Regular readers might remember that, back in the mists of time – well, December – I mentioned that we’d been watching The Wire on DVD. And that it was very good. None of the bogus and ridiculous “science” you get on CSI;* not much patronising or heartstring-tugging, no deus ex machina and no wrapping the plotlines up inside an hour; just lots of what was – to someone who doesn’t know anything about the real thing, like me – lots of realistic investigative work.
Well, we’ve finally finished watching Season One, just as it finally makes its way onto the BBC. And, to be honest, I’m glad we had the DVDs to watch it from. It took us six months to do, twice as long as it will take BBC2 to show it. It’s a complicated programme, and we ended up watching several episodes twice because we hadn’t been concentrating the first time. In the end, we had to make sure that we only tried to watch it when we were definitely wide awake, otherwise we’d end up missing half of what went on. If we’d tried watching an episode on late night TV every week, we’d have been baffled – we had enough trouble with Dexter season two, just finished on ITV1,** and as unlike The Wire as it is possible for a cop show to be.***
I did wonder, idly, about recommending The Wire to The Parents. They’ve always liked police procedurals, both on telly and in books, and long-form dramas, so, I thought, they’d probably love it.**** But then, I remembered, how much The Mother tuts at the slightest hint of a bad word. The Wire has realistic dialogue.***** It wouldn’t work out. Before they were ten minutes into the first episode, she’d have asked to turn it off.
If you’ve seen the mysterious trailers for The Wire on the BBC, and you’ve not heard of it, go and watch it. It really is good. Very good. As for us: we’ve had the Season 2 DVDs sitting on the bookshelf since Christmas. As soon as we’re properly awake, they’re going in the DVD player. Hurrah!
Update, April 2nd 2009: BBC2 currently seem to be showing episodes of The Wire daily. Meaning that, for one thing, they will whip through the whole series in under three weeks; and for another, if you didn’t start watching on Monday then it’s already too late. Tonight is Episode 4, and the plot is already well under way.
* insert your favourite “CSI [somewhere]” joke here. I’ve mentioned CSI Bedminster myself before, and Half Man Half Biscuit have produced CSI:Ambleside.
** I’m still not used to the name “ITV1″. In my mind it’s still the old federated network – Yorkshire TV where I grew up.
*** Dexter, though, certainly had more tension. Even though we knew full well that there are at least three more series after the one ITV have just been showing, we were still on edge at practically every cliffhanger.
**** Unlike us, they have a DVD recorder, so it would still be compatible with their in-bed-by-10 lifestyle.
***** And at least one scene where every single word of dialogue is a swear word. Every word. A bit like the opening scene in Four Weddings And A Funeral, but set at a scene-of-crime.