12 July 2010

The Wire (season 3)

Man, there's so much closure at the end of this season I almost don't want two more years... Season 1 felt a little like that. Season 2 definitely didn't, not in a meaningful way. I guess if Season 2 was there to show that each season could be a different case, a different set of problems within the same universe, then Season 3 is there to expand to higher levels of the hierarchy and at the same time, wrap up all those Season 1/Season 2 loose ends. A short and probably incomplete list of characters whose arcs came to a reasonable (or definitive) close at the end of the third season include major characters like Stringer Bell, Avon, Omar, McNulty, Daniels, Bunny Colvin, Commissioner Burrell, and Bubs, not to mention smaller players like Johnny, Brother Mouzone, Calcetti (or whoever; the white boy running for office, whose story is just starting but you could call this the competent wrapping up of that chapter if you had to), the boxing coach whose name escapes me now, and arguably even Bodie and Poot (the smallfry that used to run with D'Angelo). That's a hefty list of threads wrapped up. I guess Kima, Freamon, Carv, Herc, Prez, Beadie and Bunk all left without a strong wrap-up everything's-changed "closure" moment, but none of them (maybe Prez... and I guess you could make a case for Kima) feel like they have unfinished business ahead of them. (Yeah, I'm good with character names. So sue me.)

So I guess, knowing there's two years left, I'm looking forward to exactly what I was looking forward to from Season 2, which is an entirely new chapter in an even bigger and broader arena, and seeing how the threads and new beginnings from Season 3 play out as we move into Season 4. What I'm dreading is what I was quietly dreading after Season 2, which is the mostly-well-done-but-still-necessary-and-obvious shoehorn work to get all the players, spread out to the wind, back together again, "The Whole Gang Rounded Up For A New Adventure," which the show seems deadset to do fresh every season. I guess that's how policework goes, from case to case, but from a dramatic standpoint the first couple of episodes always feel like reshuffling playing cards and then explaining why I've got the same hand as last time, or damn close to.

Anyway, so far my verdict is obviously glowingly positive -- I'm definitely a lover of The Wire -- but I may have to take a controversial stance and say that, so far, though it'd fall in my top ten TV drama series, probably top five, it wouldn't be my #1 spot. So far it hasn't dethroned Deadwood, and though it's clearly, clearly a smarter and richer show, highbrow and all that, it's not quite as guilty-pleasure fun as Lost. But hey, it's got two years (thirty hours, give or take!) of story left, and that's plenty of time to sway my opinion, so I'm hopefully optimistic and staying open to the possibility of changing my position drastically. Here's hoping.

And I still love Omar best of all. As far as non-key players, it's all Omar and Bubs for my money.

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