The first collection of critical essays on HBO's The Wire - the most brilliant and socially relevant television series in years T he Wire is about survival, about the strategies adopted by those living and working in the inner cities of America. It presents a world where for many even hope isn't an option, where life operates as day-to-day existence without education, without job security, and without social structures. This is a world that is only grey, an exacting autopsy of a side of American life that has never seen the inside of a Starbucks. Over its five season, sixty-episode run (2002-2008), The Wire presented severall overlapping narrative threads, all set in the city of Baltimore. The series consistently deconstructed the conventional narratives of law, order, and disorder, offering a view of America that has never before been admitted to the public discourse of the televisual. It was bleak and at times excruciating. Even when the show made metatextual reference to its own world as Dickensian, it was too gentle by half. By focusing on four main topics (Crime, Law Enforcement, America, and Television), The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television examines the series' place within popular culture and its representation of the realities of inner city life, social institutions, and politics in contemporary American society. This is a brilliant collection of essays on a show that has taken the art of television drama to new heights.
'. . . All in the game.' West Baltimore Traditional THE WIRE has been widely hailed as the greatest television series of all time. It portrays the war of attrition between Baltimore's hardened police force and its drug dealers, and the blurring of good and evil, justice and injustice, right and wrong that happens every day as men and women struggle against the institutions they are bound up in. Over its five series it has built up a detailed, rich and layered portrait of Baltimore: from its corner boys touting dope and its dock workers facing extinction, through the strained education system and tainted halls of power, to the crumbling media establishment. Rafael Alvarez - a reporter, essayist and staff writer for the show - brings the reader inside this world, detailing many of the real-life incidents and personalities that have inspired the show's storylines and characters. Packed with photographs and featuring an introduction by series creator and executive producer David Simon, as well as essays by acclaimed authors George Pelecanos, Ed Burns, Richard Price, Laura Lippman and Denis Lehane, it covers all fives series in glorious detail.
Luis Alberto Urrea's Across the Wire offers a compelling and unprecedented look at what life is like for those refugees living on the Mexican side of the border—a world that is only some twenty miles from San Diego, but that few have seen. Urrea gives us a compassionate and candid account of his work as a member and "official translator" of a crew of relief workers that provided aid to the many refugees hidden just behind the flashy tourist spots of Tijuana. His account of the struggle of these people to survive amid abject poverty, unsanitary living conditions, and the legal and political chaos that reign in the Mexican borderlands explains without a doubt the reason so many are forced to make the dangerous and illegal journey "across the wire" into the United States. More than just an expose, Across the Wire is a tribute to the tenacity of a people who have learned to survive against the most impossible odds, and returns to these forgotten people their pride and their identity. From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book offers the only examination of the television writing of David Milch and David Simon as significant contributions to American culture, literature, and social realism. * Contains six chapters, each addressing a different television series or miniseries written by David Milch or David Simon, as well as an introduction and conclusion * Presents a chronological perspective on nearly 30 years of American "realistic drama" television history * Includes a standard bibliography of cited books and articles, as well as a listing of all programs and movies mentioned within the book
Frameworks, Theories and Strategies for the Classroom
Author: Tia Sherèe Gaynor
Category: Performing Arts
HBO’s critically acclaimed drama The Wire has seen increasing use as course material in college classrooms since the 2008 series finale. This collection of new essays discusses various approaches for using The Wire to bring the experiences of marginalized communities into the post-secondary classroom. The contributors cover a range of topics including leadership, sexuality, class, gender and race.
Frequently described by creator David Simon as a novel for television, The Wire redefined the police serial format by unfolding its narrative across many episodes, constructing themes for each of its seasons, and refusing to portray individual crimes outside of their social context. While it never achieved spectacular ratings or won an Emmy during its 2002-2008 run on HBO, the show was honored with several awards and has been described by critics as the best show on television. In this volume, author Sherryl Vint takes a close look at several episodes of The Wire to argue that the series challenges our understanding of the relationship between entertainment and social critique. Informed by recent work on race, poverty, and the transformation of the American inner city through neoliberalism, Vint provides a compelling analysis of The Wire in four chapters. First, she examines the season 1 episode "The Buys" as an example of the ways in which The Wire diverges from the police procedural format. She continues by considering season 2's "All's Prologue" and season 3's "Middle Ground" to explore in more detail The Wire's critique of the exclusions of the capitalist economy. In the final two chapters, she looks at "Final Grades," the fourth season finale, to highlight the problems with institutional inertia and show both the need for and barriers to reform, and uses the season 5 episode "Clarifications" to consider the failure of the media to adequately reflect the social issues depicted in The Wire. One of the landmark series of recent television history, The Wire is ripe for research and discussion. Fans of the series and those interested in social commentary and the media will appreciate Vint's new analysis in this volume.
Many television critics, legions of fans, even the president of the United States, have cited The Wire as the best television series ever. In this sophisticated examination of the HBO serial drama that aired from 2002 until 2008, Linda Williams, a leading film scholar and authority on the interplay between film, melodrama, and issues of race, suggests what exactly it is that makes The Wire so good. She argues that while the series is a powerful exploration of urban dysfunction and institutional failure, its narrative power derives from its genre. The Wire is popular melodrama, not Greek tragedy, as critics and the series creator David Simon have claimed. Entertaining, addictive, funny, and despairing all at once, it is a serial melodrama grounded in observation of Baltimore's people and institutions: of cops and criminals, schools and blue-collar labor, local government and local journalism. The Wire transforms close observation into an unparalleled melodrama by juxtaposing the good and evil of individuals with the good and evil of institutions.
In post–9/11 America, while all eyes were on Iraq and Afghanistan, The Wire (2002–2008) focused on the dark realities of those living in America’s disintegrating industrial heartlands and drug-ravaged neighborhoods, striving against the odds in its schools, hospitals and legal system. With compelling story lines and a memorable cast of characters, The Wire has been compared to the work of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, with a level of detail rarely seen in a dramatic series. While the show garnered critical praise and a loyal following, a discussion of its political aspects—in particular Bush-era America—is overdue. This collection of new essays examines The Wire in terms of the War on Drugs, the racial and economic division of America’s cities, the surveillance state and the meaning of citizenship.
Determined to take on the Nazis, Texan Bill Ash joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939 and in so doing sacrificed his citizenship. Before long, he was sent to England wherehe flew Spitfires. Shot down over France in March 1942, he survived the crash-landing and, thanks to local civilians, evaded capture for months only to be betrayed to the Gestapo in Paris. Tortured and sentenced to death as a spy, he was saved from the firing squad by the Luftwaffe who sent him to the infamous 'Great Escape' POW camp, Stalag Luft III. It was from there that Bill began his 'tour' of Occupied Europe. Breaking out of a succession of camps, he became one of only a handful of serial escape artists to attempt more than a dozen break-outs - over the wire, under it in tunnels, through it with cutters or simply strolling out of the camp gates in disguise! They were years of extraordinary hardship, frustration and brutality - the penalty for escaping was a long spell in solitary - but throughout it all Bill Ash displayed not just remarkable courage but also an anarchic sense of humour, great humanity and an unstoppable desire for freedom. Honest, funny and exciting, Under the Wire is both a riveting war memoir and a tribute to the bravery and resolve of an entire generation.