Especially now that I've finished the second draft of my book and sent it out to its probable first round of rejections, my favorite thing to do is watch dead TV shows on DVD. First it was My So-Called Life, which I re-experienced, giddily, on Netflix. Now it's the Wire, which, being five or so seasons, is going to take me longer. I'd heard and ignored hype about this show for years, figuring it would be somewhere on the spectrum of Law and Order, Homicide, and the Sopranos: male-focused, testosterone-y cop drama with lots of posturing and blood-letting followed by snarky courtroom scenes. I could do without.
Only when someone whose artistic opinion I respect told me it was maybe better than the Sopranos did I finally decide to give it a chance. The first few episodes were fine, if a little rough, but to be fair, David Chase's folks didn't really get their act together immediately either. Around Disc 3 of Season 1, with the cohesion of the police group and the increased centrality of Omar, one of the more compelling "bad guys" I've seen on television, I realized I was really into it. And this clip, from an episode I haven't even seen yet, is a pretty good explication of why.