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Subject: "Bringin Up Old Shit, pt 532: Why didnt The Wire find an audience?" Previous topic | Next topic
scorpion
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Wed Feb-25-09 12:30 PM

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"Bringin Up Old Shit, pt 532: Why didnt The Wire find an audience?"


  

          

I'm sure that this has been discussed ad infinitum round these parts...

but I'd like to hear what other Wire fans think....

mind you Im smack dab in the middle of S4, so no spoilers if you can....

I'll share if you share(though some might not like what i got to say....

side note: Am I the only who thinks that Sonja Sohn's acting got better as the show progressed?...cuz I thought her acting in S1 was godawful...


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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
it requires patience and attention to detail to enjoy.
Feb 25th 2009
1
Slow, depressing, not episodic at all
Feb 25th 2009
2
^^^Underrated reply
Feb 25th 2009
48
Nailed it...
Feb 28th 2009
63
no popular actors is a reason
Feb 25th 2009
3
Better yet, lack of a main character
Feb 25th 2009
22
Stuff like this is more along my lines of thinking
Feb 25th 2009
36
There are tons of successful ensemble shows
Feb 25th 2009
42
Who did The Sopranos have? X-Files? CSI? Entourage?
Feb 26th 2009
51
      RE: Who did The Sopranos have? X-Files? CSI? Entourage?
Feb 28th 2009
62
I guess I have some problems
Feb 25th 2009
4
this is part of my theory
Feb 25th 2009
5
      okay but a lot of stuff has a rabid core audience
Feb 25th 2009
8
           Those are all network shows that rely on ratings
Feb 25th 2009
11
           RE: okay but a lot of stuff has a rabid core audience
Feb 25th 2009
13
race had to play a part
Feb 25th 2009
6
*DING*
Feb 25th 2009
7
So you knew the answer to the question when you posed it.
Feb 25th 2009
9
      I said I had a THEORY.....which I would share later...
Feb 25th 2009
10
           I just made a statement, that's all.
Feb 25th 2009
12
                *extends hand*
Feb 25th 2009
16
                     Right on
Feb 25th 2009
17
                          Yr right
Feb 25th 2009
18
UNDERRATED AND UNDERSTATED REPLY OF THE YEAR!
Feb 25th 2009
38
yeah because black people aren't money makers.
Feb 25th 2009
47
      so the exceptions disqualify the rule?
Feb 26th 2009
52
take another glance my friend
Feb 25th 2009
45
Too realistically hood and working class. Too Baltimore
Feb 25th 2009
14
yeah, the pretty factor wasn't huge on that show
Feb 25th 2009
15
the Sopranos wasnt a "sexy" cast, either...
Feb 25th 2009
19
yeah, that chick's titties were right. i need to look her up
Feb 26th 2009
54
this is depressing
Feb 25th 2009
20
you can say the exact same things about The Sopranos
Feb 25th 2009
21
      The difference...
Feb 25th 2009
23
           I disagree
Feb 25th 2009
25
                i'd say that the sopranos was still fairly escapist, in a different way
Feb 25th 2009
28
                     *DING*
Feb 25th 2009
29
                     Cosign
Feb 25th 2009
30
                     Absolutely. But I still don't think it's a soap opera
Feb 25th 2009
31
                          i never said it was a soap opera
Feb 25th 2009
32
it was too real.
Feb 25th 2009
24
It's also a very angry show.
Feb 25th 2009
26
I am going to go out on a limb
Feb 25th 2009
27
      I think The Wire taps into a similar infatuation though
Feb 25th 2009
33
           it wasn't simple voyeurism though. That might've been the problem.
Feb 25th 2009
35
           Cosign.
Feb 25th 2009
37
                RE: Cosign.
Feb 26th 2009
53
most of you guys already touched on it...
Feb 25th 2009
34
^^^summarized my long ass post in 4 sentences^^^
Feb 25th 2009
40
aight, the reasons....
Feb 25th 2009
39
trust me son. you're JUST Getting started...
Feb 25th 2009
43
I think some of you are reading to deeply
Feb 25th 2009
41
good point.
Feb 25th 2009
44
      Yeah, but....
Feb 25th 2009
46
Ya'll are looking too deep into it.
Feb 25th 2009
49
yep, that's part of it.
Feb 26th 2009
50
I heard that Deadwood and Rome did better #'s
Feb 26th 2009
55
"Rome" was awesome though.
Feb 28th 2009
60
Her acting was godawful throughout
Feb 26th 2009
56
"Kima, when did you realize you wanted to be a cop?"
Feb 26th 2009
57
"...and he threw down the bracelets..." <-----TERRIBLE
Feb 28th 2009
59
LOL i forgot about that part of it
Feb 28th 2009
64
Just newly getting into The Wire and I totally thought
May 31st 2020
65
Jemele Hill and Van Lathan have a podcast on The Wire
Jun 10th 2020
66
Did an OKP score the music for this ep?
Jun 11th 2020
68
her speech patterns bothered me the most....
Feb 28th 2009
58
it did find an audience during seasons 4 and 5
Feb 28th 2009
61
The Wire and Sopranos are great shows that would not at all work today.
Jun 11th 2020
67
i dunno man. when the Sopranos came out there were NO shows like it
Jun 12th 2020
69
It didn't find an audience? People literally come to Baltimore from
Jun 16th 2020
70
you realize this post is 11 years old? A LOT has changed
Jun 16th 2020
71
      I have lived in Baltimore the entire time it was filmed
Jun 17th 2020
74
This looks comical when these white drug shows win everything
Jun 16th 2020
72
Netflix has made things very different
Jun 17th 2020
73

now or never
Member since Oct 27th 2004
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Wed Feb-25-09 12:41 PM

