This was my first time watching The Wire, and I was really impressed. I really got into its complexity and interlocking storylines, and I find the characters to be really compelling. The story is slow to unfold which allows for a lot of information to be presented, which I find is a much more rewarding to the viewer. What struck me most, however, was what I thought was a very good attempt at realism. So many television shows feel like they have to present some perfect world where unemployed young people live in fabulous lofts and every situation gets resolved happily. It’s refreshing that there are shows like The Wire are trying to show a more realistic view of the world.
I’m from Baltimore, and a lot of what I’ve heard about the show is that it gives Charm City a bad reputation. Not only has The Wire been a tremendous economic benefit to Baltimore, but I like that it tries to depict a realistic portrayal of the city. Baltimore is rampant with murder and drugs. The politicians are corrupt, the school system is horrendous, and bureaucracy prevents changes from being made. I like that there is a show that presents these problems without a sugar coating. I like that things aren’t neatly tied together at the end of each episode like a pretty bow, because that’s not how life actually is.
The subject matter isn’t the only factor that ads realism to this program. I noticed that they used unknown actors that look like people you would actually see on the street, because lets be honest, cops don’t really look like Heather Locklear. They also shot the show in Baltimore, which gives the show authenticity. Most of the scenes took place in recognizable Baltimore locales which made it believable, for me anyway, that these events could have actually taken place. I also noticed that the sound was strictly diegetic. The music was always coming from the radio or some other distinct source. There was no background music or voiceovers to interrupt the presented reality. In real life there isn’t ominous music when someone is about to get killed, and it isn’t there in The Wire either.