Across Racial Lines
Thanks for writing this Nelson. I don't have cable and learned about the show through a tea party with some fellow black female screenwriters who were talking about the show. All they kept lamenting over was "Stringer Bell! Oh, God, why Stringer?"
Curious I read an article about Idris Elba's character and was intrigued. Why would a highly regarded magazine praise of all things, a drug dealer? I went to my favorite video store and rented season 3 and was hooked. I had to go back and start from the beginning. Now I'm waiting to watch the final season as soon as they come out on DVD.
The series was a visual novel too complex for most people to appreaciate. The complexity of all the characters. I cried for the fate of the young dealer Bodie as much as I cried over the fate of the young boys trying to stay away from drug dealing in Season 4. Omar and Stringer Bell are my favorites, probably because the bad guys are always more interesting. But these two "bad guys" had you rooting for them. I have NEVER seen black men on camera as haunting, beautiful, uncompromising and human as Stringer and Omar.
I wish there were more women on the show that were as complex as the guys. Kemah and Snoop are women we never get to met on regular television. It would've been nice to see the range of females as lively as the guys on that show.
I hate to say it, but we won't see TV like this for a minute. To never win an Emmy is an insult to the writers, cast and crew of "The Wire". But at least people will be able to own the collection and show folks what great drama is all about.
Lisa Bolekaja posted 01.08.08
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FURTHER READINGNick Hornby's interview with David Simon (The Believer)
"TV Club" dialogue on The Wire's final season (Slate)
Dan Kois, "Everything You Were Afraid to Ask About The Wire" (Salon)
Nelson George is an author, filmmaker, and television producer. He directed the HBO film Life Support, starring Queen Latifah, and is executive producing a documentary on black women's hair hosted by Chris Rock called Good Hair. He executive produces the American Gangster series for BET and Hip Hop Honors for VH-1. His next book, the memoir City Kid, will be published by Viking in early 2009.More articles by Nelson George