For those who watched the show almost two decades after the original airing, as I did, or those who will watch it now for the first time on Netflix Instant Watch, the elements that make it addicting might not be so clear. It’s because it’s a well-made soap opera.
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The Wire performs what television can formally be, what it formally wants to be, how it wants to go. Television is not suited for the climax and dénouement that Hollywood loves so much. We watch television after work, in our pajamas, in our most intimate settings; it is intertwined with our lives. Television is not up there; it’s right here, in our living rooms.