Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Recognizing "The Wire" and its revolutionary approach

I joke with JILL that watching the first season of "THE WIRE" on DVD before our upcoming trip to BALTIMORE serves an important purpose:
It shows us the areas to avoid.
Seriously, though, watching the landmark crime drama set in Charm City is both fueling my anticipation for next week's trip as well as increasing my appreciation for what the show's producers were able to accomplish.
As Gary Edgerton and Jeffrey Jones wrote in "The Essential HBO Reader," the series:
"... was a direct assault against that most venerable of TV genres, the cop show, with the goal quite literally to explode the creaky, hidebound world of prime-time crime and law enforcement from within. Gone would be the stalwart cop, able to thwart, sometimes single-handedly, the continuous eruptions of violence and illegal activity from the bowels of the city. Banished also would be the one-hour solutions and easy, triumph-of-justice explanations carted out at the end of each episode to mollify viewers with the reassurance that their world was not spinning wildly out of control."
I never watched "The Wire" during its original run -- I never paid that much attention to HBO.
I am loving my introduction to the show this week.
I appreciate that the show focuses an almost equal amount of attention to the lawbreakers -- the members of the Barksdale drug-dealing crew. The effect fleshes out a group of characters typically portrayed as one-dimensional villains in other crime dramas.
The politically motivated, often brutal police get a new look, too, thanks to "The Wire."
Here's another production detail I love about "The Wire:"
The music is also diegetic, meaning the only music we hear is the music heard by the characters as well.
It's the type of filmmaking approach that emphasizes realism -- of which there seems to be plenty in "The Wire."


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