Conducted by Nick Hornby, so what could be better?
If you’ve never seen “The Wire”, I strongly urge you to watch it — yes, every single season. As Simon says:
The Wire is a Greek tragedy in which the postmodern institutions are the Olympian forces. It’s the police department, or the drug economy, or the political structures, or the school administration, or the macroeconomic forces that are throwing the lightning bolts and hitting people in the ass for no decent reason. In much of television, and in a good deal of our stage drama, individuals are often portrayed as rising above institutions to achieve catharsis. In this drama, the institutions always prove larger, and those characters with hubris enough to challenge the postmodern construct of American empire are invariably mocked, marginalized, or crushed. Greek tragedy for the new millennium, so to speak. Because so much of television is about providing catharsis and redemption and the triumph of character, a drama in which postmodern institutions trump individuality and morality and justice seems different in some ways, I think.
But if you really don’t have the time, I’d suggest catching up on the first season of “Treme”, his series about post-Katrina New Orleans. (Do it quick, the new season starts in March.) A truly powerful look at how the failure of our institutions to do their jobs destroys communities — and many of the people within.
And somehow, he still manages to make it all entertaining.