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HBO (ended 2008)

Which is best, Wire, Soprano's, or Deadwood?

Which of these is the best HBO series:

  • Avatar of Slobberchops

    Slobberchops

    [1]Mar 7, 2008
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    I just listened to Bill Simmons discuss The Wire with Jason Whitlock (available on ESPN.com), and found it very enjoyable. During their conversation, Simmons mentioned Allan Seppinwall of the NY Star-Ledger. On his blog, there is a debate between him, Matt Zoller Seitz, and Andrew Johnston on the "supremecy" of The Wire (Seppinwall), Deadwood (Zoller Seitz) and Soprano's (Johnston). For me, naturally there is no doubt (The Wire all the way), but I thought the conversation interesting.

    The page on Seppinwall's site:

    http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2008/03/these-are-daves-i-know-wire-vs-sopranos.html

    And the conversation (audio on the page, along with a transcript):

    http://mattzollerseitz.blogspot.com/2008/03/david-vs-david-vs-david-or-which-is.html

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  • Avatar of Halloweenbaby

    Halloweenbaby

    [2]Mar 7, 2008
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    Definitely, THE WIRE.

    I must admit, I didn't watch Deadwood. I tried but didn't get into it. As for The Sopranos, I loved the show (seen every episode)but it definitely had hit or miss episodes/seasons.

    The Wire has CONSISTENTLY been an excellent show. Making you love, hate, love to hate, or hate that you love, it's characters. Each season better than the last (with the exception of 4th - which was the best television I've watched maybe ever)! That being said, the 5th season was still very good and engaging.

    The only show that I would compare The Wire to in terms of brilliance would be HBO's Rome. Other than that, Sopranos can't hold a candle to this show. And again, I loved the Sopranos.

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  • Avatar of lawgotham

    lawgotham

    [3]Mar 7, 2008
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    The Wire hands down...a social study of a failing city. Dead wood was a fine show that should have been given another season, The Sopraon's was excellent as well. Actually, HBO does a pretty good job with it's shows, Big Love is good, Carnivale was great, but unwatched, that's the dramas of course. The only dud that comes to mind is John From Cinncinatti.
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  • Avatar of nicmar19422

    nicmar19422

    [4]Mar 7, 2008
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    The Wire no question. I really liked Deadwood I gave a fresh new spin on the Western which has been diminished to an endangered spices on television, I like the fact mixed with fiction but it was not The Wire. the Sopranos was the first real hint of what HBO drama could be intelligent, and entertaining at the same time, but I feel that it lost a lot of momentium after season three. The Wire has as someone else put it transended television. The chacters are deeper and more layered that anything that has ever been and probably will ever be seen on television. Where else could a gay criminal captivate audiances where else do we really stop and look at the life of a dopw feind and see what they go through on the streets Also The Wire has shown the harsh reality of the dying Amrican city in all it's brutal glory drugs violence but also the personal touches we have all come to cherish. in conclusion the Sopranos and Deadwood were good show and maybe even great show but they were not the Wire
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  • Avatar of AG19

    AG19

    [5]Mar 7, 2008
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    You really can't guess what the answer is gonna be on The Wire fourm?

    I vote Deadwood (never seen it). Then American Idol. Then MAYBE The Wire. Sorry, but The Wire just doesn't stack up in suspense and quality writing to American Idol.

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  • Avatar of Monta8

    Monta8

    [6]Mar 8, 2008
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    AG19 wrote:

    You really can't guess what the answer is gonna be on The Wire fourm?

    I vote Deadwood (never seen it). Then American Idol. Then MAYBE The Wire. Sorry, but The Wire just doesn't stack up in suspense and quality writing to American Idol.

