Commercial Appeal of “The Wire”


Unlike Jay Sandrich’s directorial approach of role playing as the audience, the directors of “The Wire” do not have the same aesthetic approach. As we have seen in Sandrich’s work, he advocated for the audience in order to make the content accessible to all viewers. Rather, the directors of “The Wire” seem not to have considered the audience during shooting. The audience must keep up on their own, forcing a shift to adapt, flee, and in such a case hopefully not die. This can be seen in the complex diction and difficult plot set-ups. Many causes may be responsible for these differences such as the difference in time and genre; however, further examination provides insight to the structure of television.

Certainly, “The Wire” would differ if the directors attempted to cater to the audience’s wants and needs. Television viewers, particularly in America, are accustomed to plot formulas and sharply written, concise, and clear dialogue. Without having an environment catered to the audience, the audience must cater to the city of Baltimore. This choice adds to the realism of the series; however, many viewers become alienated. As a result, the series lost many potential viewers who do not have the attention and patience to watch multiple episodes of a show. Judging from some of the responses below as well as the shortened life-span of the series – it seems they made artistic choices that cost the series some commercial appeal. “The Wire” makes no apologies for its unique form. It places the responsibility of comprehension and understanding on the audience watching it. An incredible risk for the platform of television.


One Response to “Commercial Appeal of “The Wire””

  1. Administrator Says:

    Yes, but The Wire’s success after initial airing suggests that we may need to rethink the economics of television for shows of this “quality.”

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