With video on demand and Netflix and DVD boxed sets and so on, there's no reason to ever feel a TV show has passed you by. Case in point: "The Wire." To my everlasting shame, I didn't start watching "The Wire" when it first began on HBO. Then I missed the second season. Then the third season came out and I began to feel silly. How much acclaim did I have to listen to before finally jumping on board?
For a serialized show like "The Wire," this might have been impossible in the past. The train had already left the station. But now I had season one and two on DVD (a bonus of my job) and at least I knew enough to keep them at hand. Finally, I tackled them. These shows are slow to build, the plots are complex and it helps to have someone to discuss the shows with (heck, that's half the fun of TV -- talking with people about what happened this "week"). Some of the dialogue is mumbled so on DVD I've even backtracked and used the English language subtitles to clear up any confusion. (Hey, I'm street, but you can't be up on all the latest slang.)
Slowly the characters started to grow on me and by the fourth or fifth episode I was having a lot of fun (it was clearly intelligent and well-done from the start). By the eighth or ninth episodes I was deeply involved. And at the end of the season I was primed to jump into season two. Remarkably, it was even better. Then I had to wait almost a year for the already aired season three to come out on DVD. To my surprise, the shown just got better and better. And now I've got the first six episodes of season four, a heart-breaker that focuses in part on the Baltimore school system -- all seen through the eyes of cops and the drug dealers and criminals they're facing off against. I've only watched the first four episodes, but they are truly outstanding. No wonder the NY Post is claiming that this season of "The Wire" may be the best single season of TV. Ever. In history. True hyperbole, until you've seen it.