Have you ever watched the last episode of something and felt really sad that it was not going to be around any more? That was us last night when we saw the final bit of the fifth series of The Wire, a series about, well everything really.
The Wiki page tells you everything you need to know but I just want to say that I've seen a lot of series on television in which I have not cared a jot about the characters. I've found them just standard two-dimensional beings - good actors sometimes - but the parts have not been written very well. Criticisms I usually voice are when people are too good-looking to be credible, music that interferes and doesn't enhance, short choppy scenes full of exposition, gaping plot holes which will guarantee I'll stop watching there and then - I won't make allowances, boring themes. The Wire has none of this. I think it is simply perfect. Charlie Brooker also seems to be of the same mind.
The Sopranos used to be my favourite ever series and I thought it was pretty hard to find anything better. Normally, when I like the first of something, I'll buy the rest of the series so we can watch it back to back night after night. I didn't do this with The Wire because I hated the thought of not being able to have it to look forward to in the future. Consequently - because series 4 and5 were two of the Christmas presents I bought for Mr FF - we've watched this over a period of about 8 months, watching and re-watching every series.
We've needed to watch it with subtitles because lots of the dialogue is (how to put this) gangsta rap talk amongst the drug gangs of Baltimore. I know lots of people will instantly think 'oh, I don't like that sort of thing' ; well, we didn't think we did either. Yes, it's one of those gritty realistic slices of what life might be like for a lot of disadvantaged people but it's done in a way that is funny, caring and hard to watch sometimes but worth it - oh, it's so worth it. However, we said last night when trying to analyse why this particular series affected us so much, that if we had just been channel hopping on the tv and happened to come across it we probably would not have warmed to it. It's only because I've often seen it touted as the word of mouth 'the best series on television ever' that made me even buy the first series way back in March last year.
It's not just about the drug gangs; it also deals with the schools, newspapers,politicians, police, - in fact everything that makes a city work. It is set in Baltimore but it could probably be a lot of cities the world over. There's a smidgen of love story but done in a way that is not soap opera stuff (I never watch those in case you're wondering what other sort of things I like). In short, if you like intelligent drama that doesn't seem acted - try out the first series and then come back and tell me if I'm a complete tosser that doesn't know anything or - indeed - spot on and that you're about to go on and buy the rest of the series.