The Wire is still the best TV show ever.
And while I remember every scene, and practically every bit of dialog, it had been long enough since my last complete viewing that I forgot how everything turns out. Who is the police commissioner at the end of the last episode, for example? I didn't remember. What was the ultimate fate of Avon Barksdale? Same deal.
I hadn't watched The Wire since its creator David Simon went on a campaign to educate the rest of us on why we need to bend over to save the newspapers. How incongruous that is, when he portrayed the news orgs exactly as fubar as the unions, police, City Hall, schools. The recurring theme of The Wire is a few people want to do good work thwarted by those who just want to get by or get ahead. You know it's the same way in tech. They would have you believe that it's all about excellence, but it's not. The little bits of great work happen the same way they happen in Lester's police department. By sneaking something in the back door while the bosses' attention is elsewhere.
With that in mind, I feel more confident that getting the big institutions out of the way so that the Small Picture can rule is the way to go. I'd love to have a beer with Simon some day and go over this with him.
This time I downloaded sub-titles from the net. This helped a lot, because a lot of the dialog was meaningless to me the first four times I watched. I don't speak the dialect of English they do. But after so much listening to The Wire, I have all their voices and all the things they say running through my head 24 by 7. You feel me?
One more thing -- maybe the best thing about The Wire is all the different characters you can try on. There are some who I don't feel at all like. Cedric Daniels and his wife, for example. Brother Mouzone. But there's a little bit of McNulty in me, and Stringer, and when I fantasize -- I'm Marlo Stanfield or Omar or young Michael. But maybe the most heroic characters on the show are Kima and Bunk and Prezbo. Or Bunny or Bubs. Bodie. Prop Joe.
Update: They're teaching The Wire at Harvard this year.