The season finale of "The Wire" includes an on-camera suicide attempt, the murder of a familiar character, and the fates of several 13-year-old boys being utterly destroyed. The new HBO miniseries "Tsunami: The Aftermath" features parents losing children, children losing parents, and corporate and government wrongdoing on a massive, deadly scale.
This is bleak territory, two stories filled with despair and institutional indifference and no obvious solutions to any of the problems being depicted. But where "Tsunami" has no problem wallowing in that despair, "The Wire" transcends it.
In fairness, this is less a condemnation of "Tsunami," which is a reasonably effective bit of agit-prop with a moving central performance by Chiwetel Ejoifor, than it is a celebration of "The Wire," which continues to make grand entertainment out of thoroughly depressing material.
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