DVD Review: The Wire season four

 

I should warn you; this is not so much a review as it is a valentine to an incredible season from the best show on TV.Over the course of the first three seasons, The Wireset the bar pretty damn high. They created rich, dynamic characters, that never fit the clichéd archetypes we commonly see, and put them into complex stories that go beyond the simply parameters of good and bad.But season four not only rises to the challenge, but actually raises the bar to a level that will likely not be cleared by another show anytime soon.

All of the regulars are back, with some new faces as well.

Season four revolves around four 12-year-old boys as they head into eighth grade. As the season goes on, each of these boys find his life heading down a different path, often not the one that seems obvious.

Whereas previous seasons have looked closely at the politics of the law enforcement and the battle on drugs, this season gives us a rather brutal look at education, one that can’t help but leave you feeling more than a little depressed. These kids start out behind the 8 ball and have an uphill battle even if they are motivated to learn to improve their lot in life. Since many have no such motivation, their future is pretty much sealed before they even complete middle school.

This storyline could have been very preachy, but the four young actors do an amazing job and really bring the characters to life, making them so real that you can’t help but become emotionally invested in their future. While we have come to expect this from The Wire, seeing actors in their early to mid teens deliver the goods in such a compelling way is damn impressive.

But while these boys are a focal point, their stories are simply some of the many that occupy the season. Surprisingly enough, never does the show become convoluted or confusing. It manages to always give us clarity in the storylines and keep them on track.

Credit must be given to the writers for developing such rich storylines that evolve from one episode to the next. All of the characters are fleshed out and, as I said, do not fit into neat stereotypes. Not all of the dealers are evil, not all of the cops good. We see cops that are not particularly likeable (Some are downright assholes) work hard to uphold the law, while dealers that are likely decent folk slinging crack because that is what they know.

That no Emmys were handed up for this is perhaps the greatest crime in television.

Quite simply, season four cemented The Wire’s claim on the title of “the best crime show in the history of television.” What we have here isn’t simply “must see ” TV but “must see again and again” TV.

If you own seasons one through three, you must buy this. If you have never visited the world of The Wire, order all of them now and prepare yourself for crime television nirvana.

Dickens and Shakespeare would approve.
Order The Wire – The Complete Fourth SeasonJeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.