January 09, 2008

The Wire - Fifth Season Link-O-Rama

Here in these parts, we love The Wire, HBO's series about crime and punishment in the mean streets of Baltimore, Maryland, also known as The Best Show on TelevisionTM. The show's creator, David Simon, makes Joss Whedon look like Aaron Spelling, and that's saying a lot, because Joss Whedon makes everyone who isn't David Simon look like Aaron Spelling.

The fifth and final season began airing last Sunday night. The occasion of the final season is marked by a great deal of ink (and magnetized ferrite) being put out in the media. Here is some of what I have been seeing:

In The New Yorker last October, Margaret Talbot's 11,000-word profile of David Simon, Stealing Life, looks at both The Wire and Simon's next project in development.

This Nick Hornby interview with David Simon appeared in the August 2007 issue of The Believer.

Slate has just reissued Meghan O'Rourke's 2006 interview with Simon, as well as Jacob Weisberg's analysis of the show, the one in which he called it the best TV show ever broadcast in America because it portray[s] the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature.

New York magazine has brief interviews with cast members, including Andre Royo (Bubbles), Michael K. Williams (Omar Little), and Jamie Hector (Marlo Stansfield).

Now appearing in The Atlantic is Mark Bowden's The Angriest Man in Television damns The Wire and David Simon with faint praise, going on to call the show a bleak fiction and Simon a hack.

"Bleak" is the epithet tossed around like a Karl Rove talking point by the show's detractors. The Bleakness of the Wire is the title of Reihan Salam's critique at at The American Scene. Salam wags his finger at Simon for portraying the situation in Baltimore as hopeless. Matthew Yglesias chimes in with David Simon and the Audacity of Despair: Fundamentally, I think [Simon's] vision of the bleak urban dystopia and its roots is counterproductive to advancing the values we hold dear. David Simon responds in the comments. At the blog Shadow of the Hegemon, Demosthenes raps Yglesias on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper

Lastly, HBO's Web site presents three videos of the backstory, episodes in the lives of some prominent characters -- Proposition Joe, Omar Little, and the first meeting between Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland.

Of course, if you like sipping from firehoses, you can find more at del.icio.us.

Posted by abostick at January 9, 2008 10:23 AM

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