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1. "it requires patience and attention to detail to enjoy."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

your average lost/law and order/desperate housewives/american idol watcher aint tryin to wait a whole season or three for them to catch one group of criminals

that and it's just too real/depressing for niggas

-----
No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. (c) HL Mencken or some other motherfucker.

i be bloggin'
www.prettydamndope.com

  

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SoulHonky
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Wed Feb-25-09 12:42 PM

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2. "Slow, depressing, not episodic at all"
In response to Reply # 0


          

In terms of getting an audience, The Shield was a better formatted show because they had the season long storylines but also threw in a episode specific story to keep people interested. The Sopranos also would have episodic stories or smaller three episode arcs to help keep viewers' attention.

Also, a lot of people don't want to watch an hour of TV that makes them depressed for the next day or so.

----
NBA MOCK DRAFT #1 - https://thecourierclass.com/whole-shebang/2017/5/18/2017-nba-mock-draft-1-just-lotto-and-lotta-trades

  

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Marauder21
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48. "^^^Underrated reply"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

------

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XBL: trkc21
Twitter: @tyrcasey

  

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simpsycho
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63. "Nailed it..."
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

You have to watch the entire season to anything to be resolved and the payoff was never very satisfying. The cops may catch a couple bad guys, but at the end of the day they always wind up right back where they started. I can only think of a couple characters that came close to having a happy ending.

  

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Deebot
Member since Oct 21st 2004
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Wed Feb-25-09 12:46 PM

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3. "no popular actors is a reason"
In response to Reply # 0


          

  

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chap19150
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22. "Better yet, lack of a main character"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

McNulty was the primary character but you could have a
entire arc of episodes without him and not miss him.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chap19150/

  

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buckshot defunct
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36. "Stuff like this is more along my lines of thinking"
In response to Reply # 22


  

          

I can't speak on whether or not the show found an audience but I do acknowledge that it's a challenging piece of work. I think a lot of that has to do with a more novelistic approach towards TV writing and the lack of a recognizable 'hook' to pull people in. You kind of have to want to like the show before you can get into it. And once you do, it's immensely rewarding, but not a lot of people are used to approaching a TV show with that kind of mentality.

-----------------------------
http://talestosuffice.com/
@kennykeil

  

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bignick
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42. "There are tons of successful ensemble shows"
In response to Reply # 22


  

          

  

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zuma1986
Member since Dec 18th 2006
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Thu Feb-26-09 12:34 AM

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51. "Who did The Sopranos have? X-Files? CSI? Entourage?"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

  

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disco dj
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62. "RE: Who did The Sopranos have? X-Files? CSI? Entourage?"
In response to Reply # 51


  

          

>


The Sopranos had the "Mafia/Crime Story" element. To the viewers, it was sorta like watching "The Godfather" as a Soap Opera.

"The X-Files" was Science Fiction at its finest. that's ANOTHER built-in fanbase. Nerds are die-hard fans.

and Entourage plays into the whole (wannabe) Celebrity Culture, not to mention a ridiculous amount of Guest Stars.


so basically, those shows didn't have to really work hard to be successful. they had a loyal niche audience. ( The Sopranos was a huge mainstream hit either way...)



______________



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janey
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4. "I guess I have some problems"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

figuring out why we always say it didn't have an audience. It went FIVE seasons. If it had no audience, wouldn't it have had a much shorter life?

I think the thing that sets this show apart is that the episodes don't stand alone. The story isn't wrapped up neatly at the end of the hour. And I think that has put some people off. Plus there's no clear demarcation between right & wrong, good guys & bad guys, and I think the majority of viewers want to turn their brains off when they turn the television on.

But I still dispute the "no audience" theory.

~ ~ ~

Grrrrrr Tatiana

  

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scorpion
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5. "this is part of my theory"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

>figuring out why we always say it didn't have an audience.
>It went FIVE seasons. If it had no audience, wouldn't it have
>had a much shorter life?

it went five seasons because it had a rabid, core audience...and Im sure the prod. and HBO knew they wer making one of the best shows on television...

but compared to stuff like Sopranos, and CYE...The Wire did small numbers...

>Plus there's no clear demarcation between right & wrong,
>good guys & bad guys, and I think the majority of viewers want
>to turn their brains off when they turn the television on.

I think Americans want white/black hats, cowboy/indian as far as shows abt crime go....

the character with the strictest morals on the show is a homosexual ruthless feared stick up artist...and I think it's very hard for some Americans to wrap their head around that...

*******
Sinister Beauty - the new album
2/14/09

www.windimoto.com - now

www.myspace.com/windimotomusic

  

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janey
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8. "okay but a lot of stuff has a rabid core audience"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

and gets cancelled in the middle of its first season.

Freaks & Geeks.

Firefly (1 season? I can't remember).

Wonderfalls.

Veronica Mars only had 3 seasons and I think it had a pretty big audience.

