Last on to "The Wire" party!
September 25, 2010 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I have just finished watching "The Wire" for the first time and I am looking through posts in the green and the blue about the show - and there's been a lot of discussion over the years! What are the absolute essential articles about the background and the making of the show that I shouldn't miss?

I'm particularly interested in interviews with David Simon - mainly full series retrospectives, but any in-depth interviews with him. And any detailed critical analyses of the series - as great television, as great art or as great commentary on America, etc.
posted by crossoverman to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
this a bit older than what might be of interest, but The New Yorker always good for critical essays:
posted by Postroad at 7:45 AM on September 25, 2010

I found the Guardian's The Wire re-up a good read when, like you, I caught on late and went through each series for the first time.
posted by greycap at 7:53 AM on September 25, 2010

Read the books - The Corner and Homicide. All the background of what happens in The Wire is in there, and it's real.
posted by fire&wings at 7:57 AM on September 25, 2010

This interview from the Believer is good.
posted by transient at 8:06 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: There are a bunch of interviews, profiles, articles to be find on the blue, including one I posted way back when. I also like this post. Here are a few other online essays and interviews I like, of varying levels of critical sophistication:

Baltimore as World and Representation.

Women and The Wire.

Noteworthy profiles and interviews in Vice, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Believer.

A take on the show and its pessimism in the Atlantic, with interesting followups 1, 2, which I also posted to MetaFilter way back when.

A good radio interview from

The Wire's series creators once wrote an op-ed about the show against the drug war.

The Wire series bible.

On colleges teaching The Wire: 1, 2. Syllabus: What's So Great about The Wire? Syllabus: Watching The Wire.Why do academics love The Wire so much? Because they're living it.

My own thoughts about The Wire and its last season from my blog, with a link-roundup specifically related to the show's last episode at the bottom of the post.

And just because I've dug them out while getting the good links, some frivolous stuff:
The Wire: 100 Greatest Quotes and Another 100 Greatest Wire Quotes.

For five years, I've begged you to watch the best show on television, but you didn't listen. That's why I've kidnapped you, my closest friends and family members, and locked you here inside my apartment. More from McSweeney's: Commentary by David Simon, Creator of The Wire, for the He's Just Not That Into You DVD.

Inappropriate laugh tracks: The Wire.


Great show.
posted by gerryblog at 8:17 AM on September 25, 2010 [41 favorites]

"to be find." Grr.
posted by gerryblog at 8:19 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: One of the best blogs I found was Heaven and Here, which did weekly recaps/discussions of each episode as they came out. The comment section was a pretty lively place, and David Simon, if I'm not mistaken, did put in a couple appearances. Interesting, intelligent breakdowns of each episode, and thoughful commentary. I essentially found out about the Wire through Free Darko, whose bloggers also ran Heaven and Here.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:39 AM on September 25, 2010

Oh, and definitely seek out the book Homicide, and then watch the whole series that was based on it. It's about 7 seasons long, and was a dramatic departure from standard drama at the time. Some episodes are a little dated (anything to do with computers), but it holds up exceptionally well for the most part. Also fun, once you've read the book, you'll notice how much of it made it into the Wire, for example, Jay Landsman is based on real folks, and the actual guy (Jay Landsman, I believe, is his real name) appears on the show.

The other fun bit of comparing Homicide, the TV show, to the Wire, is how many of the same actors were used in both shows, usually in dramatically different roles. Again, many of the extras in Homicide were actual BPD cops that had worked with Simon on the book.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:45 AM on September 25, 2010

This is such a newb question but where can I watch from season1? I'm dying to see it but my limited knowledge of how to stream/find stuff makes it hard.
posted by pearlybob at 8:56 AM on September 25, 2010

When I asked this sort of question eight months ago, I thought smackfu's steering me to the thoughtful Sepinwall commentaries very excellent.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:05 AM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I posted this panel discussion with David Simon which I really liked.

Seconding the Guardian coverage and watching The Corner, which is proto distilled Wire.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:15 AM on September 25, 2010

People in this thread might be interested to read Why We're Teaching 'The Wire' at Harvard.
posted by philipy at 10:26 AM on September 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks heaps, everyone! Some really great stuff here.

I am a big fan of the TV series Homicide and David Simon's books, so I've got all that covered - but since I was so far behind on The Wire, I've barely read anything he's said or written about the series for fear of spoilers.
posted by crossoverman at 5:15 PM on September 25, 2010

Response by poster: I must say I'm amused that this lengthy interview with David Simon by Alan Sepinwall concludes with a mention of Tommy Westphall and a link to my own site about him.
posted by crossoverman at 6:21 PM on September 25, 2010

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