Saturday, February 26, 2005

Not TV Blogging

Matthew Yglesias has been a persistent and thoughtful booster for the HBO series The Wire. I went out and bought Season One of the show based mainly on his raves. I've since seen every episode and can testify that Matt is right. The Wire is television of a rare and high order: a portrait of many layers of city life told largely through the reflexes of a police procedural.

It's powerful story-telling at the service of a rich story. An incredible series.

Before I was converted into a "The Wire"-phile, I had already succumed to the rarified pleasures of HBO's Deadwood. It's both more abstract and more earthy than The Wire, and I could be convinced it's the best western ever captured, and one of the best things ever to hit what is now paranoically called my "monitor."

The New Yorker recently featured a profile of the creator of Deadwood, David Milch. It's fascinating and only heightens my interest in the series. Milch is a complicated guy.

It's well worth the read. Too many interesting things to even excerpt, but I'll rip this Milch quote out to entice you:
"You know, people say that my writing is dark. And for me it's quite the opposite. It sees light in darkness and it doesn't try to distort darkness. The essential thing is that the seeing itself is joyful."
Deadwood is a real place, and many of the characters and places in the series were really there in 1876-1877 .

As for the swearing, Milch says it's necessary. I agree, though I tend to believe Geoffrey Nunberg when he says it's not quite the way they would have sworn back in the day. But if people on TV today were swearing as they actually were in the 1870s, we'd all be baffled or under-profaned. So the swearing has the impact of the past swearing without the actual words they used back then.

Still, don't get so sucked up totally by Deadwood fever that you ignore The Wire. It's a masterful series. Don't burn The Wire!

Of course, regular readers will know of my fondness for British comedy, so I will point you to BBC Radio and particularly to the "Knowing Me, Knowing You" radio series from 1992 featuring the incomparable Alan Partridge. His shallowness will make you feel oh so deep.

No comments:

Web Analytics