~ ~ ~

Grrrrrr Tatiana

  

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ZooTown74
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11. "Those are all network shows that rely on ratings"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

HBO is under no such pressure, they don't have to rely on Nielsen ratings because they don't have advertisers to answer to

If they cancel a show, it's most likely because creatively, it's not going in a direction that is compelling enough to continue

Or it's becoming too expensive to continue producing the show
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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Brother_Afron
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Wed Feb-25-09 02:13 PM

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13. "RE: okay but a lot of stuff has a rabid core audience"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

>and gets cancelled in the middle of its first season.
>
>Freaks & Geeks.
>
>Firefly (1 season? I can't remember).
>
>Wonderfalls.
>
>Veronica Mars only had 3 seasons and I think it had a pretty
>big audience.
>

Network TV and Cable are very different standards in regards to ratings. The top 20 network TV shows last week ranged from 36-11 million viewers. The top rated cable shows ranged from 7-3 million.

The HBO execs said that they kept the Wire on as long as they did because it garnered a level of critical praise that the station needed. The Sci-fi channel did the same with Battlestar Gallactica.

Fun is the new gritty

  

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MadDagoNH
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6. "race had to play a part"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

What was the cast, 75% black? 65%?

How many white people really watch shows they perceive to be 'black' shows? At first glance, I can see that turning people off.

And other than that, agree with everyone else about it being something you had to put the time into and really, be willing to think about it, a lot. I know this much, I only recommend this show to people I find intelligent or at the very least willing to watch something different. So far, every person I've recommended it for is blown away by it.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Hobey Wilson


2006-07 Zeno Memorial League Champion

  

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scorpion
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7. "*DING*"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          


*******
Sinister Beauty - the new album
2/14/09

www.windimoto.com - now

www.myspace.com/windimotomusic

  

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ZooTown74
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9. "So you knew the answer to the question when you posed it."
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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scorpion
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10. "I said I had a THEORY.....which I would share later..."
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

calm down, man...

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2/14/09

www.windimoto.com - now

www.myspace.com/windimotomusic

  

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ZooTown74
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12. "I just made a statement, that's all."
In response to Reply # 10
Wed Feb-25-09 02:05 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

Any projections regarding a lack of "calm" aren't coming from this direction.
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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scorpion
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16. "*extends hand*"
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

Its cool, bro...

But although race is part of my theory, it is only ONE part...cats are bringin up some good points in this post...

  

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ZooTown74
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17. "Right on"
In response to Reply # 16
Wed Feb-25-09 03:31 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

>cats are bringin up some good points in this post...

Oh, absolutely... let's keep the discussion going...

I would just add that this show wouldn't have lasted 6 episodes on network television... even if you have one of the TV God showrunners executing it, like a Steven Bochco, or a David E. Kelley, cats who have a lot of stroke in the TV game... it's just too dense a story that requires too much patience, not only from the audience, but from advertisers who undoubtedly would have wanted more gun battles and sex...

On the other hand, this show could have easily found a home on a basic cable network like FX (which, like HBO, doesn't rely on ratings and advertiser dollars... they also get their money from the cable companies)... I mean, if FX can have a show that has featured all of the bawdy wildness of a Nip/Tuck (where last night's episode featured a man who had sex with furniture, and we saw his bare ass on a couple of occasions), and the grittiness of The Shield, then this show would have been right at home...
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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scorpion
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18. "Yr right"
In response to Reply # 17


  

          

This show would be dead on nwork tv....even w/ a cat like Bocho or Kelley behind it(JJ Abrams has taken the mojo from both them cats)

Both guys would have upped the sex quotient...

However I think premium cable would be the only place for the show due to the subject matter
...

The thing we dig abt it is the fact that it holds nothing back and is one of the more realistic shows out there...

Artistically cutting away from a drug execution wouldn't serve the tone of this show....

*******
Sinister Beauty - the new album
2/14/09

www.windimoto.com - now

www.myspace.com/windimotomusic

  

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Basaglia
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38. "UNDERRATED AND UNDERSTATED REPLY OF THE YEAR!"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          


race was THE reason it didn't find an audience. anyone who says otherwise is a pollyanna jackass.

____________________________________________________


Steph: I was just fooling about

Kyrie: I wasn't.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8OWNspU_yE

  

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al_sharp
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47. "yeah because black people aren't money makers."
In response to Reply # 38


  

          

okay, player.


<--- AVY!!! PHILLY!!! COME!!!

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will_5198
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52. "so the exceptions disqualify the rule?"
In response to Reply # 47


  

          

okay that

--------

  

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mashpg89
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45. "take another glance my friend"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/03/09/85-the-wire/

  

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mrhood75
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14. "Too realistically hood and working class. Too Baltimore"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Characters spoke in heavy slang which was rarely explained. Plus, even with the white characters, there wasn't a lot for the casual watcher to latch on to. Take Season 2: it still got the highest ratings of any season, but it was all about dock workers and the death of American industry. Not something Hollywood can really relate to.

Then there's the casting: especially on the "good guys" side, they weren't a lot of "pretty" people that they could market to People Magazine. Cops and judges tended to look like actual cops and judges.

Plus, at the end of the day the show was about the fate of the city and urban decay. Sure, there were over-arching issues each season, but nothing ever got neatly resolved before moving on to the next season.

-----------------

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Checkin' Our Style, Return To Zero:

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MadDagoNH
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15. "yeah, the pretty factor wasn't huge on that show"
In response to Reply # 14
Wed Feb-25-09 03:01 PM by MadDagoNH

  

          

I mean, Idris Elba, Dom West, Callie Thorne, Nicky Sobotka's beautiful breasted girlfriend, Sonja Sohn, girl who played Shardene, girl who played Donette...other than that, was there anyone who regularly appeared* who I'm really missing?



