so happy, I had to post it, risk of derision or deletion be damned. But then Matt favorited it, and I knew all was well with the world. :)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2009


Indeed.
posted by Spatch at 7:51 AM on March 31, 2009


I think Lance Reddick would make an excellent Vulcan.

</apropos of nothing>
posted by Soliloquy at 9:24 AM on March 31, 2009



"and 4 had the most affecting characters - the kids, essentially, the heart of the Wire."


It's hard to pick just one season, but I agree that 3 & 4 were the seasons that really hit the hardest. I felt like I knew those kids by the time it was over - like I had a stake in what happened to them.

The ending was such genius- the whole cycle started all over again with the kids: Michael was the new Omar; his brother, Bug, was the new Michael, and so on and so on and so on. It took my breath and broke my heart.

Nothing I've ever seen on TV came anywhere close to The Wire.
posted by Tena at 9:24 AM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Did anyone catch Stringer Bell on The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency last night?"

Yes!
posted by Tena at 9:33 AM on March 31, 2009


Omar Little is like my favorite television character in the past decade.
And Brother Mouzone may be my least.


What could you possiby have against Brother Mouzone?

(I'm working my way through the series now - about halfway through season four)

I've decided that I am only interested in watching a show once it goes off the air. I'm all about the instant gratification of not having to wait to see what happens. Cliffhangers make me crazy.
posted by orville sash at 10:00 AM on March 31, 2009


What could you possiby have against Brother Mouzone?

I'm the same way on that. I thought his relation with Omar--someone he had any number of reasons to resent and despise--was one of the most honest and, strangely, ethical in the entire series.
posted by troybob at 10:23 AM on March 31, 2009


What could you possiby have against Brother Mouzone?

Because he belonged in a Quentin Tarantino movie and not the Wire?
posted by dolca at 1:38 PM on March 31, 2009


I too thought Mouzone was a bit hard to believe. On the other hand, the way his character developed in the later seasons won me over. And I suspect, like so many other oddities of the series, that there may be a fragment of street legend behind him.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:01 PM on March 31, 2009


Nice news story tangentially touching on The Wire.

Yeah, agreed, AdamCSnider, on both points.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:36 AM on April 1, 2009


Ah, ah, here would be that story. (editorial not straight up report)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:37 AM on April 1, 2009


I just watched the first two episodes of the Stewart Lee programme. Thanks again for the recommendation.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:23 PM on April 4, 2009


The Independent: "It is a contest whether the liberal press is more infatuated with Barack Obama or the television series, The Wire."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:16 PM on April 5, 2009


Here is a treat. Probably worthy of a FPP. David Simon is interviewed by Bill Moyers on his show, April 17, 2009
posted by dougzilla at 12:40 PM on April 21, 2009


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