DAR TV: Ranking The Seasons Of The Wire

By @TrueGodImmortal

HBO has been responsible for numerous successful programs over the years. They have a knack for crafting amazing dramas that gain attention and build cult like followings with their audiences. Game Of Thrones, Sex And The City, and The Sopranos all come to mind, but the one show that is revered all across the board with all cultures has to be The Wire. A gritty look at the reality (somewhat) in my hometown city of Baltimore, The Wire showcases the harsh conditions, the corrupt system, and the number of personalities you might encounter in the town. With a total of 5 seasons over the show's duration, The Wire is recognized as one of the greatest shows of all time. With that being said, I wanted to take a look at their seasons and rank them in order. Which season takes the no. 1 spot? Let's get into it.

5. Season 5
(2008, 10 Episodes)

-The final season sits as the worst for the show, but it's still a solid season that provides a fitting ending to the iconic show. With 13 episodes initially announced for the final season, it was soon reduced to 10, and I sometimes wonder if that was a good or bad thing. For the final season of a show that many people consider one of the greatest ever, perhaps a few more episodes would have helped it live up to expectations. Perhaps there was no way for the show to live up to expectations. Whatever the case may be, this season might have been slightly overly ambitious in execution, but it still features a solid amount of death and stories of betrayal, plus a boiling beef between Marlo and Omar carries a large piece of the season. When Omar is killed in the episode "Clarifications" as the season nears an end, things get deeper and deeper for the Stanfield organization. One iconic moment for the show comes when Michael is forced to kill Snoop to stay alive after Marlo ordered Snoop to kill him due to a possible informant being around. The show ends with Michael seemingly being the next in line on the streets, as Marlo is forced out the game, and McNulty retires. Everything comes to an end here in this season and while I think this was a fitting finish, it was really hard to defeat the excellence of the previous seasons. Still, Season 5 was pretty good overall.

4. Season 1
(2002, 13 Episodes)

-The beginning. The genesis. Where it all started. My main gripe with the show initially was that it put a lot of focus on the police and their characters, but as the show played out, you realized it was for the best. If anything, the first season was very slept on, with the first episode being something special and a sign of the greatness to come. The acquittal of D'Angelo Barksdale, the introduction of Stringer Bell, Bubbles, and of course, The Pit. We see the initial beginnings for Wallace and Bodie here, the true start of Omar and how he got down, Avon and his organization, and so much more in this first season. The season closes with Avon back in jail, D'Angelo getting ready to experience his changes for the next season, Stringer still on the street, and Bodie and Poot taking things over for The Pit. Overall, Season 1 is a great starting point, but only a true precursor for what was to truly come for the show.

3. Season 2
(2003, 12 Episodes)

-I actually think that in some ways, the 2nd season of the show is underrated. Sure, it isn't better than the 3rd or 4th season, but it sets the tone for what is to come. Admittedly, I can understand some people and their issue with the focus placed on the stevedores and The Greek's operation does put a small damper on the season. However, the truth of the corruption in this season, as well as the dynamic between Avon Barksdale and his nephew D'Angelo plays a central role early on in the season. D'Angelo doesn't agree with Avon and his tactics and seeing that narrative play out throughout the season is really engaging for the audience. Stringer Bell plays a role in how things break down, and D'Angelo meets an expected end this season as he began distancing himself more and more. Stringer continues his ascension into being the smart and cunning villain that he grows into and tensions do begin to flare between himself and Avon under the surface and there's an interesting dichotomy between Stringer and Proposition Joe as well. If anything, this season is iconic because it sets up story arcs for Stringer, Prop Joe, Brother Mouzone, Omar, Avon, Bubbles, and more heading into the next season. Season 2 isn't the greatest, but it is certainly an amazing watch and legendary it its own right.

2. Season 4
(2006, 13 Episodes)

-While many would consider this season the greatest of the show, I personally would say that season 4 just misses the mark. However, that doesn't take away from the pacing, the storytelling and the rise of Marlo Stanfield and the emergence of Tommy Carcetti as the new mayor. Still, there are some small stories in here that seem to go a bit under the radar or aren't as developed, but overall, I enjoyed watching these things play out. Marlo and his pursuit of Michael for his organization is one that flows through the episodes, while Omar nearly takes the fall for a murder set up Marlo, and Bodie experiences a set of unfortunate events throughout the season before meeting his end in the season finale. That episode, "Final Grades", might be the best episode in the entire show, or at least top 3 during the show's run. Many people feel Season 4 is the apex of the show and it is probably because there is so much occurring throughout and the start of Marlo as the man around town with Michael coming into his own as an enforcer and if you would put this season at no. 1, I'm not mad at that. For me, Season 4 is good enough to be the top choice, but I'm partial to the season before it and I'll explain why. Still, Season 4 is a great watch and one of the best seasons I've seen in television drama history as well.

1. Season 3
(2004, 12 Episodes)

-One of the greatest seasons in the history of television, Season 3 got everything right. Everything. It continued the brilliance of season 2 and set up the greatness of season 4. With the Hamsterdam plot in place, the finale for the legendary character Stringer Bell, Bunny Colvin and the attempt to make things better, alongside tales of deception and betrayal sure to come along, Season 3 embodies everything that is right about The Wire. The truth about Season 3 is that it sets the tone for the rest of the stories that take place after, and shows the crumbling of the empire that was already in place. The most infamous episode of the season has to be "Middle Ground", where everything comes full circle. After Stringer learns of some issues that haven't advanced his business, he approaches Avon with the prospect of taking out Clay Davis. What follows from here is great storytelling including Stringer and his karma coming back after giving up info on Avon and his organization and screwing over others. His demise comes at the hands of Omar and Brother Mouzone, and by the end of the season, Marlo is seen as next in line, Avon is back in jail, and Stringer is no more. Season 3 of The Wire is executed so beautifully that there was no way you could put any other season in this top spot. It's impossible.



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