Look who's back.
Jimmy McNulty, Kima Greggs, Lt. Daniels, Bunk Moreland, Bunny Colvin, Rhonda Pearlman, Lester Freamon, Herc Hauk, Ellis Carver, Prez Pryzbylewski, Tommy Carcetti, Marlo Stanfield, Cutty Wise, Commander Burrell, Deputy Commander Rawls, Bubbles, State Senator Clay Davis, Bodie Broadus, Mayor Royce, Leandor Sydnor and Omar Little.
And it looks like the great novelist-screenwriter Richard Price (“Sea of Love,” “Mad Dog and Glory,” “Kiss of Death,” “Clockers,” “Ransom,” “Shaft,” “Freedomland”) is back to help things along.
… This is my favorite show on TV and, I think, the best show ever on television. I own the first three seasons on DVD, and I’ve watched each of them several times. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen on television to a big, thick, compelling novel, the kind you can’t stop reading. Like The Stand, or Freedomland, or Blood Meridian. … I’m flat-out begging you, all of you, to watch this season. PLEASE. In fact, even if you DON’T watch it, could you tune your TV to HBO at 10pm Sunday night? Just for an hour? Just to give this show the ratings? Yes, I’m asking you to do this for selfish reasons. I want to see season 5. And I promise you, if you go back and watch the first three seasons (only 13 episodes each!) you’ll want this to go five seasons. … I’ll say this: The Wire is one of the few times you’ll watch TV and not feel like the people making TV think you’re a fucking idiot.
… When television history is written, little else will rival "The Wire," a series of such extraordinary depth and ambition that it is, perhaps inevitably, savored only by an appreciative few. Layering each season upon the previous ones, creator David Simon conveys the decaying infrastructure of his hometown Baltimore in searing and sobering fashion -- constructing a show that's surely as impenetrable to the uninitiated as it is intoxicating to the faithful. In its fourth year, the program adds the school system to cops, drugs, unions, the ailing middle class, and big-city politics. Prepare to be depressed and dazzled.…
USA Today gives it four (out of four) stars and says:
… The worst terrors are the ones we breed at home. Brilliant, scathing, sprawling, The Wire has turned our indifference to urban decay into a TV achievement of the highest order. The show's impact doesn't always register fully in individual episodes, wonderful as most are. But taken as a whole — not just over this premiering fourth season but over the entire run of the series —The Wire triumphs both as art and indictment. …
… While gritty and complex is usually critic shorthand for smart and daring television that doesn't talk down to its audience, it too often translates to readers as "Eat your vegetables." "The Wire," though, isn't vegetables or fiber or any other part of a balanced diet. If it were, I wouldn't have gobbled down all 13 of this season's episodes in a few short days. What "The Wire" is, is the best show on television, and perhaps surprisingly for a series whose focus is often on casual corruption and its not-so-casual consequences, one of the most entertaining.
The Seattle Times says:
… "The Wire" isn't just impressive TV, it's impressive art, and it shows just how far the medium has come — and where, one hopes, it's going. If someone liked a television show back in the day, they'd say, a little embarrassed, "It's as good as a movie!" These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything at the multiplex as thoughtful as what's on HBO. Their writers can take advantage of 100-plus hours of run-time to craft sprawling, season-spanning plot arcs, impressively subtle character development and multiple narrative threads. As an art form, the long-format TV drama comes a lot closer to literature than to film. In the case of "The Wire," the best analogy might be the serialized 19th-century novel, the kind of thing that kept Dickens fans lined up at newsstands in anticipation of the next installment. Like Dickens' London, the Baltimore depicted in "The Wire" lives and breathes, as rich, textured and immediate as the world outside our door. Now, if we can just get some more people to watch it.
… Over the course of its first three seasons, "The Wire" on HBO has been one of the great achievements in television artistry, a novelistic approach to storytelling in a medium that rewards quick, decisive and clear storytelling. It has never flinched from ambition - dissecting a troubled American city, Baltimore, as well as and certainly more truly than any history book could have. It has tackled the drug war in this country as it simultaneously explores race, poverty and "the death of the American working class," the failure of political systems to help the people they serve and the tyranny of lost hope. Few series in the history of television have explored the plight of inner-city African Americans and none - not one - has done it as well. On the off chance that you need to be reminded, this is not "Desperate Housewives."