*I know Nicky's girl was in like two eps, but goddamn, those tits.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Hobey Wilson


2006-07 Zeno Memorial League Champion

  

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scorpion
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Wed Feb-25-09 04:16 PM

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19. "the Sopranos wasnt a "sexy" cast, either..."
In response to Reply # 15


  

          


*******
Sinister Beauty - the new album
2/14/09

www.windimoto.com - now

www.myspace.com/windimotomusic

  

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THEdirtyone
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54. "yeah, that chick's titties were right. i need to look her up"
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

also, the broad that played Theresa D'agostino, the political strategist that was fucking McNulty. I wanted to jump into the screen whenever i saw her.

You know, we could all be reading a book right now.

  

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k_orr
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20. "this is depressing"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

>Take Season 2: it still got
>the highest ratings of any season,

  

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chap19150
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21. "you can say the exact same things about The Sopranos"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

just replace Baltimore with North Jersey

>Characters spoke in heavy slang which was rarely explained.
>Plus, even with the white characters, there wasn't a lot for
>the casual watcher to latch on to. Take Season 2: it still got
>the highest ratings of any season, but it was all about dock
>workers and the death of American industry. Not something
>Hollywood can really relate to.
>
>Then there's the casting: especially on the "good guys" side,
>they weren't a lot of "pretty" people that they could market
>to People Magazine. Cops and judges tended to look like actual
>cops and judges.
>
>Plus, at the end of the day the show was about the fate of the
>city and urban decay. Sure, there were over-arching issues
>each season, but nothing ever got neatly resolved before
>moving on to the next season.

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scorpion
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23. "The difference..."
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

but the Sopranos on some soap opera shit...there was very loose basis in reality on that show...far more escapist than The Wire


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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
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25. "I disagree"
In response to Reply # 23
Wed Feb-25-09 05:10 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

The focus of The Sopranos might have been a little more on the psychology of a man who had work-related and family-related stresses, but it wasn't any less "real" than The Wire

Although one could argue that the family-related stress of one's own mother trying to have them killed is unrealistic, but that was only the first 2 seasons of the show, as they shifted to more of a focus on Tony's relationships with his family and the people he "works" with; his occupation just so happened to be mob boss

This concept may or may not be more comfortable for white folks to deal with (I mean, who can't relate to family issues and work issues)... maybe it was a more personal, palatable reality than the street reality of The Wire?

I'm always encouraging anyone who will listen to watch the highly underrated season 4... not to see who did or didn't get "whacked," but to note the interpersonal dynamics of that season, especially Tony and Carmela's marriage (and the very notion of marriage and marriage as a business) in the context of a post-9/11 world...
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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now or never
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28. "i'd say that the sopranos was still fairly escapist, in a different way"
In response to Reply # 25


  

          

not because it was unrealistic
but because 1) they were wealthy, so in that sense it carries a similar appeal to more mainstream shows that focus on rich people and their problems like say a "dallas" or "dynasty" or soap operas like dude above mentioned
and because 2) it played into the american mafia obsession that most people that most people's only experience with is in great american films.

also even though it was often as brutal and violent as the wire, it's a little less unsettling for broader, whiter audiences because they're white and they aren't judging it in the same way as they would a buncha niggas in the projects selling drugs. it's ok to root for tony because he's kinda like the tough guy you wanted to be, but it's not ok to root for avon or stringer or marlo if society has told you your whole life that these guys are public enemy #1.


-----
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scorpion
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29. "*DING*"
In response to Reply # 28


  

          


>
>also even though it was often as brutal and violent as the
>wire, it's a little less unsettling for broader, whiter
>audiences because they're white and they aren't judging it in
>the same way as they would a buncha niggas in the projects
>selling drugs. it's ok to root for tony because he's kinda
>like the tough guy you wanted to be, but it's not ok to root
>for avon or stringer or marlo if society has told you your
>whole life that these guys are public enemy #1.

  

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Futakuchi-onna
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30. "Cosign"
In response to Reply # 28


  

          

Thats exactly the case between the two shows.

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ZooTown74
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Wed Feb-25-09 06:32 PM

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31. "Absolutely. But I still don't think it's a soap opera"
In response to Reply # 28
Wed Feb-25-09 06:36 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

Especially when you go beyond the first two seasons, which were focused on Tony's mom trying to have him whacked

There's no ongoing narrative, like a soap opera. And yes, the show plays into the American obsession with mobsters, but it also subverts it as it goes along. It plays into America's fantasies with violence, sex, and power, but then goes a step further by subverting those obsessions, by not neatly paying off storylines or NOT making sure people we don't like get what's coming to them. If it went in that direction, it would have made it a soap opera, which is certainly is not.

To say that The Sopranos is a soap opera is to compare a character like Tony Soprano to J.R. Ewing. And anyone with a brain can see that they're not remotely in the same category of character. And just because it's "safer" for white audiences (which I also don't agree with) than The Wire doesn't make it a soap opera, either. I know we want to point fingers at white folks and get mad at them for not watching this story (at least at first), but cmon.

