Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Serious Series Addiction: The Wire, Lost, & The Prisoner (1967)

Despite this being “Film Babble Blog” I do babble about TV shows every now and then. This is one of those times.

I had only 2 New Year’s resolutions this year – to exercise more and to finish all 5 seasons of The Wire. I dug my wife’s old exercise bike out of the garage and set it in front of the TV so I could do both. I had begun The Wire sometime last year but put it on the back burner, not because I didn’t like it but because of the many movies that were ahead of it on my list of priorities.

After hearing so many folks refer to it as “the greatest TV series ever” I decided it was time to fully see what all the fuss is about. Over the last few weeks I’ve been pedaling away on the bike devouring one episode after another of David Simon’s exemplary Baltimore crime drama.

I am now on season 5 episode 4 and have lost over 10 pounds in the process.

I learned that a friend of mine was also making his way through The Wire after he got the full series as a Christmas gift. Talking to him on IM he spoke of other friends that were catching the bug as well.
Then, just this week, Onion AV head writer Nathan Rabin posted a piece for their ongoing “Better Late Than Never” feature about finally watching the show’s first season so it seems the show is slowly but surely searing its way into our collective pop culture psyche.

If you’ve never seen The Wire – it can be a daunting undertaking because it’s very complex with a lot of characters and can be hard to follow at first. It seemingly gives equal time to the good, the bad, and the ugly from sleazy politicians to the cops on the beat right down to the lowest level druggie scum with a level of authenticity that’s astounding. It stands with The Sopranos as a novelistic epic and as one of the most engrossingly addictive shows ever.

The Wire isn’t the only show I’ve been pedaling to recently. Since I’ve had to wait for discs of it to come in the mail from Netflix I’ve been checking out what’s available now on Instant.
I noticed that J.J. Abrams’ popular FOX television show Lost was just added so since I’d never seen it I decided to give it a whirl.

Well, I’ve watched most of season 1 and while I certainly think it’s entertaining in a Gilligan's Island as if written by Stephen King way, I’m not sure if I’m going to keep on plowing through. With their 6th season starting next week, there’s no way I can catch up anytime soon and the idea of trying just tires me out thinking about it. But once I finish The Wire, who knows?

Another series that has been on my “to do” list for a long time is The Prisoner – the original 1967 BBC one not the new AMC re-imagining (though that’s recorded and waiting on my DVR).

I’ve only watched a few episodes of the new Blu ray edition (very nice looking transfer) of the series and so far it’s been a real treat.

Former spy Patrick McGoohan trapped in an idyllic seaside village in which large creepy white balls descend and suffocate those who try to escape, the show earns its cool cult status right from its snazzy swinging start. Check out its awesome opening sequence:

So those are some shows that have been keeping me from the movies lately. Don’t worry though - I’ve got some fine babble concerning actual films coming soon so please stay tuned.

More later...


Jake Munn said...

I too am a fan of The Prisoner, and a huge fan of Lost. I hope you do one day continue with it, it just gets better and better, intriguing and enjoyable. I'm waiting to watch the new series of The Prisoner myself...I hope they do it justice!
Swing by my blog sometime, it's called 'Mis-En-Scene' and talks all things film.

Enjoying reading your posts!

Ed Howard said...

I'm one of those people who keeps meaning to catch up on The Wire. Someday.

I love Lost, and am really excited for the sixth (and final) season. It's hard to entirely recommend it as a series, though, because long sections of the second season are pretty much treading water with subplots and characters that ultimately don't go anywhere. And then, starting a few episodes into the third season, the show's creators set a firm end date, and from there the storytelling became really tight and really complex, and the show just kept getting better and better. The third, fourth and fifth seasons are pretty damn amazing, and if you haven't heard anything about the later storylines, I'd keep it that way until you watch for yourself. Suffice it to say, I never would have guessed from the decent-enough first season and the meandering second one where this show has gone since then, even if in retrospect it makes perfect sense. The last few seasons have just been such solid sci-fi storytelling, packed with great characters. If you can get over the hump of the first two seasons, you've got a fantastic show ahead of you.