Cold off the press

Yes, I’m afraid I have to admit that I have been somewhat amiss in updating the blog. My boring, sad excuse? Work. Work, work, work. (I could write an entire scene just using variations of the word, but I think we can all do without that one.

But there are a number of things on my list of Things to Blog About. Even if some of them go back months, they’re definitely not forgotten.

Now, if only I could remember what they are…

The Wire, season 5. Most of the reviews I read were almost a bit embarrassed – yes, the final is good but it’s widely agreed to be the weakest of the series. If it had come earlier it would have been less of a disappointment, but after the potent tragedy, the incisive satire, the sheer all-round greatness of the earlier seasons – well, it felt like The Wire light.

This was perhaps clearest in how the season may just be the funniest of the five, but it lacks a strong tragic counterpoint. Yes, there’s sadness in what happens, even in McNulty’s harebrained scheme, but not to the level of Frank Sobotka’s tragedy, or Bunny Colvin’s, or that of the kids in season 4. And what tragedy there was felt like more of the same, not the deepending of previous seasons. Michael, Dukie, Prop Joe, Omar – they didn’t really bring anything new to the table. As such, season 5 felt less like the last chapter and more like an epilogue. Arguably, the only truly new aspect – the media – lacked the complexity of the series’ earlier depictions of deep flaws in the system grinding up people who try their hardest to get by.

Nevertheless, season 5 worked well as a sendoff to the series and its characters, not least due to its final episode and its uncharacteristic hopefulness. Yes, the system still sucks but – suprisingly optimistic for The Wire – our heroes, the McNultys, Danielses, Michaels, Bubbles, have a chance of surviving, of getting out. Which, in hindsight, may be a touch sentimental… but damn, if it didn’t bring a tear to my eye as I watched it.

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