Son of The Wire


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

Related Post Roulette

6 Responses

  1. North says:

    Also there’s a risk/reward calculus going on too. If you try to make the Wire and you miss you have pretty much a crap show noone will watch. If you aim for lower denominators you have better odds of collecting a tolerable less discerning audience.Report

  2. Michael Drew says:

    No one ever created anything great by starting with the stated aim, “I’m setting out to create something as great as _______.” Art has to succeed, to whatever extent it can, on its own terms.

    Not to mention the simple fallacy of expecting that another great television show be produced in immediate succession to a just-concluded great television show. If there were always a “great” show on television, how great would any of those shows really be, by definition? How often do we expect greatness to come around? It can’t be too often beyond a certain point, or else the concept just dissolves in your hand.

    Ah, decline…Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I think that the novelty of a writer going where the story takes him or her (as opposed to a writer saying “I WANT TO MAKE THIS PARTICULAR POINT!”) is something that does not happen anywhere near enough.

    Steven King put it something like this (and I’m going to slaughter what he said):
    There are two experiences I have when I write. One is building something. The other is excavating something. Building something is a chore. Excavating something is exciting.

    Yeah, I slaughtered that. The point was that when the writer goes where the story and characters take him, it’s far more interesting and exciting for him than when he goes from A, to B, to C.

    I can’t help but wonder whether that excitement wouldn’t carry over into the finished work for the reader as well.

    Another example would be Joss Whedon’s writing on Firefly. I believe that Whedon has admitted to being a pinko in his personal life… but when he was writing the story for Firefly, he couldn’t get away from the Libertarian thing. He went where the story and the characters took him and it resulted in surprisingly good television.

    From what I’ve pieced together from folks talking about it, I reckon The Wire is the same way.Report

  4. Tyler says:

    Also – it’s really comparing apples and oranges.

    Mad Men, Dexter, and Big Love are shows about humanity and human interaction, The Wire was about how humanity is affected by huge institutions. Necessarily, the former is more intimate, smaller in scope, but delves much more deeply into character.

    So, for instance, to compare Dexter to The Wire, structurally, I think is a mistake. That it’s not sprawling in terms of scope isn’t terrible if you think about how it explores (self)identity and human interactions. Sure, it could do both. But it’s ambition is different, not less than.

    What is striking to me about Dexter is how Dexter Morgan is really an unreliable narrator, someone who is meant to be viewed with skepticism (if warmly or sympathetically). It may be the finest show with an unreliable narrator. That’s no small feat.Report

    • Will in reply to Tyler says:

      Eh, I think Mad Men and Big Love are intimately connected to two pretty important institutions. Namely: the nuclear family and the corporation (or the workplace, if you’d prefer).Report

  5. bcg says:

    I always thought the Wire was a tier below Sopranos and Breaking Bad, but above pulp shows like Dexter and House. I watched the whole series, but it always felt kind of forced to me – it never felt like they just let these characters go in the world they set up.Report