The Wire Withdrawal

The Wire, TV

Yes people, you will be pleased to know that I finally finished watching The Wire. Okay, I realise the series finished in 2008 but I was probably too immature to really appreciate the nuances of the underlying tension between the citizens of Baltimore and the police department. Plus, they didn’t start showing it in on the BBC until AT LEAST 2009. And that was, like, really late in the evening. People have work in the morning, you know. Let me live.

When I woke up last weekend to do my usual Sunday routine of lounging about, I went to put the DVD into the DVD player and suddenly came to the realisation…THE WIRE IS OVER (for me anyway)!! What will I do in times of sloth? How will I relax? Where will I turn when I want gritty social commentary mixed with some dark humour about Baltimore; the drug trade, docks (snore), politics, schools and media? I don’t know many television series’ that covered as many diverse areas in such great detail while still delivering a message without coming across as too preachy.

As I look back on my prolonged love affair with The Wire, I can’t help but think that the cast of characters and it’s diversity was made it such a great show. I really felt like I went on a journey with them, through the ups and downs and all the in-betweens. The evolution of some of the younger characters on the show was especially fascinating to watch and Season 4 was definitely the standout season, in my humble opinion. From Wallace to Michael to Dukie, each had to make decisions that would ultimately have an impact on not only themselves but on their nearest and dearest. It was deep stuff.

If you haven’t seen The Wire, then I urge you to get involved immediately, if not to join me on the late-list. In fact, you will join such elite company as myself and the President of the United States, Barrack Obama. While it’s obvious that alongside our dress sense and overall coolness, Uncle Obama and myself share a lot in common, it’s our mutual appreciation for Omar, brilliantly portrayed by Michael K Williams, that would really cement our friendship (in my head). When was the last time you saw a gun-toting, Robin Hoodish, homosexual, gun-toting, intelligent gangsta on TV? Don’t worry…I’ll wait… Yes, The Wire broke stereotypes. In fact, the show must go down as one of the few dramas to portray African Americans at all levels of society; from the political system to journalists, right down to the crack-head on the street.

The Wire was also an education in Baltimore slang (for better or for worse). The term “re-up” was always something I thought was exclusive to The Clipse, but alas I was mistaken. Along with the slang, the whole style, attitude and music made it all seem very authentic and transported me back to the early 2000’s. It almost had me wanting to bring out my baggy jeans (RIP 2003 to 2008) and durag (still in action) one last time for a walk round the streets of London.

So now it’s all over, the boxset has been completed and I feel a void in my life. I’ve woken up in the night in a cold sweat wondering if the 5th season really was the end? Will I ever see these characters again?

But as any recovering addict knows, after addiction comes recovery and I need a new outlet. The makers of The Wire went on to make another show, Treme, but it never quite achieved the critical acclaim of it’s predecessor. So now I ask you – what TV series can I watch that can attempt to match the awesomeness of The Wire?? I’m stuck in a TV timewarp and need waking up, people…