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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Writer's strike? Who cares! 'The Wire's' coming back!

Sure, it's a bummer that the writer's strike is still dragging on, and I'm appropriately supportive of the Writer's Guild and their goals. And even if the strike comes to an unexpectedly speedy recovery (blogger Nikki Finke is the go-to barometer for such matters), there's probably going to be a long lag-time waiting for new shows to return in 2008.

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But it's hard to feel too depressed about all that with the knowledge that HBO's "The Wire," one of the best shows on television — make that one of the best shows in the history of television — is returning for its fifth and final season Jan. 6, with little teasers already on the Internet. In my review of the fourth season (released on DVD Dec. 4 to prime the pump), I predicted that it wouldn't be back for a fifth, and boy, am I ever glad to be wrong.

Loosely involving Baltimore detectives and drug dealers, "The Wire's" seasons have each been unified by a different social theme, with the fourth season offering a devastating portrait of education. The fifth will be no different, bringing the press into the fold and introducing a new regular, a newspaper reporter played by character actor Thomas McCarthy (who's most famous for directing the indie charmer The Station Agent). Apparently, central character of boat-rocking Detective JimmyMcNulty (English actor Dominic West), who spent Season Four in the margins — almost like Achilles in his tent in The Iliad (to use a high-falutin' simile) — will be back in the forefront. This preview gives a little taste, including a bit of West's real accent:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/q24T3-GRIsQ" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Equally tantalizing are three Season Five "Wire" prequels (set in 1962, 1985 and 2000, respectively), currently screening on the Season Four DVD's Amazon page. I can't hardly wait.

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