New York's Museum of the Moving Image analyses The Wire

The Museum of the Moving Image in New York has published a few items about The Wire. There are video essays about the credit sequences for all five seasons: one, two, three, four and five. Yes, that's nerdy but that's the effect this show can have on people. There are a couple of interesting insights in each one. Then there are two short articles about the series. This one, by cinema professor Dana Polan, examines the cyclical nature of narratives in The Wire and contains spoilers for anyone who hasn't yet seen the end of season five:

"The Wire is strikingly bereft of a central figure from whose perspective the story is told and whose voyage of self-awareness provides its raison d’etre. Instead it suggests that in the complexly knit fabric that is the urban environment, any one figure is little more than a place-holder, a token that can always be replaced by someone else."

The second article, by author filmmaker and producer Nelson George, is spoiler-free and looks at race, a central theme of The Wire but one that was seldom explicit:

"Whether it was the relationships between drug lords Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell or between Mayor Clarence Royce and his police commissioner Ervin Burrell or among the doomed high school boys of Season 4, The Wire offered views of these African-American men that is only surpassed, in my mind, by the collected works of the late playwright August Wilson. (My only complaint is that too few of these indelible characters were female.)"

Finally, in case you missed it, last weekend's Observer carried an interview with George Pelecanos, the novelist and one of the writers on The Wire. Among other things, the story claims that the episodes of The Wire with the fewest black characters got the highest ratings. I can't see how that's possible given that the cast was almost entirely black but, if true, it's a depressing fact.