Soap operas do nothing more than play into American fantasies. Shows like The Sopranos go out of their way to subvert those fantasies, and that's the difference... The Wire announced itself as not being a soap opera (or soap opera-like) from jump.
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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now or never
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32. "i never said it was a soap opera"
In response to Reply # 31


  

          

i said it had a similar appeal (from a upper class fascination standpoint) and that helped make it more escapist.
it's leaps and bounds beyond a soap opera, that's obvious.
i'm speaking to the point of realism and and escapism in comparing the wire and the sopranos
to be honest i think the wire is as escapist for black people who come from the suburbs and watch it as the sopranos is for white people who are lower to middle class and watch it
but in terms of helping to explain why the audience for the wire wasn't as large, there's an escapism that the sopranos provides that is more comfortable for a larger group of people than the wire's audience.

-----
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SoWhat
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24. "it was too real."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

well, i should say it felt too real. i don't know how real it actually was b/c i'm not from Baltimore.

but as scorp just said...it wasn't an escapist show. it wasn't fantasy. it exposed real world, real life issues and didn't offer many resolutions. too many storylines had messy, imcomplete endings (like real life). there wasn't enough closure. it was a very uncomfortable and uncomforting show to watch.

fuck you.

  

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ZooTown74
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26. "It's also a very angry show."
In response to Reply # 24
Wed Feb-25-09 05:13 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

It doesn't reward viewers with "everything's going to be okay" platitudes, especially as the seasons draw to a close...

I know cats here like to shit on season 2 cause of all the white folks who were on it, but I think the point Simon and company were making was that they're as much a part of the decline of this country as much as the dope dealer on the street...

It actually surprises me when people forget that the thesis of the show is the decline/death of the American working class institutions in the face of The Corporate/Political Institution, as if drug dealers, kids in the hood, and the cops who love them are the only ones who have a stake in things...
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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Futakuchi-onna
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27. "I am going to go out on a limb"
In response to Reply # 24


  

          

but because it exposed how every facet of life turned its back on the black community in bmore was a big reason. Most people that are not minorities have a problem seeing that in their face.

It was too real, so much so that I had a hard time with it when the show ended and you knew shit was just going to go bad. But that is what I loved about the show it showed the crust of life in America. That its not all about waving flags, etc. That there is a bad side of it.

While I also loved the Sopranos, it glorified criminal activity even when it showed how things could go wrong. It tapped into the infatuation with the italian mob - ala the godfather, etc, etc.

Besides "Homicide Life - On the Streets" there was not reference point for this show. And remember that show was criticaly acclaimed with also low viewership.

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buckshot defunct
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33. "I think The Wire taps into a similar infatuation though"
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

Not so much for anything the show did, but just by virtue of the fact that we are all infatuated to some degree with crime and violence. And for that reason I would also say that The Wire is very much escapism. Because the 'realer' a story feels, the easier it is to escape into. Not that you'd necessarily *want* to be there yourself, but anytime a story can draw you out of your own life and into new worlds, that's a kind of escapism.

I'm thinking this argument is wrongheaded from the beginning because the show obviously did find an audience. And a lot of the reasons being presented here don't hold up to much scrutiny. If The Wire failed to reach viewers because of race, realness, or just a bleak and cynical outlook on life in general, then how is it that hip hop is a billion dollar industry?

-----------------------------
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@kennykeil

  

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disco dj
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35. "it wasn't simple voyeurism though. That might've been the problem."
In response to Reply # 33


  

          

it's easy to realize that Ice Cube and Too $hort were talkin' a lot of shit.

But when you see Bubbles desparately trying to kick or McNulty drinking too much and destroying his family in the process,or a corner boy lying there in a pool of blood, it ain't fun anymore...



______________



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ZooTown74
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37. "Cosign."
In response to Reply # 33
Wed Feb-25-09 07:32 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

I mean, if you ask most cats about their favorite seasons of The Wire, more than a few will completely skip over season 2. And why is that? Because it's not focused as much on "life on the corner" as seasons 1, 3, and 4 were. Some people claim that's "more relatable," but I also believe there are a lot of folks who are watching just for the sex and violence in the hood.

I also just think it's too simplistic to say "well, this show didn't have an audience solely because the white folks in the suburbs wanted soap opera escapist entertainment (like The Sopranos) and The Wire was too real and gritty to them"

There's much more to it, and it completely ignores the notion that there are white folks who tuned into the series after it was over on DVD

I mean, let's just mention how HBO dropped the promotional ball on the show during those first 3 seasons

Let's talk about the uncertain scheduling and the quiet promos that aired whenever the series was about to return (at least for the first 3 seasons)

Let's discuss how HBO didn't send out season screeners to Television Academy voters, just doled out episodes 1 at a time (at least for the first 3 seasons)

Let's talk about the fact that Simon and Burns didn't even know from season to season if they would be able to continue... how can you get the word out about a show that you don't know will still be in production?

I hate to be the Alan Keyes of this post, but the reasoning here is too simplistic for me... not to say that white indifference wasn't *one* factor, but it wasn't the only one (and we know, "but we mentioned other shit like the dense and difficult storytelling," but that's not really what's being focused on here)...
________________________________________________________________________
Until next time, America.

  

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Brother_Afron
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Thu Feb-26-09 08:28 AM

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53. "RE: Cosign."
In response to Reply # 37


  

          

>I mean, if you ask most cats about their favorite seasons of
>The Wire, more than a few will completely skip over season 2.
>And why is that? Because it's not focused as much on "life on
>the corner" as seasons 1, 3, and 4 were. Some people claim
>that's "more relatable," but I also believe there are a lot of
>folks who are watching just for the sex and violence in the
>hood.
>>>

Yup. That definitely came across in any thread about the Wire that I've ever read.

