“If you come at the king, you best not miss.”
-Omar, The Wire
Hey, just letting you know that one of the reasons I haven’t been writing all that much lately is because I just spent the entire week watching the first season of The Wire. For about the last year, all I’ve heard is that The Wire is the possibly the best TV show ever to be produced. I’ve heard this from numerous sources, all of whom I trust deeply. I’ve just never gotten around to watching it. Between softball games, writing in a blog, and doing whatever else it is that I do, it hasn’t really peaked my interest. Don’t get me wrong….its been on my mind. I just didn’t use any initiative.
Well, about a week ago I got my hands on Season 1 through a friend. This was ideal…..I don’t like paying for things….its lame. And so, last Sunday night, I popped in the first episode, and three hours later, I was three episodes deep.
I’m not gonna sit here and talk about the what happens on the show…..you don’t have to worry about anything being spoiled. But one thing I do want to say: watching The Wire this week, I realized it was the first time I really cared about watching a TV show deeply in a few years. There’s a lot of things that make a TV show great: plotlines, directing, and all that good stuff are essential. But above all else, in my opinion, are CHARACTERS. I put that word in caps because I think its more important than anything else….CHARACTERS make a TV show.
In a movie, characters develop in a couple hours. In a show, it takes a whole season. And that’s why there is nothing quite like watching an absolutely terrific show. I’ve dabbled in a few shows over the years: Deadwood, Entourage, Lost, and the later seasons of The Sopranos have all been watched by yours truly. And sure, I enjoyed them all, but I never truly felt much for the characters (don’t get me wrong: Al (Deadwood), Ari (Entourage), Sawyer (Lost), Locke (Lost); these are all characters that I admired and enjoyed to watch. But they never, well, how do I put this…..became a part of my life).
When a show is truly great, the characters, atleast to me, begin to become real. When someone on a show is shot, and you end up thinking about it all that day, and wondering “Why did it did have to happen like that?,” and then that night, when you try to go to bed, you stay up thinking about it for an hour before you fall asleep, well, thats when you know a show is good. And yes…..this happened to me.
When you start thinking about the characters as if they’re real people, and wondering things like, “Man, I hope Bubbles is doing alright, I’m worried about him,” or “I wonder what Omar’s been up to lately,” despite the fact that they are not real people, you know the show is damn good. If I was to show up in West Baltimore, I would expect to run into half the people from this show…..because there is a totally irrational, child-like part of me that truly believes that these people are real.
The last time this happened for me was about four years ago, when I was watching the first and second seasons of Six Feet Under. I’ve always believed that the first two seasons of Six Feet Under were the most brillant episodes of TV, bar none. I stopped watching during the third season…..I was pretty much disgusted and disillusioned at where the show was going, and gave up. I was very bitter for about three years….when a show gets this good, it starts to feel like a close friend or relative. And if it gets messed with…..we, as diehard viewers, get angry. Someday I might start watching again…I’ve heard from reliable sources that Season 5 makes up for seasons Three and Four. But the point to all this rambling……the show was brillant, and the CHARACTERS were off the charts. Between Billy, David, Brenda, Nate, the dad, and everyone else on that show….I was always thinking of someone. I never stopped thinking about the characters. The only other show that ever did this to me were the early Sopranos seasons…..but Six Feet Under even more so, simply because it was so damn breathtaking, and the characters were so damn complex…..and real.
And so now I’m ready to start season 2 of The Wire (which, I have heard by pretty much all accounts, is fairly mediocre…..I’ve also heard season 3 & 4 are mindblowing), and I just want to say….I’m happy. A couple months ago, when The Sopranos finally ended, I wrote probably the worst piece of shit I’ve ever written on this blog: it was supposed to be my thoughts on the final episode, and it ended up being a stinking pile of garbage that would have been flushed down the toilet by any self-respecting editor (in hindsight, I don’t know what the Hell I was trying to say). But honestly….I think I was just unhappy, and didn’t know how to express my thoughts. And now….well, for the first time in awhile, I’ve truly found TV show happiness from The Wire. I feel good when I think about the characters: McNulty, ‘D’, Kima, Bubbles, Wallace, Lester, Pooh, and ofcourse, The Man of the People, Omar: they’ve become a part of my life, in a way that only great TV CHARACTERS can. I’m happy…..and I can’t wait to keep watching.
About four months ago, I decided I wanted to rate the best Original Nintendo songs of all-time. Quite a project, especially considering that I’ve never owned a Nintendo, and really wasn’t qualified to write about it. With the help of my collaborater, Kevin Canavan, we made a big list, and I started posting about them, with Youtube videos imbedded. The only problem…..even with the help I was getting, I never really felt that I knew what I was talking about. After three posts, I left the project unfinished.
Well, I got an email this week with the following link: the message above it read “They’re stealing you’re idea.” I clicked on the link and saw that it was none other the IGN, probably the best video game related site on the web (they’re on my blog role, you should check it out), and they were also ranking the ‘Top Ten Eight-Bit Video Game Songs.’ Ofcourse they didn’t steal my idea…..I’m sure they have no idea what ‘Greg’s Words of Wisdom’ are. But I have to say…..I felt really cool. I mean, if they had stolen my idea, that would have been great (you know, because it would have been an honor). But just to know that we think somewhat alike…..that makes me feel good. Now I wish I just finished the damn thing. But just to get the record straight, I was going to post a link with the ‘Best of the Best’ and I was going to include:
Super Mario 3
Mega Man 2
Dr. Mario (specifically, ‘Chill’)
Mike Tyson’s Punchout
Anyway, I guess I’ll officially put it to rest for now, but here’s the posts I wrote on the subject previously (most of the videos have been taken down….I wonder if nesguide.com was pissed that I used them).
Also, here’s the IGN link again if you didn’t click on it above. They only gave themselves 10 spots to choose, which is pretty much impossible, considering there are literally endless Nintendo games, but like many of the commenters, I was amazed that Mega Man 2 didn’t make the cut (it made honorable mention). I don’t know…..I would have made one or two on my list (Zelda would have been one). But again…..to pick 10 is simply impossible. There’s way too many.
Alrighty….I’ve said my piece. If I’m not around that much this week, it’s cause I’m watching The Wire.
Until Next Time,