Podcasting HBO’s The Wire
December 10th, 2008
For those who follow me on Twitter, or have visited my twitter page, you’ll know that I refer to myself quite realistically as a “Wannabe T.V. Critic.” This is the wonder of the internet: through sheer productivity and a few karmic turns of fate, I have managed to fall into a routine that is both personally satisfying and, I hope, something that adds to the internet’s critical discourse of television.
This week has been a reminder of both how those turns of fate have manifested themselves and how much I enjoy doing this. Since I’ve started appearing on the /Filmcast, with the gang of Dave, Devindra and Adam who I quite incidentally teamed up with in their podcasting days before the big time, I’ve found another outlet for discussing television. Both on the podcast and (perhaps most importantly) through the chat room, I have been able to meet some great people and have some really great discussions.
Ultimately, though, Monday night’s /Filmcast was the one that will likely always stick out in my mind. It was what I would refer to as an exorcism: a chance for the /Filmcast to get everything it needed to say about a certain HBO drama series which is highly critically acclaimed, unduly underappreciated by the Emmy Awards, a personal favourite show of every member of the /Filmcast, and the show that enraptured me this past summer.
The show is The Wire, and what began as a germ of an idea suggested by a few readers ballooned into an epic 3 1/2 ode to the series that should have changed the face of television and instead only raised the standards by which we rate shows which come after it and fail to pick up on what made it such an amazing feat from David Simon and Ed Burns. And if you don’t believe us, consider that we spent 3 1/2 hours and both never ran out of things to say and, worst of all, barely scratched the surface with certain characters and events. Recording the podcast, and preparing for it ahead of time, was a reminder just what the show accomplished, and being able to revisit that was going to be a lot of fun.
It was also a real honour: Alan Sepinwall, from the New Jersey Star-Ledger, is a fantastic (and real) TV critic who I often link to, and who I certainly view as a “role model” when it comes to developing a critical discourse in a blog setting. He’s also one of the most vocal and knowledgeable voices on The Wire, which made Monday’s discussion that much more monumental for someone whose first post on this blog was an indepth expose on violence in university broomball. I just hope that I held myself well enough not to bring a bad name to criticism from my perch in “Wannabe” land.
Overall, it was another sign of how grateful I am for Dave, Adam and Devindra having me on the /Filmcast and Dave, in particular, for egging me on to start watching The Wire this summer. I haven’t written as much about it as I would have liked, but you can find what I’ve written by clicking here. In the meantime, if I were you, I’d subscribe to the /Filmcast – it’s most certainly going to pay dividends to your critical future.
NOTE: There’s a forty-five minute discussion with Alan which is light spoiler territory, for those who want to know why we spend 3 1/2 hours talking about the show. What follows is a season by season breakdown, although I’ll warn you ahead of time that we sometimes spoil future seasons within discussions of other ones. So, if you’ve only seen three seasons, I’d still get through the whole thing before listening.