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September 16, 2007


vin diesel

I still haven't forgiven David Chase for refusing to follow up on the Russian from the Pine Barrens episode. I can't think of any occasion on which The Wire started to develop a fascinating subplot, got to the halfway mark and then forgot all about it.

But then The Wire is all about the larger canvas--having watched and rewatched (and rewatched) all four seasons, I can report that there are precisely zero episodes that focus on some self-contained plot that doesn't connect intimately to the larger storyline. It's just not written that way. Despite Laura Miller partially disowning the novel metaphor in this latest article, the show IS written as chapters of a novel, not just a collection of related short stories set in the same place with the same characters.

It doesn't stoop to the audience-playing tricks of Lost, trying to stretch out a suspenseful story over as many seasons as it can by doling out just enough detail to keep the viewers from abandoning the show; it doesn't have a perfunctory, skeletal season-long plot along which many repetitive roller-coaster episodes can be attached, as does 24. (Even the first few seasons of 24, which I adored, clearly had episodes of filler, and lots of action for the sake of squeezing in action, rather than because it was necessary for an intelligent story or for character development, of all things.)

The Wire is written as chapters of literature, and isn't for everyone, but for most people who get into it, there isn't anything else comparable on TV.


Vin nicely put, I totally agree that it's the best written dramatic show on TV. I think it also has one of the best esnemble casts of all-time as well. I guess it helps to have complex, well-rounded characters written for you to sink your teeth in as an actor.

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