The Wire

The Wire : How TV Crime Drama Got Real

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"The Wire" is acknowledged to be one of the great dramas in television history. It is at once a gripping portrayal of the war of attrition between Baltimore cops and drug dealers, and something more ambitious: a uniquely novelistic critique of a divided America. Barack Obama has called it his favourite show. But how are we to think about the politics of "The Wire"? This first in-depth study of its kind explores the way "The Wire" moves the black urban poor to the centre of the story, and thus compels viewers to confront inequality in a way that no previous TV show has done. The title is both a reference to the watershed change that "The Wire" heralds in terms of 'realism' in TV drama, and to the hip hop mantra of 'keeping it real' that infuses the show's politics. Sabin and Gibb explore the show's distinctive moral focus and particularly its concerns with the failure of the war on drugs and its underlying class rage.
Using previously unpublished interviews with David Simon, Ed Burns, George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane, as well as in-depth analyses of episodes from "The Wire"'s five series, they reveal how this most dystopian of shows is also, paradoxically, the most inspiring for the way it underscores television's potential for political engagement.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 134 x 216mm
  • I.B. TAURIS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 25 bw integrated illustrations
  • 184885112X
  • 9781848851122

About Roger Sabin

Roger Sabin is Reader in Popular Culture at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, and is the author of several books. Jane Gibb has lectured in film and television studies in further and higher education, and is Research Support Manager at Central Saint Martins.
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