Weekend With the Wire.

So, I'm four episodes into this show The Wire. It's a drama on HBO and it gets better reviews than The Sopranos, but hardly anyone's heard about it. From what I understand, it's one of the more realistic Cop Dramas out there, and if that's true, then it's one of the more disturbing shows I've ever seen.

Set in crime-riddled Baltimore, Maryland, the first season centers around a drug kingpin who operates in the projects, makes thousands if not millions of dollars, employs dozens if not hundreds of hoodlums to do his bidding, and all the while he's untouchable. He's never had a job; hasn't been arrested of anything since becoming an adult; hasn't been photographed publicly since he was a teenager; hasn't had a job; indeed, he's well known by just about everyone in the city except those involved in the law enforcement game. Well, the secret's out, and now the police are banding together to try and take him down.

Imagine an episode of Law & Order that's actually interesting and not merely ripped from the headlines (in other words, imagine an episode of Law & Order in one of its first few seasons). Now, take that interesting episode of Law & Order and add swearing and nudity (not a lot, mind you, but just enough to make it more authentic). Here's the cool part; take that interesting, more authentic episode of Law & Order and give equal time to the badguys. In other words, don't just show the crime or crimes being committed, but show the whole lifestyle, show the personality behind the criminals. Likewise, don't make the show all about solving said crime or crimes, but include equal parts personal life to those doing the investigating. Obviously, with a show like this, there's no WAY you're fitting it inside an hour, so take this interesting, more authentic, all-inclusive episode of Law & Order and stretch it out over 12 or 13 1-hour episodes. Does that sound like something you might be interested in?

Well, you should, because it has lesbians. Black lesbians. Hot black lesbians! Come on ride the train! Ah-ride-it! Woo-Woo!

Anyway, yeah, so I'm four episodes in. It was a little difficult to get going on that first episode, because you know as you first start watching it that you're watching something deeply involved. There's a committment there. 20 minutes into the first episode you have to think, "I'm going to be investing 4 seasons worth of time, something around 50 hours, plus a 5th and final season yet to come, on this show." But, if you give yourself time to sit down and watch the first few right in a row, you'll be sucked in. It's that good.

And when I say that this show is disturbing, I'm talking about the police force in general. Police officers, for the most part, don't actually want to do police WORK. They'd rather pass the buck around for a while until the powers that be forget about it. As long as cases don't make it to the press, the police force doesn't have to worry about it. They're underfunded, underqualified, apathetic, out-of-shape wretches. You should see how these people are! It's bloody incredible! The only reason they're taking on this Drug Kingpin I talked about earlier is because a judge was tipped off to his activities in their city. The judge puts pressure on the police chief, who puts pressure on his underlings, and so on, until you've got this team of low-level officers and detectives who - for the most part - either don't give a shit, don't want to ruin their chances to rise up in the ranks by failing, or are so incompetent that they're put on this crappy assignment because their superiors don't want to deal with them. It's unbelievable.

The motto here is: You Can't Lose If You Don't Play.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this show, what with the Sopranos on its last few episodes and 24 down to its last three hours. If you don't want shit ruined for you, I'd suggest downloading the first season of The Wire. Unless you're currently under investigation by HBO for illegally downloading their series'. In which case, go rent the DVDs or put them on your Netflix queue.