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Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Recent
Games

Grand Theft HBO

Rockstar may have just borrowed a bit of The Wire's approach to telling the tale of an American landscape for the sake of painting the portrait of America that Grand Theft Auto has always been interested in realizing.

Culture

In Defense of the Influence of 'Difficult Men'

Brett Martin's latest book serves as a reminder of how enlightening dealing with darkness in television can be.

Television

In Defense of Binge-Watching Television

Netflix's House of Cards has proven that the practice of spending 48 to 72 hours with a specific set of characters and stories isn't just the future of television -- it's also the here and now.

Television

'Fringe': It's a No Brainer

At first I thought there were just too many episodes of Fringe that began with someone turning into a pile of slime.

Books

Populist Revolts and Philosophy: 'The Year of Dreaming Dangerously'

As in his previous work, critic and philosopher Slavoj Žižek challenges the status quo, yet similar to street activists, he sidesteps what must be done for practical reform.

Music

Rock 'n' Roles

How can today's top TV actors get into character? By listening to these themed playlists, of course.

Reviews

The Mayhem Done in the Name of the Nation of Islam: 'Killing the Messenger'

The Chauncey Bailey Project did the work that generations of Oakland police and media had failed to do: methodically piece together and expose the true nature of Your Black Muslim Bakery.

Television

In Defense of the First 11 Episodes of Season Five of 'Mad Men'

With Mad Men's season finalé set for Sunday, we look back at how polarizing the show's return to television has been.

Television

In Defense of David Simon and the Legacy of 'The Wire'

In light of David Simon's recent comments on its intent to 'stir actual shit', we revisit how important The Wire should be.

Television

Oh, Indeed: ‘The Wire’ and False Choices

Grantland’s ‘Smacketology’ bracket for determining the ‘greatest character’ from The Wire is an exercise in futility; nevertheless, it begs the question(s): What makes a character great, and how can there be only one?

Television

'How to Make It in America'? Well for Starters, Don't Make Hopeful Television

The HBO dramedy How to Make It in America, despite being one of television's best programs, could not make it because it was too hopeful and joyful to survive a culture of cyncism.

Culture

The 'Down-Low' Is Still Kept Down and Low in Black Communities

Despite gay rights progress on many fronts, the problems of black LGBT people are still largely invisible, as they are often shunned by the black communities from which they come.

Culture

Beyond Jodie Dallas: TV's 10 Most Important LGBT Characters

Several "best" or "favorite" LGBT TV character lists have popped up in recent years, but they don't always include the most important LGBT characters. So, we pay tribute to the ten(ish) most significant LGBT characters in US television history.

Reviews

Drawn Together: Cornell's "Demon Knights" and the Ideal of Camelot

In Demon Knights Paul Cornell not only dramatizes the idea of Camelot, but exquisitely reenacts it at one of the oldest comicbook publishers.

Television

Five TV on DVD Shows Worth Watching (or Rewatching) This Summer

What does the savvy, obsessive or lonely TV fanatic do with this free time? If you're inclined to watch TV on DVD this summer, I recommend these five.

Books

Reality, and Then Some, as Conveyed in 'The Wire' and 'Oliver Twist'

The spoonful of sugar that The Wire employs in relating its harsh theme is all wrapped up in that medicine's themes of fatalism. The humor employed in Oliver Twist highlights the opposite: the needlessness of the system that allows orphans to starve to death.

Television

J.F.K. Symbolism on 'The Sopranos'

As both a desired endgame to the American dream as well as the tragic flaw underlying that dream, the mythology of J.F.K. crops up on multiple occasions in The Sopranos to show the self-contradictions of the show’s characters.

Nathan Pensky
Television

HBO or TV: Or How 'The Wire' Is Not a Novel

Although many fans, critics, and scholars have compared some television series to novels -- though perhaps none more than HBO's The Wire -- Cynthia C. Scott challenges the analogy

Cynthia C. Scott
Television

Gotta Be 'In Treatment'

Loss is a necessary part of life, sure, but must it be a necessary part of TV?

Television

'The Wire' As American Noir

HBO's The Wire’s intentional difficulty and rigor -- along with academia’s ongoing love affair with cultural studies -- might very well explain its emerging as a centerpiece in a growing number of courses at many colleges and universities in the United States.

Trevor Dodge
Television

New Jurisdiction: How Will the Dark, Brooding 'Luther' Fare Stateside?

Airing on BBC America later in the year, the BBC's recent dark crime series, Luther, deserves to do as well stateside as it's doing here in the UK.

Television

Brava, Bravo!

Those Bravo executives are tricksters, fooling me into believing familiarity breeds contentment, not contempt. I'm totally hooked.

Television

Fast Train to Nowhere: Watching 'The Wire' Aesthetically

Every scene, no matter how seemingly throwaway, no matter how seemingly unimportant, contributes to a larger vision, a complex set of patterns and narratives. Which is why The Wire is both totally fascinating and utterly unrealistic.

James Arthur Williams
Television

Yes, TV is art. Can we talk about wrestling now?

TNA's live broadcast against WWE on January 4 could be a turning point for American TV wrestling. One shot alone won't make it through the WWE's bovine skull, but at least someone's started firing.

Books

The Way Home by George Pelecanos

There's not a saint here, but most of the sinners have saintly moments.

Film

20 Questions: Paul Ben-Victor

We learn at PopMatters 20 Questions that in addition to his acting skills, Ben-Victor has a knack for doing wild makeup designs and body art.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Off the Radar - The Top 30 DVDs of 2008

Oddly enough, while the major studios continue scratching their heads over how to sell yet another new format (Blu-ray) to disinterested consumers, several outside distributors made sure that this would be a digital year to remember.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The Necktie and the Noose

Will Barack Obama face the accusations that black professionals sometimes face of abandoning their heritage? Does it hinge on his choice of tie?

Daniel McNeil
Television

Women and 'The Wire'

Why the most intelligent show on TV, a compelling exploration of the circumstances and institutional pressures that make people who they are, gets an "F" in Gender Studies.

Sophie Jones
Reviews

The Wire: The Complete Fifth Season

The dense mythology, painstakingly created over five novelistic seasons, has enough drama packed inside to be easily spun out for the next five, ten, 15 years.

Reviews

The Wire

In David Simon's indictment of American capitalism, numbers -- say, crime stats and school test scores -- no longer have an epistemic value, they don't refer to any external reality.

Jesse Hicks
Reviews

The Wire: The Complete Fourth Season

The 4th season DVD shows why The Wire is the best show on TV.

Bruce Dancis
Reviews

The Wire

This is the consequence of America's broken systems: a young boy staring into the darkness, wondering what else his future might bring.

Jesse Hicks

Reviews
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