Saturday, March 8, 2008

Special Report: The Devil Down In The Hole

I may have been late to the party, but I've come to the same conclusion as many others. "The Wire" is the greatest series in the history of television. The series finale is tomorrow and while I was happy that "The Sopranos" (the second-best series ever) went out on top, I'm very unhappy over this one. To pay tribute, I'm doing a group of Your List Sucks! specials. Should go without saying that spoilers are included, so if you haven't watched the show, close this page and go onto Netflix instead.

  • Top 15 Characters -- A top 5 or 10 list is impossible because there are so many great ones. Even a top 15 leaves out tons and tons of them like Carver, Sydnor, Herk, Levy, D'Angelo, etc. One of the main strengths of the show is the intricacy of its world.
    • 15. Walon -- I bumped Marlo for Bubs' sponsor, but I just love this guy. He's so, just, real.
    • 14. Ervin Burrell -- He stands for everything wrong with police bureaucracy, doing what he can to get himself the extra bit of glory.
    • 13. Randy Wagstaff -- The boy trying to be good, but stuck in the realities of his life as a foster child. No scene in the history of the show has been more depressing than when Bunk visited Randy this season and we saw the punk he's been forced to become.
    • 12. Chris Partlow -- The philosophical muscle, with some hidden dark past that ended up catching up with him.
    • 11. Michael Lee -- Chris' protege who started out determined to stay clean until he found out he was good at hurting people.
    • 10. Russell "Stringer" Bell -- We first see him in the opening scenes of the first episode, intimidating a witness in his business-like style. He tried to break away from the hood through his money, but his best friend wouldn't let him leave.
    • 9. Bodie Broadus -- The young up-and-coming dealer who acts bigger than he is, but ultimately goes with the flow. He starts to realize he has no future in front of him and his cry for help brings Jimmy back into the game.
    • 8. Jimmy McNulty -- The alcoholic, so passionate-he's-insane, stop-at-nothing main character. I'm probably disrespecting him by putting him this low.
    • 7. Dennis "Cutty" Wise -- The moral role model for Michael and the other kids in the neighborhood. Cutty is one of the few characters that makes you smile every time he's on the screen.
    • 6. Norman Wilson -- The cynical, wise-ass Mayoral aide who clues us in on what's really going on in City Hall.
    • 5. Bunk Moreland -- The hands-down funniest character on the show, he's the yin to Jimmy's yang.
    • 4. Clay Davis -- Sheeeeeeeeeeeit, he made that word an art form unto itself. He really came into his own even more during the last season.
    • 3. Lester Freamon -- "Smooth Lester Cool", as Kima once called him, is the man, period. He's the calculating mind that works so well with Jimmy's mania.
    • 2. Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins -- Bubs is used as the archetype of the street junkie and seems to be (I hope) the one shining light of hope at the end.
    • 1. Omar Little -- The gay, shotgun-toting ghetto Robin Hood stands miles above everyone else.
  • Top 5 Moments
    • 5. The "F***" Scene -- In Season 1, Bunk and McNulty go to investigate a shooting death away from downtown that could be related to the Barksdale crew. They move around the scene, trying to determine all of the angles, and all they say for a minute or two are different forms of the F-word.
    • 4. Night in Hamsterdam -- David Simon and the other writers do an amazing job in Season 3 of using one area where drugs are "legalized" to show all of the horrors of the inner-city drug trade. Hell can't be any worse.
    • 3. Stringer's Death -- After he finds out that Stringer is going legit and arranged for D'Angelo to be killed in jail, Avon sets it up for Brother Mouzone and Omar to meet Stringer in an abandoned building. Bell's money and power mean nothing in the face of two hate-filled killing machines.
    • 2. Wallace's Death -- The young Wallace talks to the police and is killed by his friends Poot and Bodie on Stringer's orders. This was one of those moments that showed us that, indeed, the show is willing to go where nothing else ever has.
    • 1. Omar -- The scene two episodes ago that left every "Wire" fan crushed for a week. Fitting though, that the superman would be taken out in a random (and graphic) manner by some angry little kid.
  • The Seasons Ranked -- Keep in mind that the worst season of "The Wire" is better than any other season of any other show besides maybe the best seasons of "The Sopranos".
    • 5. Season 2 -- The port of Baltimore is examined. We learn how the drugs (and other things) get into the city and we have our first, and maybe only, unsympathetic villains in the Greeks. This season was such a weird left turn after the first.
    • 4. Season 5 -- The media is examined and everything is wrapped up. McNulty goes crazy and cracks finally show in the Stanfield organization as Marlo gets power-hungry. Plus David Simon settles some scores with The Baltimore Sun and its owners, the Tribune Co.
    • 3. Season 1 -- The drug trade and police bureaucracy are examined. We meet the characters and see the frustrations of using a wire to fight a problem that is obviously as much a part of the city as the government.
    • 4. Season 4 -- Education is examined. Most people prefer this season, but I have it as a close second. It is definitely the most gut-wrenching as we follow four kids and realize that there really is no hope.
    • 5. Season 3 -- The political system is examined. We watch Carcetti's rise, the strained relationship between Stringer and Avon, and Bunny Colvin's Hamsterdam experiment. The best actual crime drama is in this season.

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