The Wire - does it get any better?

On the advice of people whose taste I normally trust, I subjected myself to the first eight or nine episodes of the first season of this show. It’s just a bunch of cop cliche characters, boring gangsters, and Bubbles, who just seems to try too hard. Besides, there’s only one real Bubbles.

Does this show actually get watchable in the second season and later, or is this pretty much it?

I don’t agree with your analysis but I’d say if you don’t like it by that stage of series 1 you’re never going to like it.

I remember being frustrated by the first few episodes of season 1, mainly because I had no clue what was going on and it was difficult to keep all the characters straight. I seriously considered giving up, but on the advice of Dopers here I stuck with it. Somewhere around the 4th episode something just clicked, and I was hooked. Now I’m starting the third season.

I don’t find the cops cliched or the gangsters boring at all. But if you haven’t had that “I’m hooked” moment by now, I would agree it’s probably time to give up.

I’m a big fan and don’t see what you’re seeing, but the show did pick up more viewers as it progressed, so maybe the first season was too slow for some folks.

Maybe you’d be more interested in the second season when focus shifted to the docks, or the third season with the politics and the Hamsterdam experiment, or the fourth season with the kids. You’ll meet more characters and maybe some of them will capture your attention.

Or maybe it’s just not your cuppa tea.

Cliche? Really?

No, it doesn’t get (significantly) better.

Well, I have a confession to make: right now I’m the biggest fan of The Wire there is, and, after Generation Kill, I would gladly give my left arm for a new David Simon show right away, but…

Yes, at first I also thought it was sort of ‘meh’. I mean, I got that it was a good and clever show, but I wasn’t the crazy obsessive paying-close-attention-to-every-single-word fanatic I would become by season 2.

My advice? Give Season 2 a bit of a chance. If you are watching DVD’s turn the subtitles on (It makes it easier to follow, particularly with some of the accents), and don’t multitask while watching it. If it ends up getting to you the way it eventually did to me, well, the reward is unmeasurable, and well worth the time.

I thought series four was the best, but if you find nothing interesting or original about Lester, Prez, D’Angelo, Omar, Shardene, Wallace-- well, there will always be someone who doesn’t like a cultural sacred cow.

I’d say stick with it. If you make to the episode where McNulty and Bunk have an entire conversation consisting of nothing but variations on a single word, and your socks are still not blown off… well, then it’s not for you.

IMO, that scene is some of the best TV writing ever. Hands down.

I’m hooked but good on this series. We watched Season 3 in a little over a week, and Season 4 is downloading as we speak.

Have you reached the part where Lester Freemon (the guy who quietly putzes around with toys) reveals his true character? Cause that’s when I started getting goosebumps.

Not trying to be dismissive, but I saw that coming from like twenty miles away.

I don’t know. I might give season 2 a chance if I have absolutely nothing else to watch, but so far it’s really hard to understand why this is so popular. The Sopranos, I got. A thousand times over, I understood why that was so huge. This, not really.

But The Wire wasn’t nearly as huge as The Sopranos – not nearly as many viewers and it hasn’t made its way into pop culture at all. It’s very much a niche show. .

I liked The Sopranos, but it wasn’t unusual to hear fans complain that an episode was boring if somebody didn’t get whacked. The main character on The Wire never used his gun – I don’t think it ever left his holster. The one time a cop shot somebody, it was a mistake.

The Sopranos was about a crime family. The Wire was about society and its institutions. Puzo or Zola – who gives you the most satisfaction?

I think that if you don’t like it by now, you aren’t going to like it. For me, the Wire ruined the Sopranos, I can’t watch that show now without seeing all the characters as the cartoonish characters they are: “woa, eh, fuggeaboutit!”

I think the characters in the Wire are absolutely believable as people, including the criminals and I think the dialogue is brilliant. Also, I think it turns cop cliches on their ears and take them in a different direction.

Ditto. It made pretty much all my previous favorite shows seem silly and fake by comparison.

I will say that I thought the first seaon was definitely the most conventional, and I didn’t really think it was genius until season 4 ended. But it kept me engaged throughout, so if you’re not into it now, maybe it’s not for you.

Funny - 10 minutes ago I just watched the series finale. I was a late comer to the series and picked it up because of recommendations from friends. The Wire is probably the best show I have ever seen. What makes it exceptional is that each season is its own book - and each episode a chapter. The stories build gradually over the course of the season to brilliant climaxes at the end of every season. It took me about 3 or 4 episodes to get hooked, but once hooked I couldn’t get the disks from Netflix fast enough. If you don’t like it about half way through the season then it’s probably best to just give it up. No sense wasting time on shows that don’t appeal to you.

Yep. On both counts.

Just my luck. I have never noticed that it has been on Aussie TV (if it in fact has) but it is so revered here at the Dope that I bought season one yesterday and NOW the naysayers appear. So now the truth comes out - a latter day Cop Rock.

No, it’s not.

I really believe it is one of the best series ever to air on TV. The OP claims that it’s all “cop cliche characters,” but i think it’s considerably more than that. Sure, there are cliched aspects to some of the characters, but they are not one-dimensional, and the writers have enough respect for their audience’s intelligence not to stick you with predictable plot developments and neat endings.

It’s a show that really rewards patience. After the first 4 or 5 episdoes of Season 1, i was thinking, “Well, this is OK, but nothing special.” A few episodes later i couldn’t stop watching.

I admit to a certain amount of local parochialism about the show—i was living in Baltimore for the entirety of its five-season run. But, that aside, i really think it is outstanding television.

The OP is already past this point, that was Episode 4, Series 1, so I doubt it’s going to grow on him now.

Just shows there is never going to be a TV series (or film, or book, or album, or …) that everyone likes. *The Wire *is definitely TV Marmite- you either love it or hate it, nothing in between, but - IMO - something everyone should try just in case they are in the “love” camp!

No it does not. But not n the sense you mean. The Wire is possibly the best TV ever.