Saturday, February 07, 2009

What TV show was based on the writings of Euripedes and Sophocles?

Well, it ain't American Idol.
I finally just finished watching all 5 seasons and it was a heckuva show, more like one long show, but with each episode adding to the show and no cliffhangers. Written by people with experience in the fields they were writing about (reporters, teachers, politicians) the show and characters were realistic. Afterwords, I watched an interview with David Simon, the creator and writer of the show. He talks a lot about how the show isn't based in the Shakespearean tradition of character driven plot like most TV show, but instead is based on the classic Greek themes of the institution. In this style of story a character is secondary to the institutions that make up the society. Thus we can see a major character get whacked by a nobody, unfair things happen to good people, and people worn down by the system they have entered. Simon explains about how The Wire attempts to illustrate how modern institutions have failed to serve the people and have become an end to themselves. We see this in the show when the characters attempt to take on the system and are thwarted (although I disagree with Simon's claims that the institutions have become impermeable and even look to the show for examples of how some characters have maintained individual ideals while working in their roles). Another interesting thing Simon talks about is making the camera secondary in the filming. He rails against the 'shaky camera' style of "realism" that began with NYPD Blue (I wonder if he read this in cyberdiarrhea a couple of years back?) . He talks about in one episode how the camera panned ahead to a character who was about to make a joke and he realized that "the camera cannot know more than the show". Perhaps this is another theme of the institution (in this case the story) being bigger than the individual(in this case the camera or viewer). Anyway, he makes a lot of other interesting points, especially about newspapers and how the internet is no real substitute for real journalism. It's clear Simon takes TV seriously and The Wire reflects this.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

just watched that whole thing. he's a smart cat. i'm now downloading the second season.


5:49 AM  
Blogger omniriver said...

...get 'er done.

Snoop beyond tough. plain raw street brass tacks. may look into here recently published autobiography.

3:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home