Episode #38: "Boys of Summer"
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Other HBO playdates: Sept. 12 (11:30 p.m.), 13 (midnight), 15 (10:00 p.m.), 16 (11:00 p.m.) and 29 (8:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Sept. 10 (11:00 p.m.) and 11 (9:00 p.m.)
Four boys from West Baltimore - Michael (Tristan Wilds), Namond (Julito McCullum), Randy (Maestro Harrell) and Dukie (Jermaine Crawford) - play out their summer vacation in the streets as the fall school semester approaches. Having failed to capture a potentially valuable homing pigeon, the boys are stirred to action when Dukie is beaten up, and Randy concocts a retaliation plan against the rival gang. The action is slower at Bodie's (JD Williams) corner, giving young Namond an excuse to take off early from his "summer job" as a runner. Meanwhile, Marlo (Jamie Hector) has solved the problem that baffled Stringer Bell: how to maintain discipline (i.e., murders) without bringing police attention. At the detail office, Freamon (Clarke Peters) and Sydnor (Corey Parker Robinson) press Pearlman (Deirdre Lovejoy) to issue City Hall subpoenas, while Daniels' (Lance Reddick) replacement, James Asher (Gene Terinoni), surveys the blueprints to his dream house. With the mayoral race heading into its final weeks, Mayor Royce (Glynn Turman) and his primary challenger, Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen), hit decidedly different campaign trails. Carcetti's deputy campaign manager, Norman Wilson (Reg. E. Cathey), and his campaign guru, Theresa D'Agostino (Brandy Burre), try to keep their candidate focused, despite the odds. Prez (Jim True-Frost) preps for a new career in higher education, while McNulty (Dominic West) turns down a promotion.
Teleplay by David Simon; story by David Simon & Ed Burns; directed by Joe Chappelle.
Episode #39: "Soft Eyes"
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 17 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Other HBO playdates: Sept. 19 (11:30 p.m.), 20 (midnight), 22 (10:00 p.m.), 23 (1:00 a.m.) and 29 (9:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Sept. 18 (9:00 p.m.) and 21 (8:00 p.m.)
Herc's (Domenick Lombardozzi) soft-duty job with the mayor takes an unexpectedly hard turn. Despite the potential damage to her career, Pearlman provides Freamon (Clarke Peters) and Sydnor with subpoena ammunition for their "grizzly-bear" hunt in City Hall. Carcetti concentrates on games he can win; Namond gets some grooming advice from his father, Wee-Bey (Hassan Johnson); Marlo plays Robin Hood with the neighborhood kids, though Michael isn't taking; Bubbles (Andre Royo) brings an apprentice into his mobile-emporium business; Cutty (Chad L. Coleman) juggles his landscaping job with a volunteer gig as a boxing mentor, eyeing Michael as a pupil; Prez braces for his first day as a schoolteacher. At the televised mayoral debate, Carcetti drops a bombshell on the mayor.
Teleplay by David Mills; story by Ed Burns & David Mills; directed by Christine Moore.
Episode #40: "Home Room"
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Other HBO playdates: Sept. 26 (11:30 p.m.), 27 (midnight), 29 (10:00 p.m.) and 30 (11:15 p.m.)
HBO2 playdate: Sept. 25 (9:00 p.m.)
With his lead dwindling in the polls, Royce resorts to extreme measures to stall Carcetti's momentum. At Bodie's corner, Michael proves adept as a runner, with both Bodie and Marlo taking notice. A re-up bodega is put under surveillance by Omar (Michael K. Williams) and Greggs (Sonja Sohn), for different reasons. Rawls (John Doman) replaces Asher with a "company man," Charles Marimow (Boris McGiver), who pushes a new agenda on the detail, to Freamon and Greggs' dismay. A domesticated McNulty invites Bunk (Wendell Pierce) over for dinner, which ends with the two remembering the good old days at a familiar spot. Randy enjoys a productive first day of school, though Prez, the new teacher, isn't so fortunate. Herc reaps an unexpected benefit, courtesy of the mayor. Colvin (Robert Wisdom) contemplates trading his new job in the private sector for one that gets him back on the streets.
Teleplay by Richard Price; story by Ed Burns & Richard Price; directed by Seith Mann.