Let’s be completely clear. The Wire is the greatest television serial drama of all time (at least, if you’re a guy, but we’ll save that discussion). It’s a Shakespearean drama that excises and exposes America’s heart of darkness through characters who are at once very real and mythically huge. It is moving, and intricate, and gut-wrenching, and, you may be surprised to hear, slowly paced and only intermittently violent in any traditional cops-and-robbers way.
I’ve watched the entire thing at least three times, maybe four, and dipped in and out of episodes again and again. I’m part of a ... cult isn’t quite the right word, but you know, a group of people who would maybe physically harm anyone who questioned the utter supremacy of The Wire over the pathetic, ham-handed vaudeville of, say, Breaking Bad. Because that show is a fucking cartoon for middle-aged children, and don’t even get me started.
And so I was understandably emotional when I learned literally moments ago about HBO’s remastered 16:9 widescreen conversion of the Wire, which will be played in its entirety (all five seasons) starting today at noon. I mean, that’s RIGHT NOW, people. And I have things to do! (Yes, I have HBO. But not Comedy Central. It’s a weird Verizon thing. And no DVR, which right now is a ‘reasons to kill myself’ thing).
What will The Wire remaster look like? Will it still be gritty? Or will it have that strange too-real HD thing? Will Baltimore look bigger in 16:9? Too big?
I think this is basically what it must feel like to be a parent, sitting in the lobby of some hospital or agency, waiting to reunite with a daughter who was kidnapped and taken to Mexico by an estranged ex a decade ago. This is the thing you love most in the world, and you can’t wait to see them, but it’s been so long, and they’ve changed, and they’ll still be amazing but in what way, and do we still have a relationship, and can we catch up, reclaim that lost time, when real life is pressing in from all sides?
And so you sit there, staring at the door you know she is about to come through, wondering, anxiously.
(Please note that I have no children, and am fully willing to accept that the above analogy is both clumsy and who knows, maybe offensive! But god, I love the Wire, and I can't wait to see it again, in new clothes, after so long, that’s my point. Screw work, let’s go watch it!)