Monday, January 12, 2009

The Wire....Best of 2008

Okay, I know I am late on The Wire. Everyone and their uncle has been telling me to watch this show and this Christmas Break, husband and I hunkered down with some DVD's and totally had our minds blown.

There are so many things to rave about with this show -- McNulty! Amazing! All the characters - totally real. Totally dimensional. Conflicted on every level, except a few and their being unconflicted is sort of a conflict in and of itself. And so initially, I'm thinking, WOW - so hard. You need really dramatic stakes for that to work, and actually - not true at all. It's part of that creating good characters thing, that I always back off of at some point. The Wire just commits to conflict, all the way.

The story telling is all about the details. ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS. The minutiae of this case is the plot - sure there are some murders thrown in, but day in and day out, it's the small details that create the stakes. All the stuff that as a writer, I yadda yadda, or totally blow off because I can't imagine anyone being interested in this stuff- the writers make paramount. And it's because the details MATTER - aren't just thrown in to show how authentic they can be - is why they work.

The dialogue - this is one of those shows that writes in vernacular. I have no clue what they are saying half the time - and it lends itself to urgency and again authenticity. But when it matters - when the characters really talk - the dialogue is no less authentic, no less grainy and gritty - but it's a tad more dramatic - actually really dramatic and it's freaking awesome!! Awesome!! And they get away with it because of all the time they put into the non-dramatic dialogue. At the end of the first season a cop gets shot and there are two incredible speeches made by two characters to McNulty. Incredible. Seriously - watching The Major and McNulty at the hospital gave me chills.

The turning points, the big ones are human. What makes the big arc work are the reactions these hardened cops and even harder bangers have to people. Plot moves along on details, but the plot CHANGES because of people.

It's good stuff.

6 comments:

Kwana said...

I have to get on The Wire. Like you, I'm late to the party.

Maureen McGowan said...

I've had this on my list from the DVD rental people FOREVER and they never send it to me. I can't wait to start watching this show.

Stephanie Doyle said...

FINALLY!!!! I told you you would love this. Although this means I have to go and find a way to watch Friday Night Lights from the beginning.

One word: Omar. Best written character ever.

And the speeches just get better. The only let down was the last season. If I had to do it all over again I would stop at 4.

Season 2 was my favorite.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Steph - first I thought, for some reason you were talking about Bubbles being the best written character ever and I was like...yeah, he was great. And then I realized who you were really talking about and it's like -- RIGHT! He was GREAT! Not a badly written character in the whole thing. But Omar - yes, amazing. And the cast. I thought Bubbles was the most well acted character -- just so bittersweet and sad. If you haven't watched this show and you're a writer -- Listen to Steph! So excited about the second season - we're starting it tonight!!!

Stephanie Doyle said...

Bubbles gets better. Omar gets better. Daniels gets better...

See where I'm going here. If you are reading this blog and you write - to me the WIRE is a must to understand how to create a character who is not fully good or fully bad.

You root for both the heros and the villans in this show equally as hard. It was so disconcerting to watch these gang/drug/violent people and think... I hope it really turns out for these guys... and then I was like no, no this wrong.

And did I say season 2? Season 4 is also my favorite.

Season 2 and Season 4. And Season and 3 and 1. Yep... all those are my favorite.

On a completely side note... The Brotherhood Book - excellent! Thank you for recommending. Understanding JR Ward and the process good stuff. The webstuff I skipped but her personal take on each book was great insight.

Megan Frampton said...

God, the Wire was, hands down, the best television ever. Better even than Deadwood, and I cried when that ended. Omar is amazing, Bubbles, Michael, Duquan--so, so many incredible characters. And it just gets better and better.

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