>I also just think it's too simplistic to say "well, this show
>didn't have an audience solely because the white folks in the
>suburbs wanted soap opera escapist entertainment (like The
>Sopranos) and The Wire was too real and gritty to them"
>>>>

Co-signing this too. It's too easy to say that race was the main reason white folk didn't watch it, but fuck it, let's say that's true. Okay, now why didn't black people watch it? 30 million of us in the US and the show was averaging 1.5 million viewers. Now what?


Fun is the new gritty

  

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disco dj
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34. "most of you guys already touched on it..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

but I think Middle America ( read: mofo's in Kansas/Iowa/Nebraska) had a hard time understanding how and why cats like Avon/Marlo/Stringer/Omar get down...


AND the cops and politicians are just as bad.

So for the folks in suburbia, who have been brought up to think a certain way, it's hard to decipher.


long story short, Big City folks understand it, the rest of the world doesn't.


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scorpion
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40. "^^^summarized my long ass post in 4 sentences^^^"
In response to Reply # 34


  

          


*******
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scorpion
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39. "aight, the reasons...."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Americans, on a whole, are very purtianical psychologically...

Morally, we seem to have a split personality...we are openly fascinated with sex and violence but at the same time have ridiculously staunch judgmental standards...

We flock to movies, television, and music that peddle sex and violence in copious amounts but when it happens in real life we see it in a very black and white way...we are outraged by the baring of Janet Jackson's breast and we cant handle the sight of a penis(it must NEVER be erect)on-screen but we love to strip our vixens and consume pornography in enormous amounts...we vehemently condemn people who indulge in certain behaviors and chalk it up to a defect in their humanity...

As far as The Wire is concerned, it looks at crime and violence in an entirely different way than we are used to....the lines are very blurred...some of the "good guys"(cops, politicians)are just as morally bankrupt, if not MORESO than the "bad guys"(drug dealers, addicts, thieves)...

so far, the most morally upstanding person on the show is Omar(a vicious stick up artists and homosexual), the most intellectual person on the show was Stringer Bell(a drug kingpin), the most diplomatic person was Prop Joe(also a drug kingpin), and the kindest person on the show is Bubbles(a heroin addict)...

the most vile people on the show are people like Rawls, Burrell, Valchek, Landsman, Royce, etc...all public servants...

Pearlman carries on affairs with married men...Greggs shuns her parental responsibility and cheats on her partner...McNulty is a womanizer and heavy drinker...so on and so on....the LEAST capable officer in the bunch is a young white man(Prez)...

Americans need CLEAR and distinct denotation of who is "good" and who is "bad" in their entertainment....which is why most characters in film and TV are archetypes and/or caricatures...and when the ideas about who is "good" and "bad" are blurred--much like they are in real life--its hard to swallow for alot of people...

we need bad guys to be completely rotten and devoid of humanity so we can root for their destruction and feel justified when they suffer...we need our good guys to be pretty and not have any moral flaws...for the most part...if someone else made this show, McNulty and Prez would be shining heroes and the boss of everyone...Major Cedric Daniels, Erving Burrell, and Mayor Clarence Royce would not exist...

we want to believe that the criminals in the inner city are less than human monsters that are all sick and demented and need to be eradicated/exterminated...especially so, in the case of the inner city drug dealer...

our society has ingrained in us that the people who engage in illegal activities in the ghetto are the scourge of the Earth and their existences suck away at our quality of life as a whole...

We dare not think that some of those criminals are actually intelligent, reflective, ambitious, and have qualities such as compassion, fear, and heart...we wouldnt believe for a second that some of those people have hopes, dreams, and even skills that are very close to our own...

on that note, The Wire also uncovers some truths that alot of Americans arent willing to face...

for one, the fact that the decay of our inner cities is based on games of politics.....we LOVE to blame the poor, underprivileged, and disenfranchised solely for their own situations...

politicians pretend that their hands are tied and we believe them...and we dont even consider that if a real effort were put forth by law enforcement and government things CAN change....things change based on what it means for people in power...

efforts to help are many times blocked, hindered, and thwarted...and the people in the inner cities suffer and no one cares...

not to say that people dont have a stake in their own destiny, BUT the people we choose to lead, protect, and serve us us have to match that effort...

The Wire puts the children of the ghetto in your face and forces us to look at what they have to deal with...it forces us to realize that many of their choices are based on survival purely and going against the grain in that environment is a Herculean effort....it shows us how these kids are truly left behind and unprotected from the poisonous environment that surrounds them...

a character like Dennis Wise illustrates to us how very difficult it is to turn your life around in our society...

The Wire depicts these people as they really are in these situations and it doesnt gibe with what we have been taught abt these things...

Im sure race is a factor for some viewers, being that the cast is largely Black and white viewers tend not to watch Black themed film and tv....but thats not all of it...

Im sure that the realism is a bit much to take for some viewers....like many of you have mentioned, the story arcs are not neat or compartmentalized into easy bite-sized pieces...there is very little payoff, and any of the characters can meet an unfortunate end...seeing children and civilians murdered in cold blood Im sure is very hard to watch for some....and for those murders to go unsolved and unavenged must enrage some viewers....seeing people live in squalor matter of factly is also a bitter pill...

the lack of big name actors, the non-glorification of violence and sex, and the true to life depiction of the stress and frustration of police work are factors that send some viewers to the remote...

its a shame that The Wire wasnt more popular or recognized with awards, but for those of us who could appreciate it, we love it and defend it to the death...