    LMAO at American Idol. I'm sure no one around this site should or takes you serious.
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  • Avatar of peekone

    peekone

    [7]Mar 8, 2008
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    The Wire, without a doubt. The thing with The Sopranos, it had way too many self-contained episodes, and didn't let smaller stories play out over the entire season. Simply, just doesn't have the depth and scope of The Wire. However, I think that it's symbolism/metaphor's and acting is far superior. Also, I look at The Soprano's more as art, whereas The Wire is more realistic and a type of American city study/essay, mixed with the makings of a classic novel.
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  • Avatar of AG19

    AG19

    [8]Mar 8, 2008
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    Monta8 wrote:
    AG19 wrote:

    You really can't guess what the answer is gonna be on The Wire fourm?

    I vote Deadwood (never seen it). Then American Idol. Then MAYBE The Wire. Sorry, but The Wire just doesn't stack up in suspense and quality writing to American Idol.

    LMAO at American Idol. I'm sure no one around this site should or takes you serious.

    Slap yourself and go away.

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  • Avatar of AG19

    AG19

    [9]Mar 8, 2008
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    I've never actually seen Deadwood so I won't comment on it, but I do think that The Wire is better than The Sopranos. That said, I think The Shield one ups The Wire.

    1. The Shield

    2. The Wire

    3. The Sopranos

    I think it also depends on what you're looking for. The Shield is the perfect mix of character depth and interesting plot for me. The Sopranos has great character depth but a lot of boring stories, and The Wire had great stories but a lot of boring characters.

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  • Avatar of nicmar19422

    nicmar19422

    [10]Mar 8, 2008
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    this is one of thoes cases were we must agree to disagree in my opinion the shield while it is a show I enjoy is no were near the quality of the Wire the realism and social commentary is just not on the same level. I know that Bunny Colvin's Hampsterdam and even McNulty's fake killer this year are a stretch but they never felt that way at the time. I do not feel the same way about the Shield the fact that it took five years for IAD to get on to Vick and the fact that if a police captian thought that one of his men killed another cop therw is no way he would ever drop it, when Terry was killed it was a big deal for all of two shows and then droped until season five. Also do you really think the beatings and intimidation would work every time or that there would not be other police divisions looking in to drugs and gangs in LA and that one group of cops could provide that level of protection on their own. next is there no Levey in this world the gang members have no one to push these brutality complaints you would think at least one or two of Vicks arrestes would be over turned on this basis.and why do Dutch and Claudett handle every case not assigned to the strike team are they the only dectives assigned to the Barn the cover homicide sex crimes and robbery Also the Sheild did tend to repeat it self in the main plot of season two and three, the Margos and I am sorry but I don't remember the name of the Mexican gang leader in season two stories are very much the same bad ass gang leader comes to town and puts a hit on the strike team they do some dirt and get him killed before he can either take them out of expose their criminal activities. Also the Shield does not have the depth of chacter that the Wire has each and every chacter on the Wire has such depth the Shield by comparison has a few throw away chacters like Ronny who has yet to have a chacter arc , I am not saying that the Shield is not a good show or that I am not awaiting it's final episodes but I is not the Wire
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  • Avatar of AG19

    AG19

    [11]Mar 9, 2008
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    nicmar19422 wrote:
    this is one of thoes cases were we must agree to disagree in my opinion the shield while it is a show I enjoy is no were near the quality of the Wire the realism and social commentary is just not on the same level. I know that Bunny Colvin's Hampsterdam and even McNulty's fake killer this year are a stretch but they never felt that way at the time. I do not feel the same way about the Shield the fact that it took five years for IAD to get on to Vick and the fact that if a police captian thought that one of his men killed another cop therw is no way he would ever drop it, when Terry was killed it was a big deal for all of two shows and then droped until season five. Also do you really think the beatings and intimidation would work every time or that there would not be other police divisions looking in to drugs and gangs in LA and that one group of cops could provide that level of protection on their own. next is there no Levey in this world the gang members have no one to push these brutality complaints you would think at least one or two of Vicks arrestes would be over turned on this basis.and why do Dutch and Claudett handle every case not assigned to the strike team are they the only dectives assigned to the Barn the cover homicide sex crimes and robbery Also the Sheild did tend to repeat it self in the main plot of season two and three, the Margos and I am sorry but I don't remember the name of the Mexican gang leader in season two stories are very much the same bad ass gang leader comes to town and puts a hit on the strike team they do some dirt and get him killed before he can either take them out of expose their criminal activities. Also the Shield does not have the depth of chacter that the Wire has each and every chacter on the Wire has such depth the Shield by comparison has a few throw away chacters like Ronny who has yet to have a chacter arc , I am not saying that the Shield is not a good show or that I am not awaiting it's final episodes but I is not the Wire

