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January 14, 2008



Damn, I was just about to post about the "Dickensian" comment as well, but you beat me to it. I was actually watching Oz this weekend, possibly the most sensationalist show ever to air on HBO (and that's saying a lot). While watching it, I couldn't help comparing it implicitly to the Wire -- partly because of how many of the same actors appear there (Avon Barksdale as a corrupt prison guard, for example). I think The Wire does exactly what you say it does, which is to balance the personal tale with sociological analysis whereas Oz only made grudging nods to the sociological, preferring instead to focus on single characters for 15-20 minute narrative arcs that were only tangentially related to the larger season long stories. It had a sort of prisoner-of-the-week feel which was bolstered by actors being given the chance to make their sensationalism arty by acting the shit of their scenes. Which is actually why I have a problem with the McNulty moments on The Wire, where the larger story gives way to Jimmy and (or Bunk) chewing on the scenery.


Can't say I've had that problem in the past, but this season, yeah, definitely. I thought West overplayed McNulty's drunkenness, esp. in the first episode. I wonder how much of that is the actor trying to compensate for the narrative compression brought on by a ten-episode season, but still.


That might have something to do with it, however there has been enough of the "Greatest Show Ever to Air on TEE VEE" hype in the past couple of years that he might feel some pressure to make an indelible, Emmy-free, mark on television history or something.


It was good to see Avon. Flashing Marlo the W was a nice touch.

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