The Wire: Complete HBO Season 1-5
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Note: This DVD is designed to be played at an aspect ratio of 4:3.
The Wire Complete Box Set comes packaged in a black sleeve featuring all 60 episodes re-mastered on 24 discs. With special features including audio commentaries with writer/creator David Simon, director Clarke Johnson and writer George Pelacanos, Q&A sessions with the cast and crew and an hour long "behind the scenes" documentary.
One of television's most critically acclaimed programmes, The Wire addresses the seedy side of Baltimore’s finest looking into money, drugs, politics and murder. Told from the point of view of both the police and their targets, the series captures a universe of subterfuge and surveillance, where easy distinctions between good and evil, and crime and punishment, are challenged at every turn. A study on urban life in one of America’s toughest cities, each season of The Wire has focused on a different aspect of Baltimore, starting with the police force and the drug trade, then moving on to City Hall, the education system and concluding with the media.
The Wire is one of those programmes where the increasing number of people who seem to passionately recommend it are simply not wrong. For buried underneath a mountain of praise, and talk of it being one of the finest television shows of all time, is a staggering piece of work, one that slowly but surely takes a look at the many facets of the drugs trade, centred in the city of Baltimore.Series by series, we spend time with the cops, the dealers, the media, local politicians, the education system and more, as The Wire gives each careful treatment, and a three-dimensional portrayal. It also paints a picture of a city in real trouble, with Baltimore one of The Wire’s uncredited stars. But where the show really delivers is in the characters it creates and moulds, and the very real troubles and challenges each of them must face. The show’s detailed strokes are even more compelling than the broader picture it paints. Enhanced by a series of non-showy performances in front of the camera, and some immaculate writing behind, The Wire really is that proverbial real deal. It’s genuinely unpredictable (characters of all sizes find themselves ruthlessly bumped off when you least expect them to), fearless in its tackling of certain subjects, and is that very masterpiece that an increasing army of champions of The Wire suggest it is. The five series contained here are genuinely American television at its very finest, right through to the final scene. Mesmerising television. --Simon Brew
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Along the way we meet a wealth of memorable characters with stories to tell. (Personal favourite? The Ziggy tragedy in series 2). It takes time to get into it, as the stories build slowly. (I needed the subtitles switched on for many episodes.) But like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky it gives voice to some of the lowest people in their society, and finds that wise words can come from their mouths too.
It's a slow-burner and needs careful listening especially if your not from Baltimore as the accent is heavy going for a Brit. Well worth the effort in the end.
The casting is phenomenal, the characters are believable and they look like real people; the scripts and storylines are likewise faultless. The only regret I have is that I have watched it now and can't ever again experience the feeling of seeing this incredible show for the first time!
I found use of the subtitles helped to clarify speech which is US / Baltimore colloquial and sometimes fast paced, and I suggest it is watched when you are able to give the TV attention, you'll miss important plots and sub plots otherwise.
What makes this such a success for me includes the believable characters, believable plots, interesting plots and sub-plots, action, super intelligent story lines and the progressive unfolding of the plots and the tying up of all strands of the story - to name a few.
Get this, you won't be disappointed! Unfortunately I've been disappointed with everything else since as nothing else so far compares.
What makes The Wire unusual is that it's a cop show that refuses merely to be a cop show. It inhabits Baltimore in all its attributes. We see inside the local politics, the local media, community groups, the lives of the city's homeless people, the personal lives of its law enforcers, and above all the lives of its criminals. It's very brave and unusual to show us the criminal side of a community from the criminals' point of view, and The Wire is innovative in being so unflinching in depicting this. It's a far cry from the glossy world of, say, CSI.
It also has superb characters. The main one initially is McNulty (Dominic West), but in time you'll probably grow to love the technically skilled Freamon, stick-up man Omar, plain-spoken homicide detectives Bunk and Greggs, drugs kingpin Stringer Bell, addict Bubbles and the striving corner kids, among others. They offer an amazingly rich insight into the culture of a city that's struggling to come to terms with the 21st century.
The first four series are outstanding. In my opinion the fifth is less strong. But you will still want to see all five, and this box set contains some illuminating documentaries which reveal how The Wire came to be created.