    Honestly Nic, you're pretty much right. All of your points are spot on except for the idea that The Wire characters have more depth, which I don't feel they do. Sure we have more info on EVERY character than we do in The Shield, but The Shield gives far more insight on the the main character's personalities and ideas than The Wire does. In fact, the only time The Wire truly dealt with people as opposed to issues was in S1 and S2 where we got those amazing scenes between Wallace and D'Angelo, and Avon and D'Angelo, and Nicky and Ziggy, etc. Past that, we never really went into characters much on The Wire. Even with Omar, it took a prequel from YouTube to really get an idea for why his character is what he is.

    As far as everything else you said, you're right. The Wire deals with much more important subject matters, and it's FAR more realistic. I think for me personally, I love how attatched you get to the characters of The Shield. That's not to say that we didn't feel something for Bodie, but that was moreso because of Bodie's natural charm than his built up character depth the way we have with Vic. The Shield devotes entire episodes to Vic, Shane, Dutch, and Claudette whereas The Wire spreads it around so that there is more focus on the issues than there is on the characters.

    I also think that my person viewer experience was hurt a bit because I watched a lot of The Wire on DVD whereas I watched The Shield on TV. Nothing can compare to seeing one episode of S5 at a time of The Shield and then finally getting that Season Finale of S5 to blow you away. When you watch The Wire on DVD like I did, it takes a bit of the suspense off. Plus, aside from S5, I don't think The Wire was ever all that suspenseful of a show.

    So really, I think you're right and I worded it wrong. The Wire is probably the better show, but The Shield is just the show I prefer to watch.

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  • Avatar of Halloweenbaby

    Halloweenbaby

    [12]Mar 9, 2008
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    Both The Shield and The Wire are two of my favorite shows. And depending on what's on tv that season, I may call one show more brilliant than the other. So, right now, I'm all about The Wire! In a few months, I'll be all about Vic Mackey and the Strike team on the Shield.

    As far as the characters, I think both shows richly delve into their lives, just in a different way. Yes, The Shield devotes whole episodes to certain characters, but The Wire takes it's time and lets the personality of the character seep into to your brain.

    I could care less about Stringer Bell in S1 but was so involved in him in S2 and cried over his demise in S3. Bodie, was always that kid on the corner but I found myself heartbroken over his tragic end in S4. And don't get me started on Wallace, D'Angelo, Michael, Omar, Bubbles, Cutty, etc. Especially Kenard, you didn't have to see his home life or his parents to feel the impact of seeing him holding that gun.

    Then there are the cops. After watching Kima's relationship in S1, we see the resolution in S5. Or McNultly, unhappy marriage, finding love with Beadie, and destroying it all over again. Cedric's marriage / divorce and relationship with Ronnie. Even Lester, and Shardeen. Or the buddy cop relationship between Herc and Carver.

    So, I guess i'm saying that even if you only get snippets or small scenes into these people's lives on The Wire, you still get a true sense of their character. Who these people really are and how the corner, or the job defines them. I would put the character study of The Wire up against The Shield or Sopranos any day.

