Sunday, April 15, 2007

Paying homage to the greatest show on TV

The rains that wiped out the game in Baltimore also swept through where I live in New York, and trust me, it was glum. Luckily, I had The Soul of Baseball to cheer me up. I'm reviewing it for an Atlanta-based magazine called Sports Unlimited, and so far, it's about what you'd expect from the nation's best sports columnist writing about one of baseball's greatest ambassadors. Then again, I'm only two-thirds of the way through (I'll be done by tonight), so the book may yet exceed my already lofty expectations.

Before we leave Baltimore behind, I'm obligated to say that for all its crime (No. 2 among big cities, behind only Detroit... where the Royals are now), summer humidity and failing public school system, the place known as "Charm City" will always, always have a spot in my heart for its role (it's the main character) in the greatest show on TV, The Wire. Disagree with that last sentence if you must, but just know that 1) you'd be in the vast minority, and 2) no one who has seen The Wire can argue it isn't one of the five most important shows in American TV history... and I'm talking about truly important, the stuff that sociologists will one day use as primary text. As Brian Lowry of Variety puts it, "When television history is written, little else will rival 'The Wire.'"

But of course, you don't have to take my word for it. (Spoilers within links.) The show has inspired one of the best blogs I've ever seen, Heaven and Here, and this, perhaps the finest piece of writing I've ever seen in a blog. The New York Times ("a beautiful, brave series), Post ("one of the finest TV shows ever made") and Daily News all agree that The Wire is nonpareil, and they never agree on anything. Soon-to-be-Oprah guest Jason Whitlock is on board, too, as is Bill Simmons (Google him if you must).

Hell, I can't get enough... and if you're like me and can't either, here's the largest Wire news archive I can find (pun definitely not intended). Now if we can only get the Emmys to see the light (but please, don't get me started on that topic).

We'll be revisiting The Wire when the Royals return to Baltimore for their makeup game, probably either April 19 or August 6.

POSTSCRIPT: There's nothing like a link in Royals Review (1,000+ visitors/day) to get the site counter spinning. Thanks guys.

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