There are a few absolutely remarkable series (often coming from HBO) but "The Wire" stands in a category of itself. It is purely and simply a masterpiece of the visual arts, rich in so many ways that structuring a comment requires an effort.
At the beginning is the concept of a serie dealing with police - mob relationships in the style that could be called absolute realism, including the broader context of the American society. Viewing this has more efficiency than reading 100 PhDs on the American urban society (and frankly - pace to PhDs' writers - is a little bit more entertaining). This should be mandatory viewing for each candidate mayor in a big city, to enligthen the difficulty of guaranteeing security and fighting against drugs.
After this comes the script, incredibly sophisticated. Each season goes in a sligthly different direction, and this increases the global power of the serie. In each season, there are ten different intrigues, which sometimes converge according to the logic of individual behaviour and sometimes diverge again. Each character is provided with his/her own pulsions, contradictions, falls. And this is done without losing - ever - the viewer's attention, which is a narrative miracle.
Then come the dialogs. Sharp, raw, sometimes highly cynical. The political sequences are absolutely amazing from this point of view.
Then come the settings, remarkably authentical. One needs to see how the discovery of slum houses is visually subtle (angle, light, colors, objects).
And finally come the actors. The competition in excellence between them is so tough that it is impossible to isolate one of them. One thinks about some characters long after having turned the television off. The power of the young actors is especially mesmerizing. They never overact, which must be difficult at their age and with such characters.
In conclusion, the more one sees this serie, the more one gets the impression that it will appear in the future decades as an essential stage in the history of television. Its creators can rightly feel proud.