The Wire was made by HBO an american cable network. By being on cable HBO avoids the censorship and popularism that makes much of the american TV that we receive bland (if polished), this has allowed it to create series of the quality of the Sopranos and Deadwood. The Wire has failed to "break out" in the way that those series have and was only shown on FX289, a little watched SKY channel, in the UK. This does The Wire a grave injustice as it is arguably superior to either of the aforementioned shows as it possesses an ensemble cast as strong as either of them with fantastic performances from Idris Elba and Andre Royo among others. However, it is in plot that The Wire surpasses any other show I can recall, most detective shows are episodic containing one or two crimes at the start of the hour that are solved in the last 5 minutes. The Wire breaks this mould following a team of detectives trying to catch Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell two dealers who control the drug trade in East Baltimore over a whole series rather than an episode. This perhaps accounts for The Wire's lack of success on TV as one missed episode means you fail to see the jigsawlike case completed and fully understand what happens. The show is also unusual in that it shifts perspective between the police, criminals and addicts and in doing so becomes more than a CSI style whodunnit, and more a show about institutions and the people within them. In short the most fantastically clever thing on telly.