We need more entertainment like it...

  

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disco dj
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43. "trust me son. you're JUST Getting started..."
In response to Reply # 39


  

          

you're watching S4. But that's when the politicians REALLY show us what they're made of.

the City Hall shit's crazy.



but back to your point, I think McNulty's line at the end of S3 sums it up best.


when he and Bunk found Stringer's REAL crib ( not a lay-up spot), he looked around at all of Stringers property, and asked the hypothetical question:


"Who the fuck was *I* chasing?"

meaning, everybody thought he was just a big dumb drug dealer, not an highly intelligent, educated man.



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BigWorm
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41. "I think some of you are reading to deeply"
In response to Reply # 0


          

I don't think it was so much 'America wasn't ready for it'...

so much as it was that the show was just not 'hit' material.

I think I can recall MAYBE three cliffhangers total during all of the five seasons.

Most of the time the episodes just end. Sometimes on a very indifferent note.

There was nothing exciting about the show unless you just stuck with it.

Oh and there was no focal character. McNulty was kind of the main character, but not at all in Season 4, and by himself he wasn't enough to carry the show. The ensemble was the best part but hell, they changed the focus so much that there wasn't much to build a following around. I mean I loved that damn show but I just can't picture Bunk, Daniels or Herc becoming the next superstars on the cover of Life magazine.

No cliffhangers. No 'pretty' stars. A take-it-or-leave-it storyline that got so tightly woven that by season 3 they practically never even had to resort to scenes with random titties thrown in (which they did plenty in season 1).

This became one of my favorite shows but honestly I'm surprised it lasted five seasons. Hell I kind of think the creators of the show were surprised it lasted so long. The first few seasons all end as if another season was uncertain.

  

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disco dj
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44. "good point."
In response to Reply # 41


  

          

they DID tie every season up, as if they didn't know it was coming back.

You could watch any random season by itself and not really know ( or need to know ) what came before or after it...



I don't really need a cliffhanger to make a show 'work', but you're right. It wasn't even an option for "The Wire"...


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bignick
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46. "Yeah, but...."
In response to Reply # 44


  

          

>they DID tie every season up, as if they didn't know it was
>coming back.

They tied up every season like that because each season was conceived of as a stand-alone entity. Each season basically functioned like a novel, with every episode being a chapter of a much greater story.

I'm pretty sure even if HBO said, you're gonna get your 5 season, they would have done it the same way.

  

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Madvillain 626
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Wed Feb-25-09 11:59 PM

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49. "Ya'll are looking too deep into it."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Zootown mentioned it also, but I think advertising is a major part of the reason The Wire got ignored.

I mean, it was always On Demand the least often of all HBO programming. It NEVER got Award recognition, the critical praise was pretty much preaching to the choir, you never saw the actors promoting the show on television or anything like that.

It didn't really start getting those "best show ever" nods until about midway through Season 4, or at least the end of season 3.

People simply didn't KNOW about the Wire.

-------------------------------
If life is stupendous one cannot also demand that it should be easy. - Robert Musil

  

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will_5198
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50. "yep, that's part of it."
In response to Reply # 49


  

          

the show was horribly advertised on HBO. the promos were either too vague or simply misleading (for *not* being a cops and robbers show, it was often portrayed as one -- inviting a casual viewer to watch 10 minutes then realize none of that was going to happen).

hell, I had HBO the entire time and really only learned about the show on OKP (meanwhile sitting through weekly Sopranos gatherings where 8 people complain about nobody getting killed that Sunday).

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k_orr
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55. "I heard that Deadwood and Rome did better #'s"
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disco dj
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60. ""Rome" was awesome though."
In response to Reply # 55


  

          

it deserved its shine.



( not that "The Wire" wasn't awesome, but "Rome" was a big fuckin' undertaking.)

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Big Chief Rumbletummy
Member since Jan 31st 2006
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Thu Feb-26-09 03:43 PM

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56. "Her acting was godawful throughout"
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But Season 1 she was exceptionally godawful. Like ferinstance, during that scene when she's staking out this guy who's jealous girlfriend is in the car with her...she does that thing that horrendous actors do when they have to pretend their looking at something off camera. She starts moving her head around, side to side, up & down, as if having to look over, around, below, and through shit to see what she's seeing. I cringe at that shit.

  

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Mynoriti
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57. ""Kima, when did you realize you wanted to be a cop?""
In response to Reply # 56


  

          

that scene when they're out drinking, and that white chick randomly asks her that question like she's a reporter tagging along, prompting kima to tell us a story. THAT's the scene that makes me cringe/laugh in season one because it happens right before she get's shot. "let's get to know kima right quick before we shoot her." it feels so forced and amateurish compared to all the great tv we had just witnessed. Simon is so embarrassed about that flashback in the first episode but if there's anything he should feel that way about it's this corny shit.

that said i had no real problem with her acting. the scene you're talking about is from the pilot. i'd cut her a little slack lol.

  

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disco dj
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59. ""...and he threw down the bracelets..." <-----TERRIBLE"
In response to Reply # 57


  

          

I'm not sure how cops talk to other cops. But when she said he called her "Rook", it just sounded so cheesy and "screenwriter-ish".


I can't imagine a hardened career cop using the word "Rook". More like "New guy", "Kid" or whatever...



