…because last night I watched the series finale of The Wire.
Is it the greatest television show of all time? Quite possibly. The ambivalence one feels about virtually every character is surely a hallmark of the show. But the masterful way in which frustration is expressed about the major institutions in our country — the judicial system, public education, politics and government, and the media — is really what sets The Wire apart. I cannot think of another show that comes close to the comprehensive way in which that’s been done. In fact, I can only think of a few novels that have pulled that off.
As I’ve torn through the Netflix DVDs in the past two months, Doug has been preparing to help me in my grief, because he watched all five seasons this summer. But he also said something that I found to be true, and that’s a real testament to the David Simon, the creator of The Wire — and something that cannot be said of those who wrote The Sopranos — “He really knows how to end it.” The finale of The Wire was not frustrating, like The Sopranos, or the most frustrating of all time, St. Elsewhere, but brought the five seasons and the characters and the City of Baltimore to a conclusion that was emotionally fair.
Well, and the fact that there weren’t many characters left alive at the end.
(I know, I know. Now I should start Mad Men.)