Inspired by Carl Sagan saying “Billions” for an hour, I give you Clay Davis slowed down 10x.
One of my crew’s challenges, then, was to find ways to evoke mood with backgrounds. When a character is in a crowded situation he is not comfortable with, listen for background laughter. When McNulty is drunk and on the prowl, listen for dogs barking (because he’s a dog – my own private commentary on his character). There was a whole world of work that went in to creating the sound of Hamsterdam and building it from an empty to thriving enterprise.
This one is definitely NSFW. I love these behind the scenes, oral histories of shows like The Wire. I love them because they lift the curtain on something truly great but that’s not the only reason. I love them because they imply, by shining light on the technical, personal or cultural challenges that had to be overcome, that greatness can be reached by anyone. I find that super inspiring.
via Kottke (of course).
“In the end, the cost to all sides begins to suggest not so much the dogged police pursuit of the bad guys, but rather a Greek tragedy. At the end of thirteen episodes, the reward for the viewer — who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show — is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead, the conclusion is something that Euripides or O’Neill might recognize: an America, at every level at war with itself.”
David Simon, creator of The Wire, quoted from the show outline originally pitched to HBO — AKA the Wire Bible.
In 2000 David Simon pitched a show to HBO that would be:
far more than a cop show, and to the extent that it breaks new ground, it will do so because of larger, universal themes that have more to do with the human condition
It’s not every day you get the chance to reflect on something so authentic, savouring the subtle texture and flavour. Let’s all take a moment to consider the origins of that fine street food delicacy: The Wire.
via Kottke, who also took the effort to mirror (archive) these documents for future web posterity.
And the chilling thing about the show is that, when someone like McNulty decides to care out of turn, he’s not confronted by corrupt or otherwise evil people. Bill Rawls, the middle finger-raising Homicide chief, isn’t a bad guy, though he seems like one when he bitches out McNulty. He’s just a guardian of the system. His job is to keep the murder rate down and the clearance rate up, which in turn helps the department get funding to keep doing its job, keeps cops on the streets, etc. You’ll note that the thing that angers Rawls most is the fact that Jimmy dragged in the Gerard Bogue case, which happened in the previous year and therefore has no bearing on this year’s stats. Bogue may have had family and friends who loved and miss him, but he is of no use to Bill Rawls in his quest to make the numbers look good, and therefore he doesn’t matter. That’s not evil, not “one bad cop ruining the system for everybody else.” It’s just cold, cruel pragmatism, the best way Rawls knows to do the job he’s been given.
Alan Sepinwall, re-reviewing the first episode (s01e01) of the remastered, re-release HD series of The Wire.
This month HBO has re-released The Wire, remastered in HD. Let Alan Sepinwall walk you through one of the best, most compelling shows of our time.
I love the idea that David Simon would use the first scene in the first episode of each season to establish the themes for the season. This is the kind of TV making that just wasn’t possible in the 90’s. We really do have to thank The Sopranos for the glut of high quality TV drama on offer today.
Ah YouTube, thank you.
This is cool, actors from the Wire, talking about their auditions and the characters they read for. Now, where did I leave those video tapes..?