Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Brits love the Wire

The Guardian loves it so much they have a whole page devoted to all things Wire. The show is big enough to cause a row in UK politics. Apparently a Tory shadow minister called Manchester the British Baltimore. Silly of course, but I am happy the show is watched enough to become a reference point in Parliament.

Here is the Guardian's nine reasons to watch, which should convince you if you haven't already started watching. They pick Bubbles over Omar as the character you can't help but love, which I think is right. Here is Irvine Welsh saying that the Wire makes writing on British TV look suck ass. Ok, he says "absolutely shit." It's nice to see that the British wail and bemoan the state of their culture as much as we do.


Citizen Reader said...

Hm, they're watching all our TV and I'm watching all of theirs? Come on, "MI-5" (or "Spooks" as it's called over there) is pretty awesome, and "Coupling," "Father Ted," and "Black Books" are way funnier as sitcoms than pretty much anything to come out of America. (Yup, I'm a traitor.) And what about Dr. Who?

Tripp said...

Hmmm, I have to say that overall I declare the US the winner in the TV show arms race. Sure the Brits were ahead for a long time, but now I feel no shame in chanting "USA, USA" at the DVD aisle.

US Office > UK Office
The Wire > Everything
Sopranos > Most crime
Lost > Dr. Who and all other science fiction
BSG > the same

I'll give you sitcoms, but I don't like sitcoms so it that changes my calculus. MI-5 is great, that is a wonderful show. I also like their miniseries like the delightful State of Play. And we have never had anything remotely like Spaced.

I do think the notion of looking at the what is happening over there (and they looking over here) is healthy. TV producers can nicely poach the best ideas.

Citizen Reader said...

I won't fight you on most of your TV assertions there, Tripp, but no way will I allow that the US Office is better than the UK Office. In the UK version, when the boss asks the accountant Keith what his strengths are, and Keith responds "accounts" (with his weakness being "eczema") that is as perfect as TV gets, and perfectly points out the inanity of performance reviews. The US Office has never produced that small and brilliant a moment of insight. Granted, it has done any okay job sustaining itself over a much longer run than the UK version had to, but that's not really the UK version's fault.

Okay, I have officially given this too much thought. Have you watched "Black Books" yet? Come back and talk to me about British TV when you have, it's brilliant.

Citizen Reader said...

And, you're totally right, of course it's a good idea to be watching each other's TV. Can't hurt in the pursuit of peace, love, and understanding, I would thing.

Tripp said...

OK, I'll give you the office, but I will throw you an Arrested Development curve ball. What do you think of that?

Citizen Reader said...

Zoinks! Foiled. (Well played, you.) I can only continue to parry with Black Books, which is as completely weird as Arrested Development. And set in a bookstore to boot!

It's fairly hard to find but the British police comedy "The Thin Blue Line" was also decidedly surreal and hilarious, and got away with innuendo and vocabulary you'd never have the pleasure of hearing on American TV.

p.s. I'm dying to see the British "State of Play," but am a ways down on the library hold list yet.

Tripp said...

OOooo, well I need to find Black Books (places on hold at library).

The library has no love for the Thin Blue Line, but Netflix does! Huzzah!