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    niptuckSean

    [13]Mar 9, 2008
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    The Wire is the best, but Deadwood is my favorite of the three. They all excel past each other in one way or another anyway, like they said in the roundtable; apples, oranges and pears.
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  • Avatar of tical2003

    tical2003

    [14]Mar 9, 2008
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    Definitely The Wire is the better show. Better writing, better acting, the analysis of a failing city and the people who are trying to make it work for them all help boost your social awareness of things that could possibly be going on in your city. So by far for me The Wire is the better show.
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    nicmar19422

    [15]Mar 9, 2008
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    First let me say that this is a great topic and is going to make me find time to re watch the shield and Deadwood as soon as this semiester is over. I would say that I stand by my original statement on chacter it is true AG that the Shield can do more at times with a smaller cast, between Vicks personal and professional like crashing together or his struggle with his own a moral behavior, or the more subtle touches like Dutches massinve inferiority complex hell they even made Billings intresting. however The Wire askes you to do more with less. One great example is the deteration of Kima and Cheryal's relationship there were only a few scens in season three that deal with it directly but you know from the dialoge and what info you do get just how painful it is. I also think that Omar was flushed out before the prequal his love for his people is somthing that drives him wether it was Brandon or there is a great scene in season three outside of Tosh's wake were Omar burns his own hand with a cigrett to punish himself for what happened and since he can't go in the church this is how he deals with his pain.
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    domino87

    [16]Mar 10, 2008
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    AG19 wrote:
    All of your points are spot on except for the idea that The Wire characters have more depth, which I don't feel they do. Sure we have more info on EVERY character than we do in The Shield, but The Shield gives far more insight on the the main character's personalities and ideas than The Wire does. In fact, the only time The Wire truly dealt with people as opposed to issues was in S1 and S2 where we got those amazing scenes between Wallace and D'Angelo, and Avon and D'Angelo, and Nicky and Ziggy, etc. Past that, we never really went into characters much on The Wire.


    I gotta disagree with this. What about those amazing scenes with Avon and Stringer in the latter parts of S3. And most of S4 with the kids did a great job of showing why people turn out like they do, with stunning character development. Overall I feel that characters on The Wire certainly have more depth than those on The Shield, although thats obviously open for debate. The Wire was just so great with character development for one of the biggest ensemble casts in TV, its really astonishing when you think about it. And not only the char. dev. but how different characters actions affect each other whether they know it or not. The Shield has a smaller cast so they can focus more on the real personal issues of the main characters. The Wire is more about telling character arcs through series of moments, dealing a lot more with external forces and their effects. While The Shield with Vic you see pretty much everything that he does, so you may feel more attached to him.

    The Wire is just such a smart, layered, thought provoking show where you can learn and see new things after many repeat viewings, everything else is just 2nd best.

    If The Shield were on HBO I think this could be a completely different discussion, as the show would def be better. I think being on FX forces it to be a little too unrealistic because they have less time to tell the story and have to write around commercial breaks. This is all apples to oranges though as someone said. I thouroughly enjoy The Shield on many levels and it's in my top 5 shows, but it's just hard to compare it to The Wire.

    AG, I highly recommend Deadwood if you don't mind getting into a great period piece. It's more like The Wire than the other shows mentioned because it deals with one city and all the different characters in it. Except instead of being in present day Baltimore, it's Deadwood in 1776. Plus Al Swearengen is one the great characters in TV history IMO.
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    nicmar19422

    [17]Mar 10, 2008
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    I agree 100% Al Swearengen is one of my favorite chacters of all time. The first few show set him up as a villian but as time passes he grows way beyond that, he is the show most complex chacter he can be ruthlesses and blood thirsty but he also has some of the funniest moments for example he has a conversation with WU when Wu only knows one word in english, he is also oddly sentimental one great example is when Trixi tells as story where we learn that he took in jewl to save her in his own way or during the Bike ride sceen or later.when tradgety strikes the sheriff Also he has great chemestry with Bullok and it makes the show that much better. Anyone who likes quality tv should pick up Deadwood too bad we will never see the tv movies we were promised.
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