“The Wire” – Finally Got Through All 5 Seasons

the wire impressions

It took me a few years, but I finally got through all 5 seasons of HBO’s “The Wire”. The show ended it’s run in 2008, but seeing as how I never had HBO, I really never had the chance to watch it until a buddy of mine lent me the DVDs. It’s very unfortunate that you can’t get “The Wire” on blu-ray though *cough* *cough*. Before I started watching the show, I was told that it was one of the best TV shows to ever hit the small screen, so right away I had pretty high expectations. I had only been exposed to it through a few random clips of Omar I’d seen online and a few off references made during other TV shows. Other than that I really had no idea what the show was about other than a drug-run, corrupt city…

As a whole I really enjoyed the show. The only reason it took me so long to get through it all is because, 1. I didn’t even start watching it until like September of last year, and 2. Season 2 took me out of it for a while. But overall the whole storyline, the acting, the realism, everything about the show in general is amazing.

Now lets talk about the individual seasons briefly. If I had to rank the seasons from best to worst, it would probably look like this: 4, 1, 3, 5, 2. Season 1 was really good, it definitely got me hooked into the show and I blazed through the whole thing in about a week. It follows the Barksdale drug dealers as they setup shop on the corners of Baltimore while trying to avoid the police. Wire taps are setup as the cops try to build a case around the crew, but something always seems to slip through the cracks. You almost start to root for the drug dealers in some situations due to their ingenuity in ducking the cops all the time. You’d be surprised at how smart and sophisticated some of these drug operations are.

Season 2 is where I lost complete interest in the show for a while. Instead of following the Barksdale drug crew that we met in season 1, the show jumps ship, literally, and sends us over to the port of Baltimore as we follow a bunch of dock workers. Sticking with the corruption theme, these dock workers aren’t saints themselves. Stealing electronics and other things out of shipping containers and passing them off to the Greeks. There’s a bit of a sub-plot involving the Barksdale crew, but they are definitely not the main focus which really annoyed me. None of the dock workers were very likable, the storyline wasn’t as interesting as the drug dealing, and in general it was just annoying to get through. It seriously turned me off to the show because it took so much effort to actually get through the whole season, and once I finally did I really didn’t want to start season 3.

It took a little self-convincing, but I eventually started season 3 and I’m glad I did. Back with the Barksdale crew and the drug dealing, the storyline definitely got interesting and had one of the best season finale episodes I’ve seen in a while. It still took me a little while to get through the season because of the bad taste season 2 left in my mouth, but once I got through it I was back on board with the show.

Season 4 jumps to a new crew, Marlo Stanfield’s crew, after events in season 3 lead to a change in power. Still set in Baltimore, with the same cops on their tails, this new crew is extremely brutal. Along with being stone cold killers, they are smarter as well, which leads to the cops having to get a bit creative in how they approach the situation. Season 4 also throws a bit of politics into the mix as we follow the race for mayor in the city. Combine this with a former cop becoming a school teacher in the city and we’re shown how deep the politics and corruption of Baltimore really run.

Season 4 carries over into season 5 as we’re still following Marlo and his crew as they continue to run the drug game in Baltimore. The side story this season involves the Baltimore Sun and the manipulation of the media. The season as a whole was pretty good, there were a few things I would have rather not had happen, but I think they wrapped up the storylines all around pretty well, except the port workers season, which they never touched upon again. There was one little snippet in season 5 where they show the new mayor giving a speech at the docks and a couple of those characters from season 2 are standing in the background yelling at him, but that’s all we ever see of those guys. Season 2 really was just a waste of TV.

So do yourself a favor and give “The Wire” a watch. Don’t get discouraged by season 2 though because once you get through it, it’s all uphill from there. You’ll have a new found respect for the rest of the seasons and will definitely be left wanting more when it’s over. I think my toughest decision now is figuring out what to watch next, “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones”?