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Mynoriti
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64. "LOL i forgot about that part of it"
In response to Reply # 59


  

          

>I'm not sure how cops talk to other cops. But when she said
>he called her "Rook", it just sounded so cheesy and
>"screenwriter-ish".
>
>
>I can't imagine a hardened career cop using the word "Rook".
>More like "New guy", "Kid" or whatever...

  

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lightworks
Member since Feb 17th 2006
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Sun May-31-20 11:10 AM

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65. "Just newly getting into The Wire and I totally thought "
In response to Reply # 57


          

this when she got shot.

A “oh wow a life story so that we know all about her before she dies”.

  

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Cocobrotha2
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66. "Jemele Hill and Van Lathan have a podcast on The Wire"
In response to Reply # 65


          

They're spending about an hour on each episode as they re-watch the entire series. I believe they just finished Season 1 so it's a nice little companion piece if you're interested in other people's takes of the episode.

Just be aware that they do talk about things from future episodes.

<-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><->
<-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><->

  

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cal.25
Member since Nov 10th 2014
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Thu Jun-11-20 05:59 PM

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68. "Did an OKP score the music for this ep?"
In response to Reply # 57


  

          

I'm getting into the Wire right now for the first time, and the background music choices in this episode stuck right out.

Scene where the bar girl serves drinks to Stringer/Barksdale:
Mos Def - Ms Fat Booty

Scene with Kima in the bar with her girls:
Meshell Ndegeocello - Call Me

Scene with Kima and Orlando in the car:
Black Star - Hater Players

  

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scorpion
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58. "her speech patterns bothered me the most...."
In response to Reply # 56


  

          

she tried to "swag" every line she had...the cadence was nowhere near natural, it was forced as hell....when she cursed(which was every line)she put EXTRA emphasis on the curse words....

by season 2 she got the hang of it...


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dba_BAD
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Sat Feb-28-09 03:44 PM

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61. "it did find an audience during seasons 4 and 5"
In response to Reply # 0


          

among its target

but the vast majority of america (the 'audience' i think ur alluding to) was never gonna go for it

cuz its so anti what tv is about

simon summed it up in some interview where he basically described film and tv as depicting special characters prevailing against presented obstacles, whereas the wire more accurately depicts special people just as much at the mercy of obstacles as everybody else in real life

it also requires some basic engagement with race in america

or, as somebody stated earlier, its 'too real'

__

fairweather

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Thu Jun-11-20 02:50 PM

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67. "The Wire and Sopranos are great shows that would not at all work today."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I say this mainly because of pacing and attention span. I remember watching those shows for whole episodes and not know what's going on and having to wait several episodes for payoffs. I can't think of any great shows today that are written that way. Attention spans are much shorter and the pace of action is way faster.

Even a show like Game of Thrones which started at the end of that era, if you look at the first season versus the later seasons, the pace and action picks up incredibly.


Then there were shows HBO shows like John from Cincinnati and Carnivale that didn't know that times had changed and were killing people with it's slow meandering pace.

My theory is Lost killed that slow pace stuff.


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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Mynoriti
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Fri Jun-12-20 07:44 PM

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69. "i dunno man. when the Sopranos came out there were NO shows like it"
In response to Reply # 67


  

          

forget differently paced season long arcs that don't require as much patience , nearly every show back then resolved itself in 42 minutes. Closest thing was probably Oz which for all its flaws was primer for the Sopranos.

The Wire was even more challenging because was pure story and didn't rest so much on a single compelling character.

Might be difficult today but whether they'd be a harder sell today than when they dropped is debatable. i suppose there was a novelty factor

i thought GoT's pace picked up because they show caught up with the source material. instead of telling a story they just started making things happen

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http://ambitiondeficitdisorder.tumblr.com/

  

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Castro
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Tue Jun-16-20 07:46 AM

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70. "It didn't find an audience? People literally come to Baltimore from "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

all parts of the world to do "Wire" tours.

I'm not understanding the idea that a critically acclaimed series that ran for five seasons didn't have an audience.

------------------
One Hundred.

  

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CherNic
Member since Aug 18th 2005
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Tue Jun-16-20 08:16 AM

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71. "you realize this post is 11 years old? A LOT has changed"
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I didn't watch the show during it's initial run but now I'm a huge fan. My favorite drama ever. The Wire 1000% has a totally different following now than it did a decade ago

  

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Castro
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Wed Jun-17-20 10:18 AM

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74. "I have lived in Baltimore the entire time it was filmed"
In response to Reply # 71


  

          

and it was hugely popular when it was fresh and definitely in 2009.

When I say people were coming to Baltimore for the tour, I mean like back in 2009 folks were coming to Baltimore for that shit.

And I am saying this as a person who lived on blocks where they filmed.


------------------
One Hundred.

  

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Beamer6178
Member since Jan 09th 2006
5924 posts
Tue Jun-16-20 10:59 PM

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72. "This looks comical when these white drug shows win everything"
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Rjcc
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Wed Jun-17-20 03:15 AM

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73. "Netflix has made things very different"
In response to Reply # 72


          

Breaking Bad didn't catch an audience until it was on Netflix, and Ozark is still kind of a niche thing and it's a netflix show.

offhand idk which ones you're talking about, although you could really go back to Weeds which I think predates The Wire?

But even that's still only a niche hit that had a much more straightforward approach.

www.engadgethd.com - the other stuff i